Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for the emails from:
The Oveson Family-Thank you so much for your kind words and the pictures of the great gingerbread house!  That was awesome! I love you all and Merry Christmas! My family loved seeing you at the Christmas Program on Sunday.
Amy Ellsworth- Thank you for the email! It was great to hear from you.  I hope that you have a great Christmas with the fam and that finals went very well!! Merry Christmas!

And of course the faithful, Mom, Dad, Mikesell, and Brennen.

Thank you each for your emails.  I loved the pictures Mom. Loved the one of “Elfy” on my cardboard shoulder (gotta see that thing one day)  and especially the hookie bobbing at Redfish. I thought of you all and knew exactly what you were doing Sunday. The Christmas program sounded great as usual! That is one of my favorite things about Christmas. Awesome!  

It was a really good week, every week is always humbling but we just keep plugging on. On Tuesday and Wednesday we had divisions and I was with Elder Patterson - my roommate from the MTC!! It was really fun. It was neat because we are “here” now and doing the real deal. It was good to talk to him and we had stories to share about our missions and really was a tender mercy. I love him and he is a great Elder. He is from St. George and I think he will be making a trip to Redfish one day. I have talked a lot of missionaries into doing that so hopefully one day all of you will be able to meet these awesome Elders and their wonderful examples.
Ahhh... I have so much gratitude and love for all of you and the power of the Atonement. This week I have thought a lot about Christ life and the simplicity, but at the same time never-ending power of his mission. Some times we loose the point of his mission and I love Christmas because it puts things back into perspective. We also had our Branch Christmas party this week.  We were asked to give a little spiritual thought and so we did the “gift to Jesus” idea, we handed out little cards that we made with red and green. It was a great program. I wish our District had more activities. It is key to unity I think. Other than that it was a good, but simple week. We didn’t have lots of success but worked hard and will keep on keeping on. We are now waiting on our next investigators to get married and then hopefully we can progress from there.
To answer some of your questions Mom - Yes, you are right. This place has like tripled in people, it is nuts!  Today when we were walking around in town doing shopping and laundry it was just nuts. The smells remind me of Sun Valley and Stanley. It is very touristy. It helps me to feel a little more like home because I am pretty comfortable in tourist situations. haha! It has not been too hot so that it good. Christmas, to be honest doesn’t feel like Christmas here at all. About one in every 60 houses have lights and I always insist that we knock them. (haha)  I say Feliz Navidad all the time and I think I am the only one who does here. I don’t care. It is more of a party here... lots of barbeques and beer to be honest. They buy a ton of fireworks and they light them on the 24th and on New Years…. so picture a 4th of July atmosphere!?  Everyone has little small fake trees in their house though.

I probably say this every week, but I just can’t say how much I have come to appreciate the importance of “families”. So much depends on the family. I hope each of you know that I count you as my highest blessings. I will do anything to make my family stronger and grow closer to Christ. I am so grateful for the happiness that comes from keeping the commandments. I am also grateful for trials and their relationship to our eternal progress.

Please tell everyone in our family Merry Christmas for me and that I love them and am very grateful for their prayers.

Dad- I loved that analogy with Lehi’s dream. I actually thought the same thing. What a great insight to share - thank you! It sounds like you had a great week and that all the basketball, Christmas programs, and others went really well. Thank you so much for your prayers and example. They are greatly needed and appreciated! I hope that you have a great Christmas. I am very excited to hear your voice and talk to you. I can’t believe 2011 is coming to a close. What in the world just happened? Haha! I love you Dad. Have a great week. Moroni 7:41 Merry Christmas!

Mom -Thank you so much for your email. It was great to hear from you about the experience yesterday and about the week. It sounds like Christmas is busy and in full swing. I hope that you can relax at Muldoon once you get there and have a great time. That will be a lot easier if there is no snow for you and Dad…? Not have to haul everything in on snowmobile.  Drive up and good to go. I am excited to read your email in its entirety tonight. You are such an angel for me and so many. Sunday will like the best day ever. I am very excited to talk to you and hear your voice. Thank you for that awesome story of Alex. That really hit me hard. I loved that. Well, I will talk to you this week. I hope that calling at eleven works out ok. Have a great week Mom. I love you!

(This is the story of Alex that he is talking about from my letter to Austin)
One  story from the week: So Parent Teacher Conferences last trimester the teachers didn’t have much good to say about Alex though he had good grades.  (he was standing right beside me at pt conferences) I chatted with him on the way home about what the teachers were saying as well on the way home. That night he must have scribbled angry scribbles on Brennens’ board - bottom of Brennens bed. (their beds are bunk beds now) Alex is on the bottom bunk. A few days later I saw the angry scribbles and the words "Be Respectful" written in hard, angry writing. So for weeks I have been wanting to take those angry scribbles off. On Monday I bought a whole pack of very rough sandpaper and spent an hour sanding down the "ceiling" (bottom of Brennen’s bed) above Alex’s head. I left the words of "Be Respectful" but I added the following... "You were born to do great things in life"  "Great things happen to those who read the Book of Mormon" "Don’t forget to Pray" and "I love you very, very much" ....written all above his head. Well he came down that night and saw the sandpaper by my bed…asking what it was...I was tired and said..."If you get to bed you will find out" he didn't believe me and I said  again, “If you GET to BED you will find out!”  Well, he went up stairs and then came back down and thanked me. About 5 minutes later he came down AGAIN and said, "Mom can you do another one tomorrow?" I said, “Another what?”   He said, “Write something again tomorrow!?”  I said "Yes" and then he asked... "Can you write something every day?" It actually has been really neat in the days following- every day since he asked  me if I have written something.  He wants the whole board to have "sayings" that I want him to know on it.  I am enjoying it a lot.... He melted my heart - I see he gets it. He just loves a good time.

Mikesell-- FULL RIDE scholarship?! (UVU) Wow that is not to shabby my friend. That is a lot of decisions you are having to make right now. You are in my prayers. I am glad you got my email / text! Haha! That was funny and crazy how it came across on your phone. Keep me posted on everything. I am so so excited to talk to you about it all on Sunday. Thank you for your emails!  I cherish them. You are so faithful.  I am glad that you had a good week. I loved the pictures of all of you hookie bobbing behind the burb. (Suburban)  I am glad you are having great experiences going to the temple each Wednesday. It is crazy how fast time is going as a Senior huh!?  I remember when I was in your shoes like yesterday. That was two years ago though! Well have a great fun week. Enjoy your movies in school this week…killing time til Christmas break.  I will talk to you Sunday. I love you so much. Hey you should try and read the “Christmas Sweater” by Glenn Beck over Christmas break. You can do anything you want Mikesell. Keep it in your prayers and read the scriptures a lot  -  you will make the right decision.

Brennen-Sounds like you won all your games this week!  That is so awesome! One point in Minicio! My favorite basketball memories are in that Minico gym. Every locker room you go to remember that I probably was there at one point too! Crazy huh!  Sounds like you have a good varsity team too. That is really fun. I bet you are excited for a little break during Christmas. That will be nice and well needed. I am so excited to talk to you on the phone. Thanks for the Grinch Quotes. That was funny!! I love you man. You are my hero and such a great example to me. Keep the faith and keep making good decisons this week. I love you!

Alex- Hey Stud. Sounds like you also had a great time in Boise with your tournament. Are you excited for Christmas? I love you so much! Have a great week. You and Brennen have to be a good help with all the Muldoon things! It’s a lot of work to pack up Christmas and go somewhere. I love you bro. I loved the story of your bed that Mom told me about.  That is an inspiring story and I am so glad hear it. You are a good kid with so much potential. Your Heavenly Father loves you so much. Have a great week bro.

Harrsion- Hey little man! Are you so excited for Christmas!? I sure am excited to talk to you on the phone on Christmas day! I love you very much. Enjoy all the Christmas shows and the fun things that surround this time of year. Have a great week at school!

McCall- You are amazing. I love the one liners that Mom sends me from you. Some of them really make me laugh hard.  Haha - very funny. I hope that you have a fun week. You are amazing keep being the best you! I will talk to you this Sunday! Merry Christmas!!!

I love you all so much. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Austin!!!

Oh and you all have to listen to the Andrea Bochelli’s song called “Heaven on Earth” or something. It is really pretty.

You are all the best!

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