Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 Hello, Merry belated Christmas and happy New Year! I hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas and that you have great plans for a new year. Don't forget to make spiritual goals as well as temporal ones! One of the things that we are encouraging people to do is to consider the different characteristics of Christ listed in PMG (faith, hope, charity and love, obedience, virtue, patience, knowledge, diligence, humility) and choose one to think about, learn about, and pray for as the new year begins. In our mission we are studying one a week so this upcoming week I am on hope. But whatever you choose to work on this year, good luck!

 I hope that you all had a fantastic and Christ centered Christmas! We spent the day visiting members mostly, in the morning we had brunch and skyped which was awesome and then in the evening we had dinner with a part member family (so half the family was happy to have us there, ha, ha) but we watched the Christmas devotional and it was good. If you haven't had an opportunity to watch or read it yet I would recommend it. I've seen it three times now but it's still like it, so that's how you know it’s good! Ha, ha.

 This Christmas I have been very blessed, and I feel like I received far more than I deserved. I'm always amazed at how thoughtful and kind people have been to me since I've been out, Christmas time especially. This year I received from members, most of whom this was my first time meeting, socks, gloves, a McDonald’s gift card, a scarf, more socks, lots of candy, fruit, hand warmers, more gloves, ear muffs, pens, a stocking and earrings. And everyone that we stopped by to see offered us something to eat and hot chocolate! The ward here is very kind and I'm very grateful and humbled by the love and trust they have for us. And I've really been reminded this year that God loves us and if we turn to Him we will take care of us. He not only gives us what we need but He also wants to bless us with our righteous wants and desires. What is important to us is important to Him because He loves us.

 One of the best gifts that I was able to have this year though was really just to be able to devote my entire Christmas season to thinking about and helping others to think about Christ. I know it kind of sounds cheesy but it's not something that I had really been able to do before, at least not to this extent, and it really does bring a lot of happiness into your life that you just can't get any other way. Being able to start my mission during the Christmas season has actually been I think a great blessing.

 I was also very humbled this year when we went to visit one of our investigators of Christmas Eve. We just stopped by quickly so that Sister Mendenhall could say goodbye since Christmas was her last day but they decided that they were going to open a present while we were there since it was Christmas Eve and that's a thing I guess. The family consists of a mom and her 10 year old son and her two other kids where there for Christmas but live with the mom's friend, one is 14 and the other just turned 13. Their mom wasn't able to get them anything really but their dad who is getting home from prison in a few days was able to get them some stuff and have it sent to the house. Anyway, all three of them got some degree of clothing, and not like cool (to a kid) clothes either, like socks and basic shirts and stuff but they were all way excited for it anyway. It made me think about the story Grandpa Till would tell us about the kids in Germany getting the cereal.

 I also received this year Christmas cards from J.J. and his family, the Tills, Cedarcrest ward (by the way, there is totally a Cedarcrest ward here in our zone too), the Stevicks, the Ceadarcrest Primary, President and Sister Miller, and the First Presidency, so that was cool and thank you all. They all seemed to come at very optimal times, when something frustrating or discouraging was going on.

 So, you might think that it's funny that I was given so much warm weather clothing when I said that it's not that cold right? Well, joke's on me I guess because this week it has been cold and windy! In the mornings and evenings it will be down to the low 20's and the wind will be blowing so not to worry (because I know you were), it's being well used!

 Since Christmas was going on and people were out of town and with family and everything and we spent a day taking Sister Mendenhall to the mission home we didn't get a lot of lessons or anything in this week but I have high hopes for the upcoming year. Sister Stokes and I are still trying to figure out the area a little since we're both new to it and this is here first time being the big boss (aka trainer/ senior companion) so I think she feels a little overwhelmed but all is going pretty well, ha, ha.

 Last night we talked to a cool guy named Victor at 7-11 who was selling wood and we talked to him for like 20 minutes just about church and stuff, I guess he is a Catholic but his son is training to become a Baptist Pastor. We also met this weird family this week that is very close to each other, like weirdly close. When we went over the sibling were like sitting on each other's laps and holding hands. Very Flowers in the Attic vibe if you know what I mean.... We were also rejected via sticky notes this week. We had received a referral from the YSA Elders and told that they had set up an appointment to meet with a family at noon. So we went over but no one was there so we left a sticky note on the door saying we had stopped by and giving them our number. When we drove past their house later that day we saw like 4 sticky notes on the door and thought that was weird so we went to see what was up. They had left sticky notes on top of ours saying they didn't want to meet with us. It was just weird though because they were on their own front door!  Oh and we also met a woman this week who as really bad memory problems. It's almost like a 50 first date's type of thing (not that bad but same kind of idea) except that the thing she keeps remembering is that her daughter died, so it's really hard for her to get over the loss since it's hard for here to keep track of the time since it's happened!

 Well, that's about it for this week, hope you all have an awesome new year and try not to party too hard! I'll probably be asleep while you are! =O


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