One of the great joys of Christmas is the opportunity to spend time with family. We are fortunate to live close by many of our family members, both my husband’s and mine and we always spend Christmas Eve and Christmas together. This is the first year, since he was born, that Elder Wong was not with us and we missed him.

Thirty years ago when my brothers and sister served their full time missions (in Panama/Costa Rica, Australia, Denmark, Ecauador & Guatemala) they could only write letters and had a phone call twice a year which probably wasn’t very long since long distance fees were involved.

Today, we are able to communicate by email on a weekly basis, write letters and send packages. Phone calls are still allowed on Christmas and Mother’s Day, but we have the advantage of the internet and we can see our missionary as we talk with them and it doesn’t cost anything. A family in Brazil was kind enough to allow Elder Wong to go to their home and use their computer and we talked with him via Skype.

StarWars_Sticker_CameraAlthough he has been gone only four months, we can see such growth and change in him. He is so happy and seeing that brings us joy. He is a little sad to miss the new Star Wars movie, but he wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. His Aunt Lee was kind enough to send him some Star Wars stickers for him to decorate his things while he waits.

He found that his most favorite thing to eat is Couscous, a corn-based food. I am thinking I had better learn how to prepare this. He says he will bring some back with him.

He spends his days busy talking with people and teaching, by the time he goes to bed he is exhausted. The people are kind and talkative.

He has not been sick at all. His Brazilian companions are able to drink the water with no problem, but he does use his Steripen to purify his water. They tease him about using his “light saber”. You can see his massive tan line when he removes his watch, he’s pretty dark now.

Part of what missionaries do is provide service, so we asked him to tell us about his experiences helping other people. In northeastern Brazil, they don’t need help with yard work or moving to another house like they do here in Washington state. In Cabedelo, he helps people by carrying things for them. Most people don’t have cars and they walk so he helps lighten their load by helping them bear their burdens, a promise we make when we are baptized. (See Mosiah 18:8-10)

In turn, he has been the recipient of many kindnesses. He is fed lunch every day without payment and someone cuts his hair for free as well.

His Portuguese is amazing, he is struggling to speak English. We expected that to happen much later in his mission. Overall, he is doing great and we are proud of him. 🙂