Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Christmas!

Family and friends,

Wow. Christmas is seriously in four days. That's wacko. It doesn't
feel like it's been an entire year since last Christmas haha! You want
to know what else is crazy? This is the last email I will send as an
18 year old! Yup that's right, on Sunday I turn 19 and then on Monday
I'll email again. That's also wacko and weirds me out. It doesn't feel
like an entire year since my last birthday! I really hope you all have
such a great week this week. It's a great week to have a great week if
I may say so myself. Share the Christmas spirit. Sharing the video 'A
Savior Is Born' is a great way to spread that spirit! This time of the
year should be a time when we all focus on the Savior. We wouldn't
have this time of year without him, in fact we wouldn't have any time
at all without him. Anyways, I'll get to that a little more

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were super grand days. We went to
Gillette on Monday for preparation day and got to be with the Gillette
elders, I love them all! We got a call from the assistants around 4ish
saying that we needed to leave Gillette immediately for Billings
otherwise we wouldn't make it, so we rounded everyone up and headed
out. By the time we left they already had more than 5 inches of snow
in Billings, so we knew we had a long drive ahead of us. There were a
couple really sketchy parts but we made it right around 9 and spent
the night in the mission home. Tuesday was our Christmas conference
for the East side zones of the mission; Billings, Billings East,
Bozeman, Wyoming West and Wyoming East. The other 7 zones met in
Helena on Thursday.

The first thing we did was teach every missionary there to sing
like a choir! I was so happy. We split up into parts and learned and
rehearsed 3 of the Christmas hymns to perform for the Mission
Presidency, their wives and the office missionaries during the bulk of
our program. Their was a lot of confusion sometimes and they asked me
to help clarify and fix things, which I was more than happy to do.
After clarifying some basic rhythmic motifs I heard, 'Amen Elder
Tippetts!' and when I looked to see who said that I saw Elder
Hoschouer! My MTC companion! He's been serving in Kalispell Montana up
until this transfer, apparently now he's in Billings. That means my
whole room from the MTC is on this half of the mission now! Elders
Schneider and Potter have both been in Bozeman their whole missions
and I've been in Wyoming East the whole time. Don't worry, I've got
lots of pictures of our happy reunion after the program and food.
Every missionary was invited to prepare a talk about missionary
work and the atonement and we were going to be randomly called to give
them. The program went like so; 2 talks, choir number, 2 talks,
special musical number, 2 talks, special musical number, 2 talks,
choir, 2 talks, special musical number, 2 talks, choir, 2 talks,
special musical number, 2 talks, choir. The second special musical
number was Elder Thomas and I singing a super rad arrangement of The
First Noel. One of the two missionaries in charge of all the music
found it for us. When we performed it went really well, even though we
were insanely nervous and both were shaking quite a bit. The spirit
was so strong the whole program. I learned so much about the Atonement
that I'll be able to apply into my missionary work now.
We all went into the cultural hall for food after the main meeting
and they had a few surprises for us. First, they showed us Elder
McGrath's restoration rap. Elder McGrath was an assistant when I first
came into the mission, but he finished his mission around Thanksgiving
same time as my first trainer, Elder Clark. He wrote it and with a
bunch of other missionaries and President Wadsworth they made a music
video with it. Is was the first time most of us were able to see it
because I believe that right now it is going through the process of
being approved by church headquarters to put the church seal on it to
make it an official church video! I've been told that it's been
approved by all the quorums of the seventy and the twelve, now they're
just waiting for the word from the first presidency! They also showed
us a big slideshow with pictures of all the missionaries that the
office missionaries got from all of our parents. It was hilarious.
While we were eating President Wadsworth ran screaming into the
room telling us that he just got off the phone with Santa and that he
was on his way but he couldn't remember how to make it to the Billings
Stake a Center! So of course we all had to sing Christmas songs like
jingle bells and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer at the top of our
lungs to guide him! All of a sudden an elf runs into the room (one of
the assistants) quickly followed by Santa (the other one) so we could
all get pictures with Santa! It was completely grand in every way. We
left billings at 4 and made it back to Gillette around 9 and stayed
the night at the Zone Leader's apartment. In the morning for our
exercises we woke up early and played basketball and intense dodgeball
and did a bunch of different workouts all over the stake center
cultural hall.

Last thing I'd like to mention is the concept of being a true
disciple and to be Christlike. I'd encourage you all to read the
article 'The Saviors Teachings on Discipleship' from the June 2015
Ensign, Elder Holland's talk 'The Cost-and Blessings-of Discipleship'
from April 2014 conference and chapter 24 from the Teachings of
President Ezra Taft Benson. Here's two super rad quotes from Ezra Taft
Benson, “I testify to you that there is no greater, more thrilling,
and more soul-ennobling challenge than to try to learn of Christ and
walk in His steps," and, "Walking in His way is the greatest
achievement of life." During his week where we celebrate the Savior's
birth I challenge you all to take a few minutes alone to examine how
devoted of a disciple you have been recently, find areas you'd like to
improve on, set goals for improvement, repent and then do it! I know
that we can change because of the atonement, it allows us to become as
he is more fully every day.

I love you all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Elder Tippetts

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