Hello everyone and a very early and Merry Christmas to you all. It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas here in Utah, where it has snowed nearly half an inch, and the clouds look very willing to unleash more on us missionaries.
I think in my last e-mail I forgot to mention my sister, Becca, which is pretty hilarious seeing as I see her everyday. I think I'm so used to seeing her that I just take it for granted. So to fill you all in, yes, it was a very joyous reunion, and it has been great to sit with her at church, eat with her at meals, and hug her in front of people to general astonishment and shock. we even had the pleasure of singing together at this past Sunday fireside. I think Becca will be sending home an illegal recording of us singing, so you will probably get to view the profits of her rulebreaking.
I found out the way the MTC wakes up missionaries: the showers. There are two settings on the shower, Absolutely Scalding Hot and Disgustingly Freezing Cold. After much practice, you learn to constantly change between these two settings so that the instant the transition occurs you jump in, scrub everything you possibly can in three-tenths of a second, then jump out again unless you want to take a trip to the hospital. Needless to say, it wakes a body up.
I have also discovered that being extremely competitive while being not very good at anything during gym time is a very dysfunctional combination. This past week I suffered incredible ignominity in four square as I was constantly obliterated by several of the gung-ho Korean and Cambodian elders, after which I tried to get out all of my raw frustration through running on the upstairs track. I thought this might cheer me up because I used to be pretty decent at running, but my attitude quickly changed when I was gasping for breath after running for a few minutes in the oxygen-deprived Utah air. I guess in the Spirit of Christmas, there is just no room for me in the gym.
While Chinese has been going well, the teachers are focused more on helping us be more efficient and productive and understand our purpose better before we really crack down on the language. This week has been focused a lot on setting goals and planning accordingly, something I realize has been missing in my life a lot. Here is quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard that I really enjoyed:
"I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life."
I know this is completely true, though I wish I knew that earlier. I would invite you all to apply this quote in your life, stretch yourself so you can live up to your fullest potential.
I love you all, and have a wonderful Christmas.