Buon Anno! Happy New Year!
How was everyone's Christmas? I hope everyone had a great time! I know it is not very...what is the word...polite? ... to thank everyone in a big letter but I thought I'd better do it just in case I run out of time to write individuals. So... THANK YOU everyone who sent me stuff for Christmas! I loved it all and had fun opening everything Christmas morning. Before I get into Christmas day I better back up a little.
Last Thursday was one of the best days here because we received our flight plans!! Yea!! I have to get up probably around 3 am because me and the other 2 elders going to Rome are leaving here at 4 am. EARLY! We fly to Chicago, wait there for a couple hours until the rest of our group (The Milano missionaries, including my comps) catches up, and then we are all on the same flight from Chicago to London, Heathrow airport. They'll all leave for Milano, the 3 of us will wait around another hour and then fly to Rome. So there you go. Imagine that, I get to be in 2 of my favorite cities, London and Rome (I know I've never been to Rome but I'm sure it'll be a favorite!) within the same day! I might not be awake and coherent but nonetheless...Exciting!! Uh, that's Tuesday the 2nd by the way. We are all so excited.
Sunday, Christmas Eve was just a normal Sunday. We had a good speaker in the relief society, Sister Madsen, mother of Mark Madsen for any NBA fans out there. (I heard that he isn't that good but his mom was excited that he got 9 minutes of playing time the other night. Whatev.) But talk about living a life really consecrated to others and the church. She told some awesome stories, we had some study time as usual and then sacrament meeting. I can't remember the fireside speaker so it must not have been that good! Scherzo.
Christmas morning we woke up at 6:30 as usual and went and had some breakfast and then opened presents till 9:30. All 5 of us Sorelle opened our gifts together, it was pretty fun. Then we went to a morning side. We watched a little movie thing of missionaries here at the MTC being interviewed on favorite traditions and what Christmas meant to them. Sort of cheesy if you ask me but I guess Id be hard pressed too for ideas to entertain 1,700 missionaries on Christmas morning. They gave all of us these stockings filled with donated stuff...things like floss, cotton swabs, some candy. we ate lunch and had lots of personal time where I just read Jesus The Christ. We had another devotional in the afternoon. Elder Callister of the seventy gave a deep doctrinal talk that half the audience fell asleep in. He went through the whole Christs birth story. I thought it was pretty interesting. Then we had a sack dinner, our zone got together and ate outside in the cold. It was fun though. We all told of our Christmas traditions...eating Christmas Eve dinner with Taylors, driving through the rich neighborhoods to look at lights, jumping on Mom and Dad in the morning, and an occasional hike up rock canyon on Christmas day. Good memories! There was yet another devotional from 7-9:30. A Choir from Mapleton came and sung and we also watched Mr. Kruegars Christmas. So, by the end of the night I was really glad to get out the building after having spent nearly 7 hours there! It was a good Christmas. I think we were all expecting an Apostle to come and visit us so that was a little disappointing. So Yep. That was Christmas. Definitely made me appreciate Christmas past and look forward to Christmas in the future.
Well, We've finished teaching all our lessons. This week we'll keep learning commandments from lesson 4 in Italian. We've been practicing talking to people on busses, and planes, and handing out Book of Mormons. I cant wait to do it for real in a week! It'll be a little intimidating at first but we learned to be bold last night so that's what I'll do!
So, this is the last letter from the MTC! Imagine that! I've survived 9 weeks here. Thanks for all your letters and prayers. I've learned so much here and cant wait to learn more in the field. My testimony has grown so much, I know it is all true. I'm so grateful for all of your wonderful examples and support. Now it is off to ITALY!
Love you all,