I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!! It sounds like there were some pretty amazing things that happened from marriages, to dates, to a relaxing Christmas Eve, to surprise parties, to sleeping in on Christmas day... Glad to hear all is well in the States.So this Christmas week was amazing. Christmas Eve our zone came to the stake center with blankets, LOTS of unnecessary junk food, and scriptures and read all 4 of the gospels! Such an amazing experience. We had to do a lot of speed reading haha. The spirit was so strong. I gained a much greater testimony and gratitude for my Savior, and the life that He lived. So many times, it is easy to read the account of the Savior's sacrifice and crucifixion as a story, just like any other passage of scripture. Sometime this week, I invite you to go to the four gospels and reread the passages regarding the Savior and the Atonement, and PICTURE yourself being there. PICTURE what He must have went through. Think about all the blessings you have received from the sacrifice Jesus Christ was willing to make for YOU. I challenge you to NEVER read those passages like any other scripture ever again; rather read it with a humble heart and witness your love for the Savior increase :) I love the scriptures.
Christmas Day, we read the first half of the Doctrine and Covenants as a zone. Sister Mendenhall and I then went to the P...'s house for lunch. K... came with us. It was his first Christmas ever and he LOVED it! We gave him a framed "Family: A Proclamation to the World" for his first Christmas gift in honor of his family moving to Canada!! The last time we met with him he said (with a biggest smile on his face), "With my family here, and my knew understanding of Jesus Christ, I am beginning a NEW LIFE".
I GOT TO TALK TO MY FAMILY!!!! So happy I was able to hear all your voices :) It was so amazing getting to be on the missionary side of the phone call! I never would have thought that would be the case - so happy it is now though. I want my family to know how much I love them. I did not express it enough in my phone call, and I regret it. Thank you so much for the support and love that you have shown towards me. Thank you for your prayers, for the gifts and letters. Thank you for the advice, for your examples. I am not homesick, I am never homesick - rather I always have an enormous feeling of gratitude for you :) haha I woke up this morning, and after companion study I told Sister Mendenhall that I was SO EXCITED to get to tell my family how much I LOVED them today!! You have no idea. And although I did not express as much as I wanted to over the phone, please know that it is true. I. LOVE. YOU.We had skills and interviews this week! I had my first personal interview with President and Sister Scott. Such a great experience. President Scott asked us to prepare beforehand to discuss the weapons of war in our lives that might be holding us back from giving our whole soul to God. And the plan was to BURY it. My weapon I chose to bury is using the word "I". Haha while that sounds impossible since that word is very necessary in speaking, what I mean with that is that I am giving up selfishness. From now on, I am dedicated to focusing all success, all thought, all action, all EVERYTHING on my companion, our investigators, and my God. When I work to improve myself, I am not doing it to please or satisfy myself, but to better help fulfill God's plan in building the kingdom of God. I really have been working on it this week. Many many prayers and study have been going to the cause and it has been miraculous. I know my purpose as a missionary and as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
We had exchanges this week. I stayed in London with Sister Tofa, and Sister Mendenhall went to Brantford with Sister Griffin. WHAT A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE!!!! Imagine Elder Holland as a Samoan girl from Australia, and that is Sister Tofa. She is amazing :) I learned so much about Charity, patience, inspired questions, listening, and much more from observing her throughout the day. My favorite part about it was Sister Tofa had me take the lead in EVERYTHING and boy was that a blessing because I realized how much I have leaned on Sister Mendenhall's help without even knowing it haha. Especially daily planning. I thought I do a lot in daily planning with Sister Mendenhall... daily planning with Sister Tofa took a little bit longer than usual.. haha so great. At the end of the day, Sister Tofa committed me to taking the lead in Daily Planning as well as in most lessons from now on. I am committed to it :)
Also, yesterday was the fifth Sunday which means MISSIONARY WEEK!! Sister Mendenhall and I got to speak. We shortened our talks to leave time for some of the members who have been coming out with us to share their testimonies as well. It went really well. Sister Mendenhall talked about charity, Holy Ghost, and obedience in missionary work. I recounted the experience of Christ and Peter walking on water, and related it to missionary work and how we are "stepping out of the boat" when we are sharing the gospel. I also got to sing "Because I Have Been Given Much"! Haha we didn't know what song I was going to sing until that morning, and we didn't have a pianist. Thankfully someone was visiting in our ward for the holidays who could play the piano so it worked out well.
I forgot to tell you, but every week for Sunday, I am either leading or playing the piano for sacrament meeting because we have one other pianist in the ward who always comes late haha. Thank you for putting me in piano lessons mommy :)
And going along with that, as well as everything else that happened, this week was truly a miraculous experience. I am not the same person. My perspective of my purpose, and my personal capabilities are not the same. Everything that happened from talking to my family, talking to President Scott, and working with Sister Mendenhall and Sister Tofa really opened my eyes in a way that I can not explain. But I can feel the difference. And it is great :) THIS GOSPEL IS AMAZING!!!!
I Love you all, and I hope you have a great week. Happy new year!!