In our church when a young man serves a mission, he serves for a period of two years. In this two year time period the family is allowed letters each week. This is the only contact we are allowed except for Christmas and Mother's Day. Those two days are special in that we are allowed a phone call!!!!!!!!!!!! Elder Rapp called me on Christmas Eve day as he didn't have computer access to email me. He gave me the number to call and said call me at 8 am on Christmas. They are five hours ahead of us, so it would be early afternoon for him. At 8 my husband handed me his phone. He had made arrangements with his boss to use his cell as the business pretty much has everything on the cell plan. We would pay them later. Well come to find out we couldn't use this phone and I just about freaked! I remembered that the truck stop where my husband works was open on Christmas and we could get an international phone card there. I had him call over and have them set aside the phone card for us to pay them later and then give us the numbers off the card. He bought 2 60 minute cards as we were not sure how long they would let him talk. Sometimes the Mission President limits that time as well. He answered the phone when we called and just let me tell you it did this Mother good to finally be able to talk to him after 5 months of no talking except letters. He sounded so good! He said that an Elder had to go to the mission home the day before to do something and he asked him if he would check the mail as he had two packages from Mom and Dad that he hadn't gotten on mail day from before. (they probably arrived just after mail day :(
He was so excited because they were there and he got them on Christmas Eve. The mail system is really iffy so we don't send stuff of value to him through the mail. We put money in his debit account if he needs something so he is sure to get it. I sent him a little felt tree and some decorations from the $ store. He also requests American candy in almost every letter. There are very few candies that arrive without melting. We discovered skittles and necco wafers work great, no gummies which he loves however. He told us that he gave a package of skittles to the little boy at the home where he was having Christmas dinner. He was cracking up as he was talking to me. He said the little boy was nuts over the skittles. He loved them! He would also speak in Portuguese to his companion from time to time. It was amazing to me to hear how great it sounded. He is speaking so smoothly. I am so proud of him and the hard work he has been doing to learn a new language in such a small amount of time. He told me that the people he has encountered in Brazil are very humble. They don't have much. He baptized a young girl who lives in a one room shack made from plywood. He said there is a sheet in the middle and and the girl sleeps on one side of the sheet and her parents on the other. He mentioned that when he found me a nativity that the other Elders who were native Brazilian were amazed that he would spend 60 in American money, (Brazil would have been around 120 ish) for something like a nativity. That is a ton of money to them and not considered a necessity. I told him earlier to decorate his place with it, because his Christmas package hadn't arrived. He will be sending it to me this next week or two. He had his favorite Brazilian barbecue for his Christmas dinner and he said it was amazing. He loves the food. The fresh fruit is his favorite. He said that some of the other Elders had eaten some weird foods, but so far he hasn't. He did say that when he gets the chance he is excited to try them though. I am not sure I would be so brave. He said that his headaches have subsided and are not bothering him anymore. We bought him 3 pair of really expensive shoes from a local missionary supply store here in town. He hates them. He doesn't have cars in his area so they walk wherever they have to go. He says the shoes are killing his feet and the area they walk is cobblestone. As soon as the first pair are trashed which he said won't be long, he is going to get some shoes from there. He is going to dump or give away the other two. I was a little disappointed that we were given the wrong direction at such a high quality store. They claim to know what the missionaries need and are able to handle every situation. He mentioned that he is about to put a third hole in his belt from his weight loss. I am thinking his pants are probably going to be hanging on him by the time he returns in 19 months. Hopefully the weight loss will level out now. Well if you are still reading great! I will add more later as I think of something he said. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I got what I wanted, talking to my boy was amazing. Oh and I didn't tell you how much that long phone call ended up costing. I was told by our Stake President to enjoy the call and not worry about the money part. Hello international call to Brazil for 1 hour and 40 minutes! It cost us 10 bucks! Woo hoo! Have a Happy New Year everyone! I am going to go get some stamping time in as I don't have my granddaughter today. I am hoping my C.C.Designs new release stamps show up today! How fun would that be?