Good morning and a merry very merry Christmas week everyone! It’s so hard to believe that Christmas is so close, and the time just flies. This was a long and busy week, but one of the better weeks of my mission.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we continued the hot chocolate activity in center. The whole thing has turned out to be a great success, and we’ve been able to talk to tons of people, including many who are willing to meet again. My favorite part of this activity has simply been the chance to help people focus on the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. Although this is my second Christmas away from home, I imagine that it’s fairly similar in both countries. This just ins’t the religious season it should be for people. It’s sad to see kids who have no idea why Christmas is even a holiday, and it just makes my work all the more enjoyable.
On Thursday and Friday the Christmas fun continued with our 2-day Christmas conference in Zagreb! We got up on Thursday morning, stuffed ourselves into the car and made the trip down to the mission home.
The conference was for both the Slovenian and Bosnian zones, which meant it was a fun chance to see some of the missionaries from the other parts of the mission. We had meetings and presentations (like a normal zone conference) but in addition to that, carolled in Zagreb’s busy center, explored the Zagreb Christmas market, had a zone talent show, and ate some amazing food prepared by the even more amazing Sister Grant. It was a great conference and everyone had a wonderful time together.
On Saturday Elder Hughes and I had the opportunity to go to Ljubljana to see our investigator Jasmina be baptized! She was the referral from the internet Elder Hughes and I got while we were together, and before leaving Kranj, we were able to help get her ready for baptism. She’s such a sweet woman, and the service was filled with the Spirit. Talk about having a Christ-centered Christmas – is there anything more Christ-centered than watching someone promise to follow him through baptism? First Sjoerd, now Jasmina – I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it feels to watch these people I love choose to follow their Heavely Father’s plan for them. I imagine it’s a small, small portion of the joy that Heavenly Father Himself feels when we do what’s right.
All-in-all this week was a great lead in to Christmas. I was able to have a lot of experiences that turned my thoughts and attention to Jesus Christ, and I hope you have had the same. It’s so easy to overlook the word “Christ” in the word “Christmas” (ie x-mas), but He really is the reason why we celebrate. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” the scriptures say. These “good tidings of great joy” are the reason why I’m on a mission, and I echo the praises of the angels who said “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” That’s the message of Christmas, and I hope that as you all enjoy the presents and fun and family of the week, that you also remember the Savior and what He did for us.
I love you all and Merry Christmas!