CHRISTMAS GIFTS. I finally got some packages and Christmas cards! The packages were postmarked December 2, but we only had our zone meeting this past Monday. Thank you for the Christmas scripture chase! That was funny. I guessed most of them, except the teddy bear soap (thought it would be hand sanitizer), and one or two others.
No need to rush, though, since I just barely received a package.
WARDROBE UPGRADE. There's a nation-wide sale in Italy called Saldi (Italian for sale) during January-February, and a smaller one in August where everything gets knocked down 50% or more, so I think I'll get a few ties and at some point an Italian suit during those times. I'm going to come back so classy...
GRATITUDE. I'm thankful for ice cream. The gelato in Italy is famous (i.e. Italian ice), so as missionaries we go get ice cream every so often. Some people get it every other day, some people get it occasionally (me). It's thick, sugary goodness.
MY MOTIVATION. I spend a lot of time with the Ensign/Liahona (church magazine) reading conference talks and uplifting stories. It helps me keep in mind that missionary work isn't just for missionaries. Some of President Uchtdorf's talks are really good. (Well, all of them are good, but some stand out to me more than others.) I was reading Forget-Me-Not and Hope of God's Light, and they're really uplifting. Then President Eyring had one talk about Priesthood role models that I really liked.
I'm also trying to work more on having the Holy Ghost with me as I teach. I know he's there when I teach, but I have trouble identifying him as I tract. So there's a section in Preach My Gospel about the Spirit of the Lord that I'm reading and applying, and I'm studying the scriptures that accompany it.
I had heard from Sister Shearer that Tessa was back; that's great that you can see missionaries coming and going from the home ward (congregation). I sort of forget about people after they've gone, until they come back. Obviously it's different if it's your family, but it's still nice to see a before-and-after of other members of the ward.
COMPANION EXCHANGE. I did a companion exchange Monday-Tuesday (I do them every week, since my companion is District Leader). In an "exchange," my companion--the District Leader--goes with another missionary to train and help him some, and that day I work with the other missionary of that pair. The Elder I was with was psyched to get some work done, as his companion was one of those less-enthusiastic missionaries. I don't know quite what I'd do if my companion didn't get up until 8 in the morning, or if he didn't have any motivation. We'll see. It could happen.
We're still going-going-going. My companion is dying (don't worry: it just means he's going home!) this transfer. His countdown is at 15 or so days left, so he's trying not to think too hard about it. He's really motivated and doesn't want to leave, which is nice -- I don't have to struggle to get him to work.
Love, Anziano Whitesell