Merry Christmas! I love you!

My dear wonderful family! Halo! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love each and every one of you. Thank you for all of your love and all of your support. I feel so loved and lucky to have the family that I do. You are amazing.

Momma: My sweet beautiful momma. I got the christmas Boxes! I have been listening to the Carols from the Christmas Cradle. (That’s the only reason I opened my box early. I have the rest to open when I get home from emailing) Every time track four comes on (if I remember right that’s the one about stars) I soak up the moment. Close your eyes. Imagine the beautiful piano keys falling like snow (except for here, it’s the kokonus trees) as I look to my right and see the crystal blue ocean as we come over the hill towards the buses and the office in the center of Port Vila. I’ve been listening to this CD with my companion and can feel your love. I love you so much momma. Merry Christmas! I hope and know you are having the most Talk to you soon! Love you!

Daddy: I love you so very much. I LOVE YOU!! FIST BUMP!!! Your words are so inspiring. I love what you said about eternal progression. We are always learning, we are always on the rollercoaster of eternal progresson. I’m grateful for every experience (as Yoda would put it) I will go! I will do something great! I will stand strong in knowledge of Christ and have faith that the light will come every day. I know it is there. I see it in the eyes of the beautiful pikinini and the sweet mamas.

Today is Christmas. The first Christmas in Vanuatu! I’m so grateful to be here. I miss you all. It’s just a fact, but I can feel your strength everywhere I step.

This week has been quite exciting. I’ve been looking for the tender mercies that Papa God gives to me each day. Wow. Papa God cares so much. Hem i lovem pikinini blong hem. The first tender mercy/experience is getting Christmas boxes.

Many people recieved their Christmas packages last week. I figured it would come in about three months but we got a call from the office saying it was there! So we went and picked it up four days ago. Afta, we drove to Erakor Bridge North area, through the dirt roads, with rain falling, as leaves and grass brush the side of our car. We found President Tasaru’s house (he’s in the center in the picture.) The poor man was so sick but he crawled to the door and greeted us with a smile. I told him the box had come that my family sent. We went back to the car and his eyes lit up as we showed him the colorful ties and short sleeve white shirts. He told me that there was a boy who he had never seen where a white shirt each time he came to church. “Now he has one.” My heart felt so much peace and love. He said “Thank you tumas blong yu mo tankyu tumas blong famle blong yu. God bless.” My dear familly, you have given Christmas to these people. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I’m so grateful. I feel your love. The Ni-Vanuatu feel your love too.

The extra pair of flip flops were given to Abu David. He is a recent convert. (every time we would go over to his home he would always offer us water or give Sista James and I mangos. He loves this gospel and he loves people.) I had Sista James give him the shoes with her new companion. I think he thought I was going to give him chacos… shoes like mine… but he was grateful. At the Christmas devotional yesterday he came up to me and said thank you. Thank you my dear family for your prayers and for your selflessness.

2. The stars here are incredible.

3. Remember the narrow gate situation last week? Well… I got a good laugh when I read 2 Nephi 9:41. There is a lesson in everything!

4. Nothing will be as good as the nativity in Bislama, and the sound effects that are used in… *cough the dramatic presentation of the Nativity. “Luk! Yu threefala!” It’s the best.

5. Tender mercy. Before baptisms on Saturday all the missionaries and the Ni- Vanuatu (people from Vanuatu) were singing Christmas songs. I ended up being in charge of leading everyone. It was so beautiful to hear their voices sing together in the island praise and love for this gospel.

6. Last week I was assigned to teach all the missionaries a Christmas song to sing at the devotional yesterday. It was like hurding cats but they sounded like Angels. I think the Angels sang with us yesterday. We sang picture a Christmas.

7. I got to play the piano in Sacrament meeting! The right hand! But it was still the piano

Yesterday we went around Ohlen and sang Christmas songs. We sang to one Abu (who is probably in her 80s or 90s). She loved the sister before me but she took my hand, looked me in the eyes with her eyes of the blue ocean, and told me “I love you.” We also taught a lesson to a sister and her daughter about the Gospel blong Jesas Kraes. She gave us water with lime drink mix and some biscuits. We sang Christmas songs and shared joy! We also followed the small path that her daughter showed us by their house, and when you look out you can see the airport on one side, and a river at the very bottom of the trail. It’s surorunded by green and I’m pretty sure it’s a scene out of a jungle. It was beautiful.

Today I made Sugar Cookies… that failed… I mean… that gave me experience. Perks of cooking in Vanuatu. The butter softens… really quickly… like melts out of the side. Also degrees are in celsius! So many adventures.

My Bislama is slowly but surely improving. I learned that I’ve been practicing it wrong… practice makes perfect… but perfect practice makes perfect. I’m reteaching my brain. That’s exciting. Please pray I can learn this language quickly and help all these wonderful sisters. I’m learning the roads! Halelujah! I know you have been praying. Prayers work. They really do! Everything is in God’s timing. That’s something I have to constantly remind myself.

I love you all so much. This week I’m focusing on doing an act of service every fifteen minutes. I will learn how to lose myself in the service of others! It’s possible. I know it is.

I’m so grateful for my Savior, Jisas Kraes. He loves each and every one of us. Remember him today and that there is always light. He is the light.

I love you all so very much. Have the most incredible week.

Talk to you 8:30 Vanuatu time on Tuesday December 27th (Vanuatu date)

I love you
Sista Carter