elder egbert versus the hemorrhoids

missions are weird.

some weeks you could have stats on stats.  and the next week you could
teach almost no lessons...  and as a missionary, it's a little tough
to not focus on numbers.

they tell us all the time,

"stats do not measure your success as a missionary"

but when you have a week like this week, it gets on you a little bit.

but we keep pushing:).

looking back, however, the stats that we put up do NOT at all reflect
the week we had.  we improved relationships with members, we helped
other missionaries, and if anything else, we had a ton of fun.

wednesday consisted of us going way up north to a tiny village called
lohr.  it is about a 45 minute train ride.  we stepped off of the
train and saw that the train station was... a cabin.  with the words

"gare de tieffenbach-struth"...

elder orton: "well... we made it..."

it was a really fun trip though.  we met with a member family and
talked to them about how WE as missionaries can better fulfill our
calling.  it was wonderful.  and we got to have lunch with them.  and,
i'll be the first to tell you, when a french family offers to feed
you, don't ever refuse.

somewhere during the process of the week elder orton got herpes.

well... actually he didn't get herpes, but that was the first thing
that i typed and i decided not to erase it...

he DID however, get hemorrhoids.  whatever a hemorrhoid is, i don't
have any idea.  but apparently it's pretty bad.  so he's had to stay
inside the past few days.  he went to church for sacrament and then we
left so he could rest his... hemorrhoided area.  (and as far as i'm
concerned, it's not contagious.  at least, i don't think so... i'll
keep you updated)

due to this recent adventure in orton's life, me and dudfield were
able to go on exchanges for a couple days and meet with several less
active members.  they are all making progress and have begun coming
back to church.

the ward christmas party was also a huge success.  SOO many people
brought their friends and their co-workers.  gotta love when members
make our lives easier:).

one thing that we really tried to stress to members this week was the
importance of christmas.  we talked a lot about the classic
"remembering the true meaning of christmas".  but also about having
the christmas spirit.

i'm sure that everyone has read/heard this before, but there was a
really awesome quote that we shared with some members.

"the spirit of christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul,
and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested
in people than in things.  to catch the real meaning of the spirit of
christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the
spirit of christ."

he continues, later,

"there are hearts to gladden.  there are kind words to say.  there are
gifts to be given.  there are deeds to be done.  there are souls to be
saved.  when we keep the christmas spirit, we keep the spirit of
christ, for the christmas spirit IS the christ spirit."

one thing that we do every christmas season is give gifts.  give gifts
to each other, to our children, our co-workers, our friends and
family.  we give, give, give.  and we get, get, get.

what if i told you that giving gifts is not a bad thing?

i know that, occasionally, we try to tell ourselves that focusing on
gifts during christmas is a bad thing.  well, it's not.  didn't the
wise men bring gifts to the christ child?  you could even say that the
angel brought a gift to the shepherds when he said, "i bring you glad
tidings of great joy".

"for god so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten son."

in the end, christ himself, offered up a gift.  the last gift to be
sacrificed.  he gave us the possibility of the gift of eternal life.

christmas is, indeed, about the giving of gifts.  it always has been.
so, the question that comes is

"what will WE give to christ this year?"

think to yourself.  what is one think that you could sacrifice this
year for christ?  what is one thing that you could offer up as a gift?
 it could be the time to do service for a neighbor.  it could be a
deeper study of the scriptures.  it could be a phone call to a lonely
family member.

so go out of your way, do something for someone else.  give a gift.
because isn't that what christmas is all about?

-elder egbert
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