Somehow the second I realized what that tree* was, I knew it had to be your idea. Where did you find it? It's fantastic!
I'm bummed I missed your sacrament meeting talk. I love hearing you speak in church--never blasphemous but always unorthodox. Fortunately, I'm your daughter and get to hear your musings on religion all the time. I just feel sorry for the rest of the ward, who only hear them once in a blue moon when the Bishopric works up the nerve to ask you to speak. Well, sucks to be them.
Friday night was transfer calls. The angel of death passed over our house, and nobody's leaving. Must be because we're keeping the Word of Wisdom**. (Except one of the elders' investigators brought them a coffee bun, and they didn't know what to do with it, so I said I'd eat it and I did. My companion was shocked. But it didn't taste like coffee--the flavor was more gnat than camel, I think I'm gonna be okay. Sisters Linford and Jung Min Hee, my MTC cohorts, are being sent out to the heretofore-elders-only area of Jeju Island. I thought this was a lie when I heard it. Sisters just don't go to Jejudo. But they are. And since flying out there is expensive, they'll probably be there a while and I am not likely to see either of them again until Sis. Linford and I go home in July. It's a sad day, but quite a privilege for them, opening a new sisters' area.
I'm still junior companion. My feelings on this are mixed. Some of them are:
"Yay! Six more weeks of minimal responsibility!"
"Wait . . . seventh transfer and I'm still junior? Sis. Pak Sung Hee and Sister Montgomery were trainers by their fifth."
"Who cares, as long as I get to stay in Taegu?"
"Does President think I'm irresponsible or immature, or what?"
"You ARE irresponsible and immature."
"Well, yes, but I don't want the whole mission knowing that Prez knows that."
"Sister Beckstead didin't go senior until her eighth [transfer], and she ended up being a darn good missionary."
"Yes, but prior to that she'd had several meltdowns and tried to go home. All I've done was tell Prez in one interview that I was kind of lonely."
"Do you WANT to be a senior?"
"No . . . I just don't want to be THAT sister, that's all: the one that's a burden on the mission, that Prez doesn't dare give responsibility to."
"If you were THAT sister, Prez would have sent you to Sister Musser instead of trusting you to handle a fifth transfer with an all-Korean house. And he's threatened to make you train."
"He also threatened Sis. Matthews with that, and she's going home in six weeks, trainee-free."
"Look . . . what's your bottom-line goal on this mission?"
"To be as good a missionary as my father was."
"And how long was he a senior?"
"Like . . . three days, or something."***
"Right. And you've still got four more transfers to become senior in. Twenty-four weeks. You've got plenty of time before that goal comes into jeopardy. So stop fussing, count your blessings, and get back to work."
Yeah, that's pretty well where I am right now.
Three weeks until Christmas! My little tree is displayed proudly above my desk. I tried to decorate it a bit but in the end just decided to stay with the one red ornament, to keep it a simple, unadulterated Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. It makes me unbelievably happy.
I love you! Talk to you in three weeks#.
*For her birthday, we sent her a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree-- one with a few scraggly twigs and some needles falling off. And one red ornament.
**Word of Wisdom: members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been commanded to abstain from coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco; this commandment group is referred to as the Word of Wisdom.
*** When it was discovered, two days before he went home, that Todd had never been a senior companion, the mission president made him senior for the last day of his mission.
# Missionaries are allowed to call home at Christmas Day and Mother's Day.