We began this week with a goal to see 20 new members, and we exceeded our goal by two because some people came to church that we hadn’t previously met.
We were very thankful to have a car to drive, but it didn’t have air conditioning and it was a hot and humid week. As the week drew closer to Christmas the windows stopped working correctly and would roll up but not down, and then down but not back up. We drove around sweating profusely with the windows up. Then Elder Johnsen thought we could turn on the fan, but this idea was scraped when the fan felt more like a heater.
We spent Christmas Eve day baking and then driving around delivering cookies, and singing some of our prerecorded Christmas songs. Sister Johnsen found a new song, called “Do You Have Room” which was written by Shawna Edwards after hearing President Monson’s Christmas devotional talk where he asked if we had room in our lives for the Savior. We were able to download a backup track too. At a couple of places we sang “Who would Send a Baby?” as a duet. These musical messages really bring the spirit into the hearts of the hearers. Singing the song actually impacts us as we sing too. For example, as we sang these words, “Who would send a baby to heal a world in pain? Who would send a baby a tiny child? When the world is crying for the Promised One, Who would send His only Son? Who would send a baby to light a world with love? Who would send a baby, a tiny child? When the world is hoping for the Promised One; Who would send His only Son? Who would choose a manger to cradle a King? Who would send angels to sing? Who would hang a star in the sky above to shine on the gift of His infinite love? Who would send a baby to bless a world with peace? Who would send a baby, a tiny child? When the world is yearning for the Promised One, Who would send a baby? Who would send a baby? Who would send His only begotten Son?” As we sing those words we can’t but help feel such gratitude for our Heavenly Father. Sister Johnsen and I took cookies to a sister who tends her mother who is bedridden. She is in constant pain. We stepped inside their little house, and the mother was there on her bed as she usually is. When we sang the words, “Who would send angels to sing?” Sister Johnsen felt the spirit whisper that even we can be angels sometimes, and bring the spirit when we go out and sing to people. Just like in the days of the Savior’s birth, sometimes the Father still sends out “angels” to sing. We went to at least 10 different homes, and actually made contact with a bunch of new people on our need to meet list.
We certainly had a different Christmas Eve than we usually do. We came in from delivering cookies and were hot and tired. We still needed to do all our dishes, make twice baked potatoes and our layered jello for Christmas dinner the next day. We rested and watched a movie, The Music Man, and then got up and worked. Then we dropped into bed. We didn’t open any presents, or do our traditional dancing around the Christmas tree. Just as we were going to bed it started pouring rain and I turned to Sister Johnsen and said, “Raindeer on our roof.” It rained raindeer almost all night!!
We had a nice Christmas day, and we had four Christmas musical numbers at Sacrament meeting. Our huge choir of 8 people sang, “With Wondering Awe”, a sister who hasn’t been to church since we came, sang “Away in the Manger,” Elder Johnsen and Eric Carlson sang, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” and Sister Johnsen sang, “Do You Have Room?” Elder Johnsen gave a talk on the Savior and Christmas.
Then we came home and prepared for dinner while all the Elders talked to their families. They all came up about 2:00 and ate. Then we played games, opened presents, and talked until 10:00 that evening. The day went by very fast. We couldn’t believe that it seemed to go so quickly. It was a very lovely Christmas here on the islands!