Well, it looks like I'm hanging around for a third round in the Gooch. Elder Andersen is staying as well. As far as I know, I only have one person changing in my District. Innsbrook is losing Elder Mabry and Elder Kim is coming in to replace him.
This week has been pretty slow. We finally have our new map of the area put together and we plan on starting up a grid-by-grid overhaul of the area and the area book; trying to jumpstart the area.
One of the best parts of this week was our Christmas Mission Conference. On Tuesday, all the missionaries on the Richmond side of the mission (Tidewater side had theirs on Thursday) - namely the missionaries in the Richmond, Midlothian, Chesterfield, and Wayneborough areas - got together for an amazing devotional full of music and the spoken word. Some of the missionaries who were soon to return home bore their testimonies, and many missionaries performed musical numbers. President Perry trained on unity, expertly using the scripture in 1st Corinthians where it speaks about the body of Christ, and President Ramsey (one of President Perry's counselors in the Mission Presidency) spoke about the Spirit of the Season and about the role of the Prophet Joseph Smith (as his birthday is on the 23rd). The Assistants also had prepared a very special Christmas gift for President and Sister Perry as this is their last Christmas in the mission-field. They had every missionary in the mission send in their testimony and had them bound into a book which they presented to the Perry's on behalf of the mission.
They also showed an amazing video which was recently produced by the Church of the musical group "The Piano Guys" performing the beloved carol "Oh Come, oh Come, Emmanuel" and set to scenes from the Church's recent Bible Videos. I've included a link to the video which can be found on the Mormon Channel.
It was also really good to see a few of my old friends there. Elder Carlson and Elder Huntzinger were both in attendance as well as many others who I've met and have made friends with over the course of my mission.
Other than that, not a whole lot has happened this week. I safely received the package from the Ward as well as one from the Frasers. I had sent two boxes home, both are just stuff to be put away with my other stuff (just things I've collected and didn't think I'd have room for if I were to get transferred but didn't want to leave behind).
I love you all, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I may not be able to email next week because the libraries might be closed down for the holidays. We've been invited to an early Christmas dinner with a family around 2 so we may try and call shortly after then, perhaps around 3 or so. We're allowed 40 minutes for the call, that's the standard set by the First Presidency in the missionary handbook.
With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts