Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:03 AM
Subject: Kuv hlub nej heev
Nyob zoo tsev neeg!
Zoo siab hnub Christmas! We had some pretty nippy weather a while back, but these last couple of days have been lovely, averaging about 14 degrees. I was talking with an older gentleman yesterday, who evidently was from out of town, and I commented on the nice, warmer weather we were having. He smiled and told me I've been in Minnesota too long if 12-14 degrees feels nice. I was actually sweating, but that could be largely because we had just biked several blocks in the snow.
Christmas conference was great, very spiritual. We didn't get to have a slideshow or talent show like last year, which disappointed me, but there were some beautiful musical numbers. The Hmong district, which has gone from four members in the spring, to seven members, sang a medley in Hmong of Away in a Manger, Angels We Have Heard On High, and Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful. It turned out pretty well.
President Howell dressed up as Santa Clause and had each and every missionary come up and sit on his knee. He would talk with him briefly, then give him a stocking full of goodies and call up the next one. Some of the Elders were very husky. One was very small, and his feet did not reach the ground. What with this Elder's suit and the rigid, awkward way he was sitting, he looked just like a ventriloquist's dummy. The whole ordeal was rather amusing. To put it in a literal translation from Hmong, it "did toward me to cause to whisper a laugh", or in English, it "made me smile". I'm sure I also chortled moderately.
To make a good time even better, Sister Howell came in dressed as a Christmas Grinch, and recited and acted out a poem resembling portions from brother Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", but it was about a grinchy missionary who didn't like contacting people because he thought they were scary or mean. Then he learns to love the people and he energetically speaks to everyone and proclaims the truth he knows. That too was tremendously enjoyable.
It turns out I couldn't make it to Ia's baptism, which it currently under way, but I will be able to get some pictures from the other Elders. Elder Vang and I are rejoicing as though the baptism was in our own area, because our friend is taking upon her the name of Christ, and joining His fold.
We are working with a family that I started working with the last time I was in Minneapolis, and they have made a lot of progress. They are a branch from an extended family tree that has a few very strong members. Npaub (Bao), is the mother of Peter and Lillian, and the daughter of Npib (Bee), and active member. Lillian is ready for baptism, but wants to get baptized with her Mom. Bao is pretty much ready, but is waiting to see if her husband moves from California to Minnesota. I still don't fully understand why. Bao is from France. She speaks Hmong the best, French practically fluently, and English enough to survive. She struggles to read Hmong, so we borrowed a French BoM from a member, and that is working very well. My limited French experience has been very useful. Sometimes when she is reading she comes across a church word like "iniquity" or "resurrection" that she doesn't understand, and I can figure out from the French what it means, then explain it in Hmong. Kind of fun. Peter is really busy with school, but I think finals are over, so things should go a little faster. He's a good kid, and he does care about spiritual things, he just gets a little distracted by the world sometimes.
I love you all, and I loved Liz's and DRT???'s cards!
Sib ntsib dua
-Elder Moua Ying