Saying Goodbyes


…Nah that was too casual of a salutation. Let me try that again.

*clears throat*

Hello everyone! (That’s better.)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Boxing Day! To tell the truth, I have no idea what those last two actually celebrate. I just know they’re roundabouts this time of year…

Anywho, we had an exceptionally weird week. All our appointments fell through, and the schedule was super out-of-whack because of Christmas. We were able to meet with Jasmine, Rebecca, and Eddy (whose profession, we discovered, is a life-coach, so that’s rad), but nobody else was around.

Additionally, we had all our Christmas celebrations this week. On Wednesday we drove out to the mission home in Oakland for the mission Christmas program, including a white elephant gift exchange (I ended up with something called a Tân Tiên, which is, essentially, a Cambodian hacky-sack, but ten times crazier).

“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.”

On Christmas Eve, we went to a member’s family Christmas party for dinner, so that was fun. All of it made me reminisce on my own childhood and the tradition of Christmas parties with my extended family back home. Boy, do I miss that ruckus-y bunch o’ folk, and all the shenanigans we have every year during this season. Luckily, Christmas calls home lifted my spirits!

Hangin’ out with Elder Tolman (and the rest of the zone) on Christmas day.

But I digress, it’s always better to dwell on the positive. I love my family and miss them dearly, but the Lord’s work is important and there is no better work I could be doing with my life right now. I hope my family knows that I love them and miss them more than words can express! You guys are the best.

So, in other news, we have reached the end of the transfer which means I HAVE COMPLETED MY TRAINING! Those twelve weeks sure flew by, and I say goodbye to Elder Weaver tomorrow. Transfers are this week and I will be staying here in Clayton Valley. Elder Forsyth, my new companion, is coming in and word-down-the-street says he’s a hard worker and an excellent missionary. I look forward to this transfer to see how it goes!

Now, that news is all fine and dandy, but I realize something I never expected from the mission. Missionaries build special bonds and friendships with some of the members and other missionaries in the mission. I don’t know why I overlooked that, but it happens. Elder Weaver has been serving in Clayton Valley (two different wards that meet at the same chapel) for a full calendar year and seeing him say goodbye to these members yesterday really woke me up to that fact.

Elder Weaver, your quirkiness will be missed.

I point that out because I think it is important to note that missionary work is completely different than it is perceived by members (namely, those who have not served missions). It’s an incredible adventure, with experiences of all kinds. My words to those who may end up reading this, who aren’t sure whether or not they should serve a mission, are these: a mission is incredible. We aren’t sacrificing our comfortable home life just to talk about the gospel with strangers. We are changing lives, especially our own. I’ve seen people have complete changes of heart in just a few short weeks, as well as developed close friendships that I never expected to have. It’s a wondrous experience, and one I highly recommend!

Anywho, that’s all I have to say this week. I have an interesting road ahead, and this is just the end of the beginning for me. I look forward to it.

Have a great week! Love much, serve often.
I love you all!
~Elder Pike

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