Merry almost Christmas! It is an awesome time of the year. It is so happy and joyful, especially if you think of the miracle of Christ's birth and how much He did for us. I have been thinking a lot of Christ and why we celebrate Christmas. What I came up with is that the reason we celebrate his birth is not really because of the miracles that happened during his birth, but the most amazing thing about it is that he chose to come down. He chose to live a perfect life, suffer for our sins, die for us, and then rise again. He did all of these things for us. I am really grateful for all he has done.
This last week, hmm. Time has flown past; I can't believe it is already P-day again. Some days drag and some days speed by. We have been working on teaching about 20 lessons a week. This is a lot and it is the standard of excellence -- or the Eugene mission's goal or guidelines to how you spend your time. I don't know if you know this, but missionaries work a lot with the less-active people in wards. So the majority of the lessons are with them but we are trying to build up a teaching pool, people we are teaching lessons to in order to prepare them for baptism in the future.
Last week we got to do service for a family that is just moving in to a new-old house. This family was in the ward before. We got to wash the sticky gunk off of the walls after they took down a wall paper border thing. It was pretty fun. Since we spend most of our time wearing dresses or skirts, any time we get to wear jeans we are happy. It is awesome to have time to go help people. I love doing service. The week before Thanksgiving we got to help unload the Church food distribution truck to families in need. It was a special experience. It is nice to teach people and to bear testimony but in my opinion it is great to serve people. I feel like it is a refresher in a way, you get to stop having to worry and you can just “put your shoulder to the wheel.”
Oregonian weather update: it hasn't been really rainy. I guess all of the people in Oregon are concerned about the lack of rain. It didn't rain for about 2 weeks, and then lately it has at least rained once every 2-3 days. I guess it is usually raining a lot more. But that doesn't mean that it has been sunny. The area where we are serving has some intense fog. It sometimes lasts all day. It is pretty gross. It is typically in the 30s and there hasn't been any ice or snow. There is a little frost on the car sometimes but it melts by the time we leave the apartment, about 11AM. Not quite like Chicago weather, where your ice scrapper is your friend. They tell you to take vitamin D here because you don't get enough from the sun during this time and it helps you stay happy. Here’s an interesting tidbit… skim milk has more vitamin D than 2%.
Sister R is doing pretty well. I am driving for the week until she is sure she is okay. She is happy not to drive and I like driving except for the parking part. But I am practicing up. It is scary how little I pay attention to the area when I am passenger. This should help me learn the area better. Sister R keeps saying that I will probably be the one in charge of the area and she will be the one leaving.
I get to go to a place called Wildlife Safari today. It should be super fun. It is more hands on than a zoo from my understanding. We are going with some members who volunteer there and can get us in for free. They can also let us do a few behind the scenes things. I will keep you updated and send some pictures. Maybe there will be a Lexa in the Lion's den picture [reference to her brother’s mission photo taken in a Lion’s den at an Africa wildlife park].
I love all of you. Thank you so much for your prayers. I think of each of you every day. We will be allowed to Skype home on Christmas. There is not a specific time limit, but we have to keep it to a reasonable amount of time.