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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmastime Was Here

What a warm week in Texas! It almost made me forget that it was
Christmas. I was in short sleeves for half of the week, sweating up a
storm on the bike. If only it could stay like this forever.
Friday was a splendid Christmas day, where we got to treat ourselves
to multiple meals given to us by gracious members. One of those
families were the Valims, who are from Brazil. We had the most
delicious fish and steak that you could ever imagine. And Brother
V is absolutely hilarious. He could cry on cue, and and had some
of the best jokes I've heard on the mission. He asked Elder M
how many siblings that he had. Elder M pleasantly told him he
had 10.
Brother Va's mouth dropped to the ground and was silent for a
minute. After a while he asked, "Elder M, did you have
television growing up."
"Well, no, only on Saturdays."
"Oh," he leans back in his chair. "So that's why you have so many siblings"
Everyone busted up laughing except for his wife, who was so
embarrassed she went out of the room. Well, no matter what she thinks
Brother V is one of my personal favorites now.
Along with the meals I got to talk with my family. That was nice. It
was fun to see everyone was in one piece. The whole time I felt like
we were making fun of each other. I guess that's how our family shows
that we love each other. If we weren't cracking jokes something would
be wrong. One of the topics that came up was how much I weigh right
now. In a span of six months on a mission, I have surpassed all of my
brothers in weight, which is good, because I probably weighed the
least out of all of us before the mission. I'm going to say that's a
good thing.
Saturday was a day to remember. It started with some service at the
local food pantry. We bagged and distributed food for those in need
for about 6 hours. It was a special moment, and it would have been
even better if it didn't rain for most of the time. The food pantry is
run out of an old warehouse and doesn't have much protection from the
elements. Much of the rain and the wind cut into the building. Much of
the time it was sticky and hot. However, that didn't stop us from
doing much good. We were able to hand out over 600 bags of groceries
to those who really needed it. It was like we were giving a piece of
Christmas to these people. It was a special moment.
After that we got a lift back to the apartment by one of our
investigators who also helps serve at the food pantry. We had some
quick dinner and then headed off for the rest of the day. We were
working on the far side of our area, about 5 miles away from our
apartment. Our appointment with D canceled, which was a shame.
D is from Somalia (no he's not a pirate) and loves the Book of
Mormon. He wants to get baptized, but he has a very slow progression
towards it. When he canceled the lesson at the doorstep, we were a
little discouraged. We don't get to meet with him very often, so
missing him this week is going to set back his date for baptism.
Shortly after that Elder M had his second crash of the
transfer and the fourth in his three months out. He was going down a
hill a little too fast and didn't notice a curb. His bike went left
and he went straight up. It was like watching toast pop up. That lucky
duck miraculously landed on a patch of grass off the sidewalk. I don't
know how he did it, because he should have hit the concrete and rolled
thirty feet down the slope. He was so lucky that neither he or the
bike were damaged. However, he did have a long tear in his pants.
Unfortunately, the tear made his underclothing very visible. So, we
had to bike all the way back to the apartment so he could get a change
of pants. Poor kid. And when he got back to the apartment, he snapped
his shoelaces in half while putting his shoes on. On both shoes. At
this point Elder M had enough for the day. His pants were
ripped, his shoes were torn, he biked through a puddle and got mud on
his butt. But you know what, we went out again and finished the day.
Sometimes you gotta work for it. At about 8:30 we called it quits and
I went to get him some custard to cheer up his spirits. It was here,
after having such a rough day, Elder M got his recompense. We
got to meet some recent converts from Temple, Texas who were stopping
by the way. They were so happy to see us and even bought us some
custard. They talked to us for a long time and offered us a ride back
to the apartment. It was a great ending to a rough day.
Sunday was great. We had an excellent sacrament meeting, and a lot of
less actives came to church. It was great to see people we were
working with at church.
All in all, it was a great week. I'm proud of what I'm doing and
thankful to be out in the field, harvesting what is there. You can
count on the missionaries in the Old Settlers Ward to be working hard
at all times. There are no exceptions around here. We work hard and we
work long. I love it. It brings great rest to the soul

Elder Richard Hall

1. A sign that Elder M calls "the most adorable thing he's ever seen".
2. A picture of our conference with Elder P of the seventy. These
are all the missionaries in San Antonio. There is another one with all
the missionaries from Austin. I am in the very back row next to a
bunch of Giants.

Our Christmas facetime together

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