Business first: I won't be able to call on Christmas Day. There aren't enough phones in the MTC to accomodate everyone. But I will be able to call in 4 weeks when I am traveling to Mad Ant. Get ready for this - we will leave SLC, then to Los Angeles, then to London, then to South Africa, then to Madagascar. I will call for sure from LA, and maybe from London if I can. But in London we will have a 8-hour layover. Elder Evans, in my district, is from Great Britain and he's hoping to arrange for a short tour! That would be awesome. We are so going to be tourists! If we happen to walk by a pub and get into a fight with some Irishmen, know that I love you all.
I got the package from a week or so ago. Thanks for everything. I will write the ward a thank you soon. I got my Christmas package today! I am saving it for tomorrow so I will have some Christmas presents to open. I am extremely excited. It came on the last truck of the day. After seeing one of the elders get like 15 wrapped gifts, this was a huge thing for me and another elder, to finally get our Christmas package. And I got the Sweet Tooth Fairy package! I am on a sugar high. I am saving some of the cake bites and cupcakes for tomorrow. Elder Evans has gone absolutely crazy for the cake bites. Take that, European chocolates. Our meal today was just regular MTC food, nothing too special for Christmas Eve, so tomorrow, I am looking forward to eating that great chocolate and strawberry sweetness.
I am learning the hymns in Malagasy, but they don't translate well into English. For example, "High on a Mountain Top" translates roughly into "Point at Hill High". So, only a few hymns are sung much. All the children's hymns are translated too, so good.
Yesterday we had Elder Neal Anderson come to our devotional. Needless to say, it was awesome. He talked about the condescension of God. Deep subject in a way. He also talked about the investment we are making in our lives by coming on a mission. I think the latter was for all the missionaries who are terribly homesick and thinking about going home, which there is a lot of right now. The way my friends and I are coping is by being extra festive. Last night we all had a giant sleep over in someone's room, it was fun and tonight we're going to do the exact same thing. Then we're going to wake up as soon as possible and race in our pajamas to the Indo's classroom and open our presents. Thank goodness I have a present to open! I had a mild case of homesickness around Thanksgiving but that is all done with. The way I cope is by staying on easy street, as I call it. I just try and stick to good thoughts, thinking of you guys having fun - you and Aunt Susan shopping, the music, the food, Sarah and Ryan getting ready for the wedding, Brady seeing 'Avatar" - gotta see it when I get home!, Dad, Clarissa, Wade and the babies.
I had an amazing experience in the call center recently. I talked to one man from Baltimore who agree to see the missionaries and that was good. But then on my final call, I talked to a 47 year old Catholic woman and I ended up teaching her the whole first discussion. She listened really well and then at the end said, "Well, I agree." It was amazing. I cannot believe how choice of an investigator she was. She was looking for the truth. The spirit of the condescension of God is a powerful thing.
I sang for the mission president wife's and a woman from the Mo-Tab choir and they asked me to sing "I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe" in a devotional soon. I am not sure if it will come off, but I'll be prepared in case it does. Pray for my song, the health of my throat and me. I am supposed to audition/present it next Thursday.
The wedding sounds like it's going to be a spectacular thing. Is there going to be Mexican, Cajun and Country dancing? I will try to dance as much as possible on the 29th. Maybe you'll feel my dancing spirit. Make a video if you can. Personal messages are requested. I miss you all and hope that Christmas and the wedding are the cat's pajamas. Eat lots of delicious food for me. I hope the wedding rocks the socks.
I pray for you constantly. Merry Christmas, love, Elder Cryer