Christmas messages. He wrote us Merry Christmas letters on November 20th. We feel so blessed that they arrived in time for us to read them on Christmas Eve. After our traditional Christmas Eve dinner (In N Out burgers, yes), we sat around the table reading our letters. He had written one to each of us. We each read them individually, then shared them out loud with the rest of the family. Here are some excerpts:
Part of his letter to Rikki:
"Remember when we set up the Christmas tree just-us-two? That is a good memory... Enjoy the holidays. I love you. Make sure to record everything."
The picture is of our front window, from the outside looking in on the Christmas tree, with the piano to the left:
I hope you make this year just as fun as past years. It's my first Christmas away from home! I know you care how I'm feeling at this time, even if you're too manly to admit it.
I'm doing my best out here. I'm sure your first Christmas on your mission was different than how mine is gonna be, but really, the only Christmases I've ever had have had you there, so it's gonna be a big change for me!
Dad, you are an amazing person, and I will always look up to you. You have taught me that I can become who I want to become, and that no one has the right to take away my positive attitude...
I miss Ryatt. A lot. And I miss you too. Have a wonderful Christmas! Set up the trains for me. And eat yummy food for me. Make it a great Christmas, and take care of Mom, too.
Merry Christmas, Dad! I love you!
Elder Makani Rain Price
I have a feeling that this is going to be a hard letter to write... My first Christmas away from home, away from you, and I'm trying to write a letter about it when I have only been out for two months. I'm glad we get a phone call!
I love all the memories of home, especially of the holidays. Christmas away from home is going to be hard. Don't forget any silly traditions, like In-n-Out and opening half the presents on Christmas eve! Also, I want you to know, going to those Christmas programs that the Gladwin family's church puts on has really made great Christmas memories.
There is definitely no ice here. I love love love cold weather, so I might just not feel like it's Christmas anyway.
Don't be sad about me not being there, okay? I'm making it possible for other families to have the same memories (feelings, at least) as we have had. ...some of the guys in the apartment are playing Christmas music while I write this, and I can't help but have tears rolling down my face. Dang... I love home. Every single bit about Christmas... I'm glad we did it the way we did, because it's unique. Like our family.
Have an amazing Christmas, Mom. You definitely deserve it. I wish I could be there, and I know it's gonna feel really weird this year, but ... it's needed...
Remember what Christmas is about: Christ. His gospel. Families. Love. Make sure to smile and laugh. Play with Ryatt. Be silly with Dad. Make memories.
Merry Christmas, Mom!
Elder Makani Rain Price
Hello! So, I'm writing a letter... by candlelight. It's really sweet. I went to my first African funeral today! It was really interesting to say the least. Most people were wearing black, but there was one color consistent: Purple. Everyone wears purple. I don't know why, but it's really cool...
I think back to a few months ago and how easy everything was. I think about all the free time and freedom I had. Just being able to go to be at 3 and wake up at 10, and even the ability to play video games, listen to music, talk to friends, and be a teenager. I'm still really young--I'm only 18! I know things are going to be different when I get home, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a lot more the same than I'll expect.
But I"m sure culture shock is going to hit me hard when I come home. Already the memories of home and sitting on a couch and riding the motorcycle feel like a palace on Earth. And it really was! My eyes have opened so much while being out here.
Each week passes by so quickly. That's even the reason I haven't written a letter in so long--the days go fast after daily planning is over (it occurs right when we get in from proselyting). Suddenly it's 10pm and I need to get ready for bed! Then the weeks... Weekly planning is on Thursdays, and weekly closing is on Sundays. It always makes me think "...it's weekly planning for week 5 of my second transfer? I only have two more weekly plannings before training is finished?" Yeah, only a couple weeks, and I'm done training. By the time you get this, I will be done training. Hey you might even know where I'm going for my third transfer! But I don't know. Bleh. Soon enough. [he didn't go anywhere, staying in Point 4 for at another six weeks]
I miss you all. Dreaming is amazing out here because sometimes it takes me back home, back when everything was easy, back when I'd go to Disneyland on a band trip and back when I'd watch X-Files with Dad. You guys keep telling me that I'm already sounding more like a missionary, but I don't know. I'm just living. Doing what I'm doing. Soon enough, I'll be back home for a Sacrament Meeting in Spring Hollow. And I'll play the next Call of Duty and Halo games with Ryatt while I yell at him in Coloqua and Pele, friendly, of course.
I'm being stretched and molded out here, and it isn't comfy... I'm growing up! My experiences here are going to be remembered and I'll be able to laugh about it in 22 months! I love you all, and I know you're being watched over.
Elder Makani Rain Price