The past three days have been a glorious German blur of lights, food, singing, and conversation. And what is left to show for these three days? An entire drawer full of chocolate and German sweets.
Starting with Heiligabend (Christmas Eve):
We had mittagessen (lunch) with a woman in our ward Kim. She wasn't quite finished with the food when we arrived so we offered to help. She said she had a bet with a friend to see if she could cook for a group of 5 (the Elders were dabei – with us) without any help. In the course of 20 minutes she shattered the entire glass bottle of olive oil, had to mop the floor, and the fire alarm went off because some residue in the pan caught on fire. We had a wonderful vegetarian meal (the meat didn't make it) and had Apfel (apple) Marzipan for dessert. After all was had we drove together to the Kirche (church) for a Weihnachtsandacht (Christmas night). (Basically, all the churches have a worship on the 24th)
We heard the story of Jesus, sang songs, and heard some words from the bishop. Later we rode home to the Bishop's home where the REAL fun was had. We had Raclette (look it up it's the best thing ever). Basically you grill your own meat on a mini grill on the table. Then you have your own tiny pan and you put potato and vegetables and meat in it. Then put a slab of cheese on it and put it under the grill to let it cook/melt together. It's great for when you have guests over because you just talk and eat. After our meal, the Bishop said he had a surprise for Sister López. He brought out a SANTA PIÑATA! I wish I had taken a picture of her face. He had never had a piñata before, but wanted her to feel welcomed and at home so he got one from Amazon. We had a great time hitting it in their entryway while sister López sang the piñata song. They also made faux margaritas for us. We played puzzles and watched a Christmas family film and ate tiramisu. It was a great night.
We had church where we received bags full of candy and sweets and tiny presents. This ward loooooooves the missionaries. We had mittagessen bei (lunch with) the Familie Lempke. The meal consisted of pork and gravy, potatoes, and rotkohl (red cabbage). Then a huge piece of cake afterwards. They were nice and didn't make us finish our cake when we were full. Afterwards we SKYPED THE FAM! Woooo! And after that the whole district celebrated together and communed after saying goodbye to our families again. We *cough* I made French toast.
Weihnachtstag 2 (Christmas Day 2)
Today we all helped a family move and cleaned their whole house for them. It was fun because the Siebert family was dabei (there) and they have 2 kids our age who just got back from their missions so they were cool to hang out with. We had mittagessen (lunch) with them and hung out with Familie Siebert for our PDAY. They're so cool!
On a more serious note. This season has been amazing! I am so sad that I only get one Christmas season as a missionary in my whole life. The Spirit that is felt specifically around the time of our Savior's birth cannot be compared. We've been sharing our Christmas initiative Light the World, Der Welt ein Licht. My companion(s) and I have studied the word "light" and I'd like to share my favorite observation:
In the Book of Mormon the sign for the savior's birth was a full 24 hours of light. This is perfect because the light of the world was coming into the world.
3 Nephi 1:19
"And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given."
In Exodus 10:23 there was 3 days of darkness and only the children of Israel had light in their homes. I'd like to observe that because of their faith these people ALREADY had light in their homes and in themselves which allowed them to have light through their darkest days. "They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."
Light is a sign of life and warmth. We draw closer to it when we find it. We say "follow the light" when we're in a dark tunnel. Jesus Christ gives us light so that we can have it through our dark times. He gives us light so we can follow him. He gives us light so we can feel the warmth of the Spirit. He is the light and life of the world.
I'm so grateful to have his name on my nametag every day and I'm so grateful I made a covenant to take upon his name. I'm grateful to celebrate the birth of our Great Redeemer and celebrate what all He means to me and for the world. I know that He is the Son of God and through him we can return to our Heavenly Father.
Ich wünsche euch ein frohe Weihnachten (I wish you a Merry Christmas)!
- Sister Luymes
|Mannheim District eating something yummy again.|
|A Snowball Dream -- aka yummy, chocolaty goodness.|