Hi mom and dad :) .
I'll just answer questions first...not! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! :). The only gift I have for you is my love, email, and pictures, but I hope it's enough. I love you very much; congratulations on making your way up on the seniority chain by another year. Ha. My driving test will be this Wednsday morning, so if you could keep me in your prayers that would be awesome. I'll be fasting as well, because I really need this license to be honest. I'll be Skyping from the N's on the 25th for 40 minutes, but that's as far as I know yet. When I find out more details, I'll let you know, perhaps through Sis. N. Our missionary Christmas party is, and Elder Williams and I will be singing (he'll play the guitar and I'll play the piano in an arrangement of the song I asked you for). I have a bit of a cold, but nothing severe. I think it's mostly from lack of enough rest. I get to bed much later than some nights because of zone leader business, especially Sundays (when we collect and report the key indicators for the zone from the week to the assistants).
I've been enjoying the days of Christmas idea you had with the word themes--I liked the poem in today's about Christ's area of service being a small one (Bethlehem and Galilee), but how it has the biggest impact of all.
(editorial note) Here is the poem he is referring to:
“Father, where shall I work today?”
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.”
And the word he spoke, it was not stern; …
“Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.”
Right, so basically this week was loaded with lots to do, but we did indeed have a baptism! M and A from Doncaster were baptized by their father, P. A impressed me immensely with her great courage; she's 12 years old like Tamsyn, and terribly afraid of the water. She was brave enough to accept a date, and stayed strong working towards it. When the day of her baptism came, she told me she was scared, but she never once said she wouldn't do it. Going into the water, she was crying from fear, but held her resolve strong and was baptized by the strong hands of her father, coming out of the water up the steps into the arms of her just-baptized mother. After changing into dry clothes, she came into the room where we were waiting (just a small group of missionaries, her immediate family and aunt and 2 cousins), where I was playing my very best interlude music on the piano (my variations of a few hymns). I could see in her a light of happiness and satisfaction that she had conquered her fear to do something for God. She will be bountifully blessed for her diamond courage, and she shone even brighter the next day at church after her uncle gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a beautiful event. Truly, I'm impressed. Sometimes I think we as people need to "man up" as it's said, do what's right even if it's hard, and conquer the fear that's in us. A's really set the bar this week, I think.
I'll talk to you soon enough; remember that I love you lots and that I feel your love and support every single day. Thank you so much for everything. You are the best.
Elder Brown, your ever-heroic son