Last week was SO eventful, full of great missionary work, even with Christmas right in the middle. The feeling of Christmas joy really started on Christmas Eve Eve! When P-day ended at 6 PM, the four Chungjang sisters all went together and we finished knocking on all the doors of our apartment building. For a couple of Sunday nights in a row, we’ve been knocking on all of our neighbors’ doors and giving them a Christmas card and inviting them to the ward Christmas party. When we got back, it was our turn to hear a knock at our door. We asked who it was and they said it was the next apartment over. When we opened the door, this very nice looking lady asked if we liked kimchi. She then said that they had finished making all their family’s kimchi that day and she brought some over for us. We were so astonished. In Korea, no one knows their neighbors. It would be really weird and uncomfortable to go next door and ask for a cup of sugar or an egg, but our neighbors must have really liked their Christmas card because they brought us kimchi!!!
The afternoon of Christmas Eve my companion and I spent running around to members’ houses delivering the missionary Christmas cards we had been too busy to deliver the week before. My companion had never heard of caroling door to door, so she was weirded out by the fact that I kept making her carol outside of people’s doors. She loved it by the end. The last house was a family who is never home, but might as well try, right? They answered the door! When we went in, the mom and daughter were getting ready for the ward Christmas party. We were sitting and talking about Christmas and reading Christmas scriptures over some delicious hot chocolate and baked rice cakes when the dad came home. He had no intention of going to the Christmas party, but after talking to us for a bit, he gave all of us a ride and stuck around! A total miracle! Because of traffic it took forever to get to church, even though they live around the corner, but I didn’t even care! My companion and I MCed the Christmas party, and it was great fun! Between acts we would interview ward members about Christmas and the New Year. The last act (before Santa, of course) was us, the missionaries! We reenacted the nativity scene with narration from Matthew and Luke. Even with eight missionaries, we still didn’t quite have enough people, so we roped in some Primary kids to be Mary, Joseph, and the hosts of heaven. Actually it was just one host, but that’s okay. The skit was a hit! I think the Primary kids are really what made it… or maybe the foreign missionaries having to quote memorized lines from the bible… or maybe the shepherd’s sheep saying, “Let’s go!” I was Mary’s donkey to Bethlehem.
Christmas was filled with great, unexpected teaching opportunities. That night we had dinner with the Bishopric and all eight missionaries! We had a feast of roast chicken, pot pie, vegetables, rolls, mashed potatoes, and everything delicious. I made two desserts and had to give away my “chicken scratch” recipe to all the wives. Hope they can decipher it. After we ate, we all sat in a circle and read some scriptures about the ministry and Atonement of Jesus Christ. Starting with the Bishop, many people bore their testimonies. I wasn’t going to, but I got called on to share something. I didn’t really know what to say, but someone (I think jokingly) suggested that I sing. So I grabbed my hymnbook, and before singing The First Noel in Korean for everybody, shared my testimony of our Savior. Singing was a perfect lead into everyone singing together!
At the bus stop, we just barely missed the two buses we could take, so instead we had to grab a taxi. We shared with the driver a short message as he drove and when we got to our apartment, he wouldn’t let us pay! He said he had a friend who was serving a mission and he knew the sacrifices we were making. Of course, the most Christ-like example I saw on Christmas came from an unreligious taxi driver who we only knew for 10 minutes. It was a really humbling experience for us. A great end to a great Christmas!
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year filled with many blessings and so much happiness!