Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A missionary phone call on Mothers Day

This week Christopher decided he would tell us all about his mission in a little different way.  Rather than sending us emails as usual, he decided that he would record his letters and send them back to us on memory cards.  So this last week we not only got to hear his voice, he also sent us a few pictures as well.  Mother's day is coming up soon so rather than just listening to Christopher's voice on a recording, we will be able to hear his voice live when he calls home.  We are really looking forward to that.

Things are going well for Christopher in Batavia.  Christopher and his companion are doing a lot of tracting and finding new people to teach.  Christopher actually really enjoys tracting.  He told us that through tracting they are able to meet a lot of people which also results in being able to teach a lot of lessons.  Even though they have been able to teach a lot of lessons, it has still been a little difficult to get past the first lesson or two.  In fact, one day not long ago Christopher and his companion had eleven appointments scheduled.  Out of the eleven appointments, none of them came through.  Having so many appointments fall through can be a little disappointing.  But for Christopher, it just means that they need to set up eleven more and move forward the best that they can.  The bright spot is that several of the people that they have been teaching, have attended church with Christopher and his companion.  It has been really exciting for them to have these people attend church and have the opportunity to associate with the members of the branch and feel of the spirit there.

Transfers came and went and Christopher is still in Batavia although he now has a new companion.  Before transfers actually happened, Christopher thought that he might be getting transferred out of Batavia.  Once he found out that he was going to stay, he was pretty happy about that.  According to Christopher, Batavia is probably one of the hardest places to be in the Rochester mission.  Christopher is always up for a challenge and being assigned to one of the tougher areas just turns out to be a new challenge and a new opportunity to overcome the challenge.  Since he is staying in Batavia, the challenge is ahead of him again and Christopher is certainly up for it.  Christopher is really glad to be serving a mission.  He told us that his has learned a lot already in just a few months and that his testimony has increased a lot in that time.

Christopher has been using his music abilities quite a bit in his first few months on his mission.  He has been playing prelude music in Sacrament meeting and priesthood. He has played the piano at a couple of baptisms and during training meetings and other events.  He was told to practice the piano at least three times a week in order to improve his sight reading skills.  Since Christopher's is really talented at improvisation, sometimes he doesn't really play the music as it is written.  He kind of changes up the chords a bit while still keeping with the melody.  I am sure that his improvisation makes for some really interesting and fun music to listen to especially as prelude music before the meetings actually start.  But that is just like Christopher.  He likes doing things his own way and when it comes to his music, that is really where his talents shine through.

This last Sunday was Mothers Day and for us, it is also the day when we get phone calls from our missionaries.  Both Christopher and his brother called home on Mothers Day and it was really fun to talk to them and get a little more detail about their missionary experiences.  With the timing of when Christopher left on his mission and when his brother will be coming home, this last Mothers Day was the only time that both of our missionaries would be calling home on the same day.  By the time Christmas comes around, which would be the next time Christopher calls home, his brother will have already returned home from his mission.

Christopher's Mothers Day call was really fun.  It was really good to hear his voice and to talk to him for a while on the phone.  Christopher told us all about what he has been doing.  He told us a little bit about the branch in Batavia and some of the members there.  He also told us about some of the interesting people that they have been teaching over the last couple of months and the experiences that they have had attending church and learning more about the gospel.  He told us some funny stories about tracting and also about how successful he and his companion have been at meeting new people and teaching them the gospel.  Christopher has had a lot of new experiences over the last few months and he is just at the beginning.  All of his experience that he gained while working as a salesman and learning how to communicate with people effectively over the past few years, has really been beneficial in his missionary work. 

As we talked to Christopher on the phone this past Mothers Day, we learned about a couple of not so fun experience involving missionary basketball games.  One of the more common P-Day activities for missionaries is to get together and play a little basketball.  But for whatever reason, Christopher has had some bad luck as a result of basketball.  He loves to play basketball, but so far these games have sent him to the emergency room twice in the last couple of months.  Once for dislocating his finger and the most recent for getting elbowed just above his eye.  In this latest accident, Christopher was sure that the x-rays were going to show a cracked skull just above his eye socket.  Fortunately, that wasn't the case but for now he is walking around with a very prominent black eye.  Hopefully he will learn to tone down the game a bit and realize that this isn't "church ball".  But then again, maybe it is.  Just be careful out their please. :-)   Here are a few pictures that Christopher sent home on his memory card.

Chowing down on a few treats during P-day in the MTC

Christopher and his MTC district in front of the Provo Temple on P-day
Finally, out of the MTC and in Rochester, New York

A visit to the Sacred Grove on his first day in the mission with his mission president and his wife