I guess the first thing I want you to know this week is just how much I love my mission. I have so much joy from being involved in this work! It builds my testimony so much feeling so happy, because there isn't much that should make me happy when I look at things from a secular view. The circumstances that we live in as missionaries here in England should not add up to good Christmases. We don't have family, no snow, no Santa or reindeer, no elves, not even a Christmas tree! The situational mathematics should not equate to a brilliant Christmas! It's been the warmest December England has seen in 70 years so there is no chance of snow, we've prayed so much for angels to protect our flats that here is no chance Santa is going to get here :), we're 7000 miles away from family, and we're to poor to purchase a tree. But despite the lack of Christmas frills, I've never felt the spirit of Christmas so much. Now I know that we are actually in great circumstances for missionaries, and actually for lots of people, but that's not what I'm getting at. The fact that I feel the way that I do confirms again and again to me that The Christ did come. He was born many years ago but the sweet scene that the shepherds witnessed can be ever present in our hearts. And it is in mine. On Saturday the other Wigan Elders met with us to street contact town centre. It was really rough at first, in the 1st 45 minutes I had only given away 1 pass along card. A few of us wanted to quit, but I said a prayer, asking to be led to the right people, and then it started booming! The best experience came towards the end when I met a woman who had lost her husband 3 months ago. She was in a bad place in her life and couldn't wait for Christmas to be over. As I testified to her that she could have a great Christmas regardless, something connected our hearts. I felt her pain and she felt my love, both for her and for Christmas. It was a magical moment, something that I've never quite experienced the like of. This 50 year old lady named Rxxxx has been a major contributor in helping me find CHRISTmas. We exchanged great gifts that day.
Our Christmas rules are much more strict than they were last year. We have to proselyte on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas and the biggest shopping day of the year. We didn't last year, we also don't have as much liberty with what movies we can watch. Some missionaries are throwing temper tantrums about this. I don't understand it, when we accepted our calls we didn't care what happened those days! People just forget the reason they serve. I think that this helps us to focus on the "reason for the season".
Last night we went out caroling with the other Elders. We had so much fun, and had a lot of laughs, but it was also a bit hard as well. We went door to door and more often than not we were shut down. Several times we were asked to stop singing before we were halfway through the song. I know we didn't sound the greatest, but it goes to show how much Christmas is becoming more of a commercialised event than a religious celebration. People don't really care anymore. It's the biggest challege that we face. Satan is working dang hard. And he's doing a good job, but that's why we've gotta work harder! I love it so much!
Make this the best Christmas you've ever had. Focus on Christ. Read about His life. Ponder His ministry. And celebrate! It's a time of "great joy"! Act like it!
I love you all! Here's some pics! Maybe just one...
Love, Elder Olsen