Thanks for the nice long letter, Emma! That's not fair that you got snow. Actually, I'm O.K. with it. I don't mind snow when I can stay inside by the fire or go skiing but I don't like it so much when I have to go tracting in it! So I'm O.K. with the fact that we still haven't seen snow.
So have you gotten rid of the spiders in the Christmas tree? It sounds like you had quite the ordeal putting up the garland. Almost as much trouble as dad had with the outside lights! What is it with this year?!
I had trouble too. When we were hanging outside lights for someone we got them all hung, plugged them in and then stepped back just in time to see half of the lights die! We tried to fix it but we couldn't figure it out.
Well, your study schedule sounds very impressive. I bet you are learning and becoming even more than you realize. How are you enjoying applying the conference talks? Can you imagine if everyone did that? That would be awesome!
Thanks for your letter too, mom! Sorry for not mentioning 'the work' as much as I should in my letters. There are a few reasons...but mostly just because I'm lazy when it comes to writing. I keep justifying by saying, "Oh, I'll just tell them about it when I call on Christmas day," but in reality I'm sure there's too much to tell and talk about in an hour. I will try to do better. The reason that I have not mentioned the work much is not because we have had nothing to do. We have been very busy. You asked about the pilot's family. First, let me say...I love that family! They are awesome. But they are way busy. I don't even know everything they do but I think they do everything! We've been trying to find a time where we can go over and watch the Joy to the World DVD with them. We may be able to tomorrow.
You also asked about the boyfriend of the one young woman. It's still going with him. He had come to church twice and we had taught him the first and second lesson...and the third and then he got busy with a bunch of tournaments so we couldn't see him for about a week and a half to two weeks. By the time we got to meet with him again he had been anti-ed pretty bad. He came at us with about every anti question in the books. He said he was not coming to church again. Boy did we have to follow the spirit in that lesson! By the time the lesson ended he said we had answered his questions and that he would come to church. We fasted for him that night but he did not come to church. After we left I guess he started to question again. We will be continuing to work with him. I know that as soon as he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet he will be O.K. We just have to help him get to that point.
We are also working with three young girls. They have never been baptized and they want to be. Their mom seems pretty on board with it all but we're not sure about the dad. We're going over there tonight to teach them. The first time we taught them they were way shy but the second time we went they had a ton to tell us. It was great! I love teaching kids! (Never thought you'd hear me say that did you?!)
You asked what I'm studying and learning. Well, I'm reading through the Book of Mormon again. I'm on my sixth time on my mission. And I'm also doing something that President Pfile asked us to do...read Preach My Gospel all the way through. I am really trying to focus on recording my thoughts and impressions in the notes section along the side. I hope that will help me retain better. Something that I've always known but is really sticking out to me is focusing on converting the people. Like it says in the intro to PMG, "Your purpose is not only to cover the material; it is to help others come unto Christ..." This work is not a checklist, it is a process of conversion on both the part of the investigator and ourselves (D&C 50:22,24). We're all out to get more light. That's what this is all about. And it's all made possible through the atonement. Like it says on pg 2 of PMG (2nd paragraph) "As your understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase." That is because of that added light! President Pfile taught us that the atonement is in the center of everything. Everything is based upon, and made possible through the atonement.
Those are a few of the things that I have been learning about recently. And it's a great time to be learning about it during the Christmas season where we turn our thoughts to the birth of Jesus Christ, the one who made all this possible.
I hope you're all having fun getting ready for Christmas! I can't believe how fast it's coming. I can't wait to hear your voices! I'll be calling again...from Ulysses Kansas! Hope you have a great week! Remember I love you and I'm staying very busy! I love this work!
Love Elder Cryer
P.S. The Hugoton branch had their branch Christmas party on Saturday. After a little while the party started to lose some life so we (once again) saved the day. I started to do some dumb magic tricks. I was making them up on the spot. They started to gather round. Then I grabbed some of the mints on the table and started juggling. They loved that. All the kids came around and started watching. Then they started throwing more mints at me to try to catch. I did catch a few in my mouth! The kids were having a blast. None of the parents seemed bothered by it! It was fun!
Then President Madson came up to me and asked if I would read a Christmas story that they had. He said, "I think they'll probably listen to you more than anyone else!" We both laughed. So I got to read the Christmas story...and no one said a word as I read.
P.S.S. I'm not really sure what our Christmas day plans are yet. We have been invited over to someone's house to play some games. That should be fun since we can't watch movies this year.