So this week unfortunately no snow fell so this Christmas wasn't white in the normal sense. In fact it was quite contrary to what I would have thought. Christmas day was about 50 degrees outside. It was super warm for up here. It was a nice change. But I'll get back to the whiteness in a second.
Christmas Eve was a blast. That morning we had a priesthood leadership meeting down in Kennewick for all the District Leaders and Zone Leaders in the south half of the mission for a few hours. It was a fantastic meeting. We all learned a ton and enjoyed seeing past companions and other missionary friends. Superb three hours to say the least. But then afterwards since our zone was an hour away the two Zone Leaders, myself, and another district leader from near Othello all road tripped back up and since we were in the big city for once we made a very necessary stop to IHOP. Came away rolling but it was totally worth it. Christmas Eve night we went around with some members and the other missionaries in Othello and spread the Christmas cheer caroling to various ward members and friends whilst delivering an assortment of baked goods. It was a great (albeit freezing) night.
Christmas Day itself was a blast. We woke up and the other elders in Othello that share the Spanish Ward with us came over and we cooked us up some breakfast burritos and then had our study and proceeded to open presents together. Always an enjoyable experience. Until I looked up, scanned our double-wide, saw the mess of dirty dishes from breakfast scattered across the kitchen and the wrapping paper from childhoods past littered across the floor, then realized I was actually going to have to take care of that now. A little slice of reality pie Christmas morning but it had to come eventually. So we just did the only logical response and watched some Bible Videos one of the Elders had gotten and postponed our problems until later (don't worry Mom the mess was taken care of before we left). Christmas day itself was pretty fun. We stopped by a few investigators to wish them a Merry Christmas and then went to a member's house for lunch and had a white elephant gift exchange. When even more wrapping paper was taken care of, we went and video chatted with our respective families and then had dinner. The members we ate with had all their family together so it was fun eating with such a big family again. Just like back home. That night we went to a baptism the sister missionaries in Othello had to support them, making the Christmas white despite the sun and abnormally warm temperatures. After the baptism we had some ice cream with a member to end a very memorable Christmas.
Probably the best Christmas I got this year though, actually came Tuesday night when the APs texted us as we were crawling into bed. Going back to last October, there was a lady I had taught and helped baptize. Well, a year later, she had taken the necessary steps and prepared herself to go through the temple in Kennewick. So that text Tuesday night was the APs inviting us to the session to go through with her for such a monumental occasion in her life. It was a pretty singular experience. There’s nothing else quite like it. Saturday we went down and met her there and were able to talk with her and do a session with her. She is Hispanic so we got to go through in Spanish - which in and of itself was pretty interesting; definitely understood a lot more than doing it in Spanish when I was in the Mexico MTC - but it was just overall great seeing her and all the members from Benton City, not to mention my trainer, again. Made for a late night but it was a great way to end the transfer and still make the Christmas white.
That brings me to my next point. It’s the end of the transfer so we got our transfer calls, and unfortunately my time in Othello is coming to an end. Wednesday morning I'm packing up and heading down to Kennewick. I'm sad to leave Othello but I'm excited for the new area and the challenges it will bring. I'm getting transferred into two English wards which will definitely throw things for a loop but it should be fun.
So this week's quote comes from a local church's billboard outside and reads as follows:
"Mary wrapped the first Christmas gift"
And with that I bid you all farewell and wish you a happy new year!