Merry CHRISTmas, friends & family!
We had such an exciting week here in GV2. On the top of the list of exciting happenings is that we finally figured out what our companionship name is: “Aure to Breckenridge yet?”
Hold your applause, please. Yes, we know how amazing it is. Yes, we high five each other & say that whenever anything awesome happens. Thank you, thank you.
The Gainesville stake here in Florida has been working on the musical production of “Savior of the World” for the past six months. We’ve helped a couple times with painting scenery & practices were held every night at our church building, so we had been able to see bits & pieces of it. But this week was showtime!! They rented out an auditorium at a school, because they didn’t want to turn people off by having it in an LDS church. It was not only their Christmas gift to the community, but their Christmas gift to the Lord. The missionaries had the pleasure & privilege of being the ushers for the shows & we got to go both opening & closing night. The musical itself was great. However, my favorite part was how it affected the cast members. It was all they could talk about. Chatter in the church hallways often consisted of “I’ve got 3 non-member families coming to see Savior of the world!” The attitude of Christmas for these cast members was never lost in commercialism or how good their lights looked. because they were constantly immersed in portraying a people that were waiting for the birth of Christ or had just walked, talked, & worshipped with Him, their minds were focused on what the season is all about. It shows through their countenances that they are truly worshipping Christ during this season.
We have a town called Newberry that we can only work in once a week because it’s a ten mile bike ride on the freeway without sidewalks to get there. (Although we did bike it once this week on the coldest day! We felt like champions) & with Savior of the world going on, none of our members have been available to give us rides or go out with us, so I’ve kind of just felt like we’ve been running in a hamster wheel! But if I were to leave for whatever reason in two weeks, I think I would finally be able to confidently say that I’m leaving the area better than I’ve found it. I’m sad it took so much time to get all the areas organized & fixed from the mess it was when I got here, but whatever. It is what it is.
We taught this woman named Sherry this week & it went really well! She met some elders about a year ago, but they never really taught her anything, so she has been in our area book for a long time. We met her about two weeks ago. When we knocked on her door, it was late, raining, her house smelled strongly of cigarettes, & there was a loud movie blaring in the background. We set an appointment for the following week. Well, she lives Newberry & some crazy things happened, & we weren’t able to make it to her house. We only go to Newberry once a week (when we have the car), so we weren’t able to knock on her door again for two weeks. When we did, she wasn’t home, so we left a note. The next day, she called us! She said she waited all day for us the day we didn’t stop by & asked us if we could come over & bring a Book of Mormon soon! We decided that we needed to see her soon, so that’s when we biked to Newberry the next day. When we went into her trailer it was 100% different than the first time we were there! It was cleaned, vacuumed, smelled really good, & Sherry was happy to see us. We read 3 Nephi 11 with her & went over the restoration again. She’s excited to pray about whether or not to be baptized & to continue reading the Book of Mormon. She said she wants to change her life & come closer to God. We assured her that what we want to teach her will help her do that. We are excited to continue working with her.
On Saturday we got to work at a food distribution for a food pantry called “Farm Share”. I used to work with them all the time in JAX because that’s where their warehouse was. So, it was fun to get back into my food sorting groove again. You may not believe me when I tell you this, but that morning it was FREEZING. especially when we don’t have Utah winter gear, just Florida winter light coats. Anyway, there were people standing in line to receive food from six o clock that morning & we didn’t distribute until ten. We are so blessed, people. Don’t you ever forget it. The line was hundreds of people long. & it was freezing. & I realized I needed to stop complaining about how cold it was & start wishing more people coming through the line a merry Christmas. How grateful I am for this time of year & to have two opportunities to be a missionary for it.
On Sunday, the ward had their Christmas program. The highlights are:
A clarinet duet performed by two youth, accompanied by the ward choir,
accompanied by a piano professor.
A flute duet by two younger youths.
A cutest song from the primary babes.
A duet sung by two (married to each other) ex BYU Young Ambassadors
with an ASL interpreter. They’ve still got “it”, if ya know what I
A storytelling by a professional storyteller.
A violin & piano mother/son duet
& I got to sit next to a service dog & my new best friend Martha. Wins all around.
I love Christmas. I love the pretty lights. I love the nativities. I love the food, the cookies, the trees. I love Jesus Christ. I love my father in heaven for sending Him to us so we could learn how to live with them again someday. I love my sister for sending me sour gummy octopi because that’s like 8 worms on every octopus. I love my dad for sending us gingerbread houses to put together to make our home feel a little more festive. I love my nana for sending me Christmas music to get in the Christmas spirit. I love my mom for emailing me at least twice a week to keep me updated so I can feel like I’m still a part of everyone’s life. I’m lucky because I’m not the type to get homesick, but I sure am excited to see y’alls cute faces in 5 days & share testimonies & love.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Sorry that you’re not a missionary right now. You’re really missing out.