This email will be short this time, I think! (Ha, I always say that!) I'm so loving this Christmas season. And I'm so looking forward to the time when I get to call my family on Christmas!!!! Aahhh. (;
As you can see, I became festive and made my favorite thing of all time today: pretzel jello salad!!!! #tearsofjoy.
SHOUTOUT to Katie Woods and all my other amazing family members for sending me Christmas gifts and CDs!!!! :DD You are amazing and I appreciate it SO much!!!
There are just a few experiences I want to highlight this week. First of all, I had really wanted to visit with this less-active family, the Scanlons because their name sounds like my favorite word! So, we did! And it was scanlanous. :D
Also, we had an amazing district meeting this week. We actually did a white elephant gift exchange and there were some, um, interesting gifts exchanged! I got off easy with a stocking full of andes mints but there were definitely some sketchy dinosaurs, santa in a bathtub figurines, and gaudy cat statues passed around.
On a more serious note, we had a great district meeting about the Atonement. We each bore testimony of the Savior and His Atonement and the spirit was so strong!!! My love for, knowledge of, and appreciation of these things has grown so much!! How grateful I am for the Savior and His great atoning sacrifice and the love that permeates this holiday season. I can't really describe it or how I feel. It's just awesome. Christmas is truly the best on a mission! :)
Haha. Now on a more silly note, we were totally stuffed like a turkey because Sister Rice had us over for a fancy Christmas dinner. This lady is hilarious!! "Now Sisters, I don't think you Sisters are full enough. GO GET SOME MORE!!!" As Kimi would say: "don't tell me what to do!" Haha that's what I thought in my head at least. :) It really was good, though. People are seriously having a conspiracy theory to try and fatten us up for winter I think. Everyone and their Mom has decided that Christmastime is the best time to feed the missionaries and they obviously think we can never have too many Christmas cookies!! Oh DEAR! Good thing they will get back to their senses and stop feeding us once January rollls around. That's how I prefer it. :)
Oh, and we got invited to seminary this week. :D That was exciting.
I also learned the joy and ease of praying with people on the phone (wait... that actually works??!) Turns out it does. ;) That, along with many other experiences, (namely when some people are totally ready for you to leave and you can totally tell but have to pretend like you don't notice! :P) make me convinced that my awkward filter must be broken. These things don't bother me! I think missionaries learn to be immune to awkwardness. It's kind of funny sometimes. :)
I have been SUPER abnormally tired this week, even more than normal, and am falling asleep everywhere. So that's a good indication we have been working hard and having a good week!
We also got to attend a baptism in Neenah. This was someone that Sister Peel taught. Baptisms are always great! :)
Ahh, we also had a few great lessons this week. And we had a great and hilarious time folding laundry for the Irazzary's who can't hear a THING, but I need to leave enough to talk about with my family on Thursday!!! Ahh, I'm so excited! :)
Here's just a brief spiritual thought. Ah, this Christmas Book of Mormon reading will be over this week and I have learned to much! Turn with me to Ether 6. In this chapter the Jaredites are traveling across the sea in barges that the Lord helped them to construct and it is describing the brother of Jared's experiences as he is traveling. However, I also think this is relevant to us today. In verses 9 and 10 we see that the brother of Jared is "singing praises unto the Lord." He did "thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord." Clearly this is a great display of gratitude that he is demonstrating toward God. How often are we grateful for about 5 or 10 minutes then get on with the rest of our day? I know that happens with me. Well, THis is a great example of having a continuous attitude of gratitude. Well, in the next verse, consequently, we see that "they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually..." I really like that because we can each have light continually in our lives as we remember Christ with gratitude and turn to Him often not just at Christmas time, or occasionally, but all the time. Truly as we remember Christ with gratitude by our very thoughts and actions, we can have that light and protection with us always as we navigate through the storms of life. I know that to be true!
On another side note, in verse 17 in that same chapter, I admire how they were taught to "walk humbly before the Lord" and were "taught from on high." What a marvelous opportunity we have, that as we humble ourselves and seek direction in our lives from God through prayer, we, too, can be taught from on high. It's exciting stuff. :)
I love you!!!! Merry Christmas!!!