"The last couple weeks here in Tonga have been pretty awesome. Christmas and New Years have seriously been a memory that I will never forget. Even though it wasn't spent with my family I had some really cool experiences.
Christmas morning, We woke up really early and opened my box sent from MOM. It was really fun sharing all of my stuff and opening the presents was a cool experience. I gave my stocking to a kid that had been staying with us for a while I just wanted him to feel the way I get to feel every year with the great parents I have. He really enjoyed and was very thankful. My companion's stocking we gave to our neighbors and they were really excited to get it. Our neighbors have really been the most Christlike people I know. They seriously take such good care of us. My companion got to call his family and even had some family on the island so they came and visited and brought us all types of food! I have learned a great deal of what it means of giving. Also our ward had a huge barbecue so we got to eat again. We seriously ate so much and had such a good day. I really had times where the spirit really reminded me of Christ and of the happiness of the gospel and it made me so very thankful for all that I have. December 26 I got up like normal and was getting ready to call you guys when out of no where we had a teaching. Knowing I couldn't miss this opportunity I went and that's why I called late. It was so good to hear from you guys and to talk to you each individually. Mom and Dad really said things that I needed to hear and being able to talk to dad about my struggles and to open my heart and express my struggles and hardships to him really made me so grateful for a dad who supports me in all I do and so grateful for Parents who I can talk to about anything.
New years was a little crazy things happened that I never thought could happen in a church but it was seriously so cool. So new years eve we had another huge barbecue and ate so much as a branch. Then later at 9 at night we had a fireside which lasted until 11! That was one thing I have never even heard of before, but it was a really good fireside. The speakers talked about missionary work and the spirit was really there. The coolest thing was seeing one of the ladies we baptized speak on missionary work. It really made me thankful for missionary work and being able to know we helped her reach the church really touched my heart. She spoke with such power and such a strong testimony she seemed like she has been a member her whole life. She really has influenced so many people especially me. She is going to speak at stake-conference on Sunday and I am so excited:) After the fireside we ate ice cream and rolls and waited for new years. Some members lit off fireworks and almost had a bad accident because he put the firework in upside down. lol After News years happened I learned a new Tongan tradition and that is all everyone does this cheek to cheek thing. The ladies (older ones) kissed me on the cheek when they did it, but it was really cool to see how everyone has a general love for each other and it was really awesome. Being away from my family and spending Holidays in Tonga was not easy, but The things I learned and have experienced are things that really have impacted me in so many ways. I know its late but I hope all of you had a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS and the best NEW YEAR!! I sure am grateful for the gospel and for the happiness it brings. I know this church is God's true church and nothing will change that. I am eternally grateful for my family and for the opportunity to be on a mission. I LOVE you guys:)"