First, thank everyone so much for all of the letters, greetings, packages, and other awesomeness for Christmas!! Seriously, I wasn't expecting much of anything, and it was a fantastic surprise to be proved wrong.
As for the stories, last Monday was quite interesting. We finished off with regular P-Day stuff, we went over to help Doug and Mickey Sweat move some furniture from their house to a friend of theirs in Ontario, Oregon. When we got there, all three of the household were standing around their car, with depressed looks on their face. When we got out to see what the problem was, they had been trying to start the thing for around an hour, and it would turn over and start for a little bit, then sputter and die. We spent the rest of the day trying to get it working, first replacing the fuel pump, and with no change there, we spent another half hour trying to find the problem. By the end of it, I learned several new things. Most important thing I learned? The sound that a car makes when it starts after around 3 hours or so of work, is a beautiful noise.
The week before was a lot of blur, with the biggest part of it (that I can remember) being Zone Conference for Christmas. It was a really good one. There wasn't a lot of talking in it, which was unusual, but there was a lot of musical numbers that were fantastic, things like Silent night, We Three Kings, and a really great number by Sister Lyman in Latin. Sadly, I can't remember the name of that song, but she was singing opera to an audience that should have appreciated it more---and they would have given a standing ovation if it was allowed. There was also a couple of great movies that they showed us, "the Last Leaf," and, "Mr. Krugar's Christmas" (that one was a repeat from last year). The other crazy part of that meeting was the White Elephant Gift exchange. I'll admit, I was kind of sad; one of the Elders had brought a typewriter for their gift, and I really wanted it, but he was at a different table. What I got instead (thank you for being in an all Sisters district) was a bottle of lotion, hair spray, and a pink shower cap. At least the hairspray has been useful... I am glad that I got something, and that we had a lot of fun. (p.s. everyone at the table said that my gift was the best. I brought a t shirt with a picture of Bruce Lee, that said "Fear is for Others." =P)
Christmas Eve was really fun as well. We got to go and help at the Whither's Dairy, where they have a Christmas Eve tradition to give all of the animals new straw to sleep on. I decided that, while it wasn't the worst job I could think of, I will not be going into it as a profession. We did have some amazing food there as well, including, but not limited to, NussEcken, Lindor Truffles, Pie, turkey, cucumber salad, Pretzel "salad," and deviled eggs. Later in the evening, a very skinny Santa came to visit all of the kids, and then we went over to his house, where the Farmers had a full Christmas Program for the evening.
Now for the last few days. There were not a lot of people home for the holidays, but we were able to catch several of the people that we had been trying to for a while. One family, the Rice's, actually had a daughter come home from her mission for the holidays, because of a recovery that she needed to make. Her dad is not a member, so, that must have been really cool for him especially, along with everyone else. We had a really good lesson on the Atonement with them, and recommitted him to read some of the chapters of Alma that we had left before. We also were able to catch the Fudder family, for a kind of painful reason. Brother Fudder had been riding their new four wheeler, and hit a huge bump in the ground. His handle bars swung around and clocked him in his gut, breaking off the throttle trigger in the process. He's doing alright, but wasn't able to make it to church this week because of it.
That is about all of the cool stories for now. Thank you all again for everything that you do!
Love, Elder Stuver