This will be Katie's last email from the MTC. She goes to the mission field on Dec 31. Her new address there will be:
Hermana Katie Klaus
New Mexico, Albuquerque Mission
4400 Presidential Dr NE Ste E
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Feliz Navidad! I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I know I did. We opened gifts from our families in the morning. It was fun to see what everyone was given. I loved all of my gifts especially the scrapbook of pictures. (The Elders couldn't figure out how to get it to close :D ) After that we had breakfast which was eggs and ham, and then we waited around for the devotional start. There was a mix up in the prayer and I actually ended up saying the prayer for the afternoon fireside, but there is a good story with that in a bit. We had Elder Russel M. Nelson come and speak to us. It had a very nice Christmas feeling to the devotional and you could feel the Savior's love for each of us in that room. The cutest thing was when he was leaving Elder Nelson waved and then from the sea of black suit coats all these hands popped up and waved back. After that we had our Christmas meal. It was the same menu as Thanksgiving, so turkey, potatoes and of course the best part stuffing! Then we made sack dinners and headed back to our classrooms. Then we took time to study the Christmas story as a district in Luke and Mathew. After that we took a walk up to the temple in the snow. Yes we did have a white Christmas, but the blizzard was saved for yesterday! We have probably a foot or more of snow on the ground. I love the snow! I am going to miss it in New Mexico. Then we had free time. Yep you read that right FREE TIME! In the MTC? I know it's crazy, but we actually had 40 blissful minutes where we didn't have to anything at all. So the hermanas and I simply basked in moment and enjoyed each others company.
After our free time, we went to the talent show. The talent show was amazing. I had a front row seat, so I had the perfect view. It was mainly singing, and instrumental pieces. The best two: first an elder who played an incredible piano piece that was lively, upbeat and super fast. At the very end all his music fell off but he kept going, improvised the end and then sat on the piano. The other great one was a set of twins who pretend-fought (pushing and shoving) while playing again an incredibly difficult piece of music. It was so funny because as part of their routine one twin was engrossed with being on film and kept pointing and laughing at himself, and finally the other twin looked up smiled and then sternly told his twin to keep playing. The other funny thing that happened while the talent show was going on was I looked over at the head security guard, Brother Angus. He is big man. I mean he could give "Brother Chatman a run for his money" kind of big. I look over and his socks were clearly visible and they were a nice Christmas red. It made me smile.
Ok so the funniest moment of the day. After we had a short intermission we all came back in and President Hacking announced the rest of the evening. He concluded by saying we would sing the closing song and then said "the closing prayer will be offered by Sister Katie "Claus" (pause) wait a minute (giggles while he puts on his glasses and reads it again) Yep Sister Claus (more giggling) Well that's just too perfect (laughing) Ok sister "Claus" who is from (pause again) I really want to say the North Pole (and the audience is all laughing)." His wife came up to me after and said that the first time he read it he wondered if someone was playing a joke on him. She said I had a great last name. It's fun to have the last name Klaus around the holidays. Greg Olson's talk was really neat. He shared a bunch of his paintings of the Savior and then told us the inspiration behind the paintings and what he was trying to get across. His work has some of my favorite pieces of the Savior. We ended Christmas day by watching It's a Wonderful Life. It's been a long time since I've seen that movie and I really enjoyed it and it was fun to get lost in the story and enjoy the company of all the MTC missionaries. That is Christmas at the MTC. A very memorable day filled with lots of thoughts of Jesus Christ and his gift to each of us.
Ok so I have 4 days left in the MTC! I can't believe it! I am not sure where the last 9 weeks have gone. I am so excited to begin the next phase of my mission. I think my mission president's wife told me that P-day is on Monday, so I am not sure when I will get the chance to email again. I love each of you so much. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people supporting me. I hope that everyone has a great New Year and that we can each find ways to invite the Spirit into our lives this coming year.