At 5:00 p.m. today, we were getting a very exciting Christmas gift -- our skype call with Elder Christiansen! Doug, Andrew and I had a wonderful day together and we all were so looking forward to 5 o'clock!
We tested the computer connection, skyped from our computers in different rooms, and set up the iPad to record the Skype. We tested where to sit so Ethan would be able to see all three of us, and we would be able to see him -- arranging chairs so we could fit in the height and width of the computer screen and still be able to record. Quite the logistical and technological situation!
We were "go for launch" at 4:30 p.m. and counting down. Elder Christiansen was going to be skyping from a church member's home. We had so many questions we wanted to ask him, and we were so looking forward to "seeing" him!
The ring, the connection, and there he was! We could see his face, sort of back-lit by a lamp in the room; he was skyping from the basement weight room, and we had 45 minutes to visit. There were three missionaries after Ethan waiting to use the computer to skype with their families, too.
After we got the lighting figured out on his end, we could see his face. He looked great!!!
Here are a few highlights from the conversation:
- Good news -- Ethan hasn't been really homesick: "I've been too busy!"
- He loves riding his bike every day, and kicks off his morning with 75 push-ups.
- The night before, at Christmas Eve dinner at the Bishop's house, he ate a tiny but powerfully hot pepper and within seconds he was sweating, crying, nose running, gasping, and gulping down water! The only relief came from rushing outside and throwing up in the yard. Good times, I'm sure! (This was actually the first thing he told us while we were trying to get the light adjusted so we could see him. Hilarious!)
- He loves the wonderful Mexican food, even likes salad now, and also was glad he hadn't been served soup that's made from the face and intestines of a cow.
- He absolutely loves the people he's met -- so warm and friendly.
- He's learned the importance of setting goals to help get things accomplished. Wonderful!
- He loves his mission president, Presidente Maluenda, and appreciates that he always tells the missionaries to enjoy every moment of their missions.
- Playing basketball is his favorite activity after all the chores are done on "P-day" (preparation day -- grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the apartment, etc. -- oh, and writing to family and friends). :)
- He is so thankful and happy to be serving a mission, and recommends everyone read something out of the Book of Mormon every day -- "I'm blown away by how much power that book has."
- He is thankful for the many friends who have written to him!
- He ended our call by sharing his feelings about Jesus Christ, and his testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ -- all in Spanish. It was beautiful! We couldn't understand a thing, but could feel his spirit and sincerity. It was lovely.
Favorite Christmas gift for our whole family! I haven't gone back to watch the recording yet -- giving the actual conversation time to wander around in my memory first. I'll watch it sometime between now and Mother's Day, when we get to skype again. Can't wait!! :)