Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week #81 - Merry Christmas🎄

Merry Christmas everyone!!🎅🏿☃️ I hope you all had a safe and
enjoyable week. There are so many things to be grateful for during the
holidays. I'm so thankful for those of you who sent me packages or
Christmas cards. They were all awesome. You know, I never really proof
read through my emails. So I'm sorry if these get repetitive or
boring. I feel like I'm pretty candid about everything on my mission
and I don't really plan on changing that anytime soon. I'm not one to
sugarcoat anything so I'll just give it to you how it is.  I have so
much to write about this week so this might get long... but it will be
pretty interesting so keep reading 🙏🏼

Last Monday, we went to the Dulles air and space museum which is on
our ward boundary. We were with elder hardy and elder Finlayson. It's
was a pretty chill pday. I hadn't had one of those in a while. It gave
me some good time to relax and take a deep breath. Which I definitely
needed to get through this week.

On Wednesday, we had a district Meeting and did a white elephant gift
exchange. Afterwards, we took some Christmas district pictures. It was
pretty fun. But in the evening on Wednesday, we went up to the temple
visitors center with some recent converts in our ward. It was such a
great time. We got tickets for the concert in the evening and enjoyed
that. We got to see all the amazing Christmas lights again and feel
the special spirit with comes from the visitors center. The little
girls that we were with were super cute and went up and sang with some
of the performers. They sang, "Let it Go" (basically my favorite
song). It was super fun.

Thursday brought us some fun experiences as well. We were able to go
up to the visitors center AGAIN!! It was super fun! We went with one
of our investigators this time. It was crazy busy that night because
it was Polynesian night. I think every Polynesian person in northern
Virginia was there. So the tickets to their show went super fast and
we weren't able to get any right when we got there. We had to walk
around and find people with extra tickets. Luckily, we were able to
find 2 extra tickets and our investigator was able to go watch the
show with one of the members we were with. While they were in the
show, I had the opportunity to talk with Hermana Acosta (DC Temple
Visitors Center sister missionary) who i know from back home. She put
me to work talking to nonmembers around the VC. It turned out to be an
awesome evening. Both of our nights at the visitors center were pretty
late and we didn't get home till late. But it was all worth it. The
spirit is always so strong when you have the opportunity to take an
investigator to the VC. A pretty cool experience happened while we
were talking to some nonmembers in the VC. We started talking to this
Asian couple who said they loved the lights and had never been up
there before. We got talking about their religious background and they
said that we could send missionaries over to their house to teach them
more. So we asked them where they live and they said "well we live in
Virginia" (remembers the temple and visitors center are both in
maryland) and i said "well, we live I Virginia as well. Which part do
you live in?" And the wife said "Chantilly" and I was like "no way!!
That's where we live. We live in the Chantilly/fairfax area." It was a
super cool experience. come to find out, they only live about 4 blocks
away from our apartment. Talk about coincidence..... I think not.

We also got to see sister gutzwiller and Nancy (members from
quantico). They were visiting the VC that night as well. It was so
good to see them again. They are awesome!!

Christmas Eve was another exciting day. It definitely doesn't feel
like Christmas as a missionary. It's like, I see all the decorations
and Christmas lights but it doesn't feel the same. Next Christmas
should be awesome. In the evening, we had a couple awesome dinners. I
did not go hungry which was a huge blessing. The food was amazing and
the company was even better.

Sunday (aka. Mom's birthday, aka. Jesus Christ's birthday), was
awesome. We had church for only 1 hour but it was a great hour. We had
one speaker and then we sang numerous songs, the spirit was very
strong as members of the ward bore their testimonies about certain
songs and then we sang the first verse all together. There was a lot
of extended family in our ward today which made it very diverse and
exciting. I love meeting new people. After church, we went home with a
member family and they let us FaceTime our families while they
finished opening Christmas presents. It was SO good talking to the fam
bam. I miss them so much. So much has changed over the past 7 months
since i last FaceTimed with them. I feel like I'm going to come home
to a completely different family, but for the better of course. We
spent the rest of Christmas with members and ate lots of good food.
I'm definitely going to need to add an extra day of cardio in this
week for how much food I ate the past 3 days. 😷

I had a lot of time to ponder on Christmas Day, especially after I was
done talking to the family. I love talking to them but talking to them
gave me a sense of what is going to happen in a couple months. And I
know every missionary who has ever served can say that Christmas is
the most trunky day of the year. Yeah, thats was exactly how it was.
Talking about apartments and school and dating and what not really got
me thinking...But it made me think about how much I really do love my
mission. I love every single day, even the tough ones. And let me tell
you, there are way more tough ones than there are easy ones. It made
me think about how honestly, I don't really want my mission to end.
Thinking about all these stresses of everyday life like work, school,
dating, more school, all those things just make me so anxious and
stressed. I'm not looking forward to any of those things. I love my
family and will be excited to see them but the mission really is the
best reality anyone could ever have. I hope and pray that I can
fulfill all that my Heavenly Father has in store for me these next few
months and he won't let me get to stressed or anxious thinking about
what lies ahead.

On another note, president huntsman called the whole mission last
night and announced that over this past weekend, we were able to reach
our yearly goal of 300 baptisms as a mission. Yahoo✊🏼 he also
announced something pretty dang sick and if you made it to the end of
this email, you will be one of the few who realizes what awesome
things lie ahead for us. President announced that he was talking to
Elder Gerritt W. Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy and he said
that he wanted to come and visit our mission on January 14th. He also
said that he wanted to bring some of his friends with him, Elder
Ronald A. Rasband and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles. WHAT!! How cool is that? President called the
missionary department and asked if something like this has ever
happened and they said no. Never have 2 members of the quorum of the
twelve visited a mission together along with a member of the
presidency of the Seventy. That will be 3 men in High leadership
positions in the church visiting with us on January 14th. I'm beyond
excited. That will probably be one of the coolest days of my mission.
Pumped!! 💪🏼

Transfers are this week, I am always excited to see things get split
up and moved around. Should be fun! Talk to you all next year!! Much

- Elder Leishman🕴

At the Air and Space Museum with brodies

Zone picture

District Picture

At the temple visitors center

At the temple visitors center with the cutest 9 year olds ever.

Sister Calverts hat that I might need to borrow.

- Elder Leishman🕴

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