Tuesday: Christmas Eve. I'll be honest with you... I was really scared for today. This was my first Christmas away from home and I really didn't know how I was going to feel... We decided that to defeat our homesickness we would work our butts off! So on Christmas Eve we walked around for about 4 hours (in 6 degree weather. It was awesome!) and wished all the ward members a merry Christmas! What a blessing it was to be able to do that! I was not homesick at all because the gratitude from these members made it worth being here. We were also able to go to the assisted living home and play bingo with them. Haha they crack me up! I don't know what I will do when I am transferred and can't play bingo with these sweet people anymore.... ahhhh! I don't want to talk about it. Anyways, after bingo we headed to the Saxtons house for dinner. Sister Saxton is the relief society president so they decided to invite us and the four Elders serving in the ward. They took us all out to Ohanas for their Christmas eve tradition. Basically it is Iowas version of Tepanyaki. Are you kidding me??? I was in heaven!!! Haha I love me some meat. Also, I tried shrimp for the first time. Haha it was a big deal okay! :) After dinner, we all went back to the Saxtons and watched them open their presents. They have a tradition that they actually open all their presents on Christmas eve so that was fun to be a part of. Fun fact: Sister Saxton's maiden name is Jensen. Haha. Her parents live in Provo actually. Right by Timpview High School. I thought that was pretty cool!
Wednesday: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Holy moly. How is it already Christmas. I am shocked. Time is flying! Our dear President Jensen allowed all the missionaries to sleep in till 8 and it was awesome! Haha sad thing though is that my body has adjusted to waking up at 6:30 so that is what I did. But, it was nice to stay in my bed till 8. Tender mercy. :) We eventually went upstairs and opened presents with the Prices and ate some breakfast and then chilled. It was a great morning! Thank you so so much to everyone who sent me something! Every letter and package meant so much and it really made me feel so loved. THANK YOU! That afternoon to night, the Saxtons invited us over again and it was just a blast! We played games and ate food. And then ate some more. Haha we just laughed. I also got to skype my family there. I am so blessed to be in a place where I am able to do that! Seeing all of my family's beautiful faces made me so happy and really helped me remember why I am here. I love each of them so much. I am truly blessed. :)
Thursday: What a day. District meeting today changed my life. A little back story here... Karissa the little girl we have been teaching was supposed to be baptized this year, but she left for her dads last week for the rest of the year. He lives in Milo so we were not able to teach her at all. So we pretty much just accepted that she would be a 2014 baptism. Anyways, Elder Maughn (one of the Zone Leaders and also going home on Friday) is pretty much is the greatest. At district meeting, he asked us straight up what was happening with Karissa. We told him the situation and he said... "And? You need to go and get her. Sure, you can baptize her next year, but it is the Lord's will for her to be baptized this year." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! He basically just slapped us around and called us to repentance. Instead of being stupid and just shrugging it off, we decided to listen. People.... KARISSA IS GETTING BAPTIZED TOMORROW. I am seriously sitting in the library right now just bawling. This sweet daughter of God is getting baptized on December 31st, 2013. Miracles. It doesn't stop there though... the miracles keep on comin. Karissa has only been to church once and in the IDMM, an investigator has to come to church twice to be able to be baptized. Now remember, Karissa is at her dads house in Milo which is about 2 hours away. We prayed...and prayed... and prayed for inspiration on who to ask to go and get her. We felt prompted to ask sweet Sister Scott. We called her and told her the situation and she didn't even hesitate. She immediately said, "Of course I will go and get her." Sister barker and I literally sat there and cried. This sweet Sister was willing to drive 2 hours to get her and then do it again after church. We could not believe it... No joke 20 minutes later Karissa calls. "Hey Sisters. I asked my dad to bring me home early so I could come to church tomorrow. I will be to Winterset in about 10 minutes." MIRACLE. Again, we just sat there and cried. Watching sweet little Karissa walk into the Chapel yesterday was one of the greatest feelings ever. For the last 4 days, The Lord has carried us through planning a baptism and through arranging everything. We have seen miracle after miracle after miracle. This has pretty much been a life changing last couple of days. My faith has grown in ways I cannot even describe. Words cannot express my love for my Savior. He has truly given me so much. The last 5 months of being his representative has been the best 5 months of my life. I have grown in ways I never thought imaginable. I am beginning to truly understand Him and our relationship. I know without a shadow of a doubt that He lives! I have felt his warm embrace truly engulf me this week. He is my Savior and my Redeemer. He is my light. He is my friend. He truly has become my everything. I feel incredibly blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is His church on the earth today. I am His
missionary. What a blessing. As I look towards this new year, I have so much love and hope in my heart. I get to be his representative every moment of 2014. Can you imagine anything greater?? This new year will be full of heartache, love, sacrifice, miracles, and lots of crying. I am so ready though because I am certain with all of my heart that my Savior will be right beside me every step of the way. I absolutely love this video. It really has such a great message that will truly help us all in preparing for this new year:
I am grateful for each and every one of you. The lights that you have been in my life is something that I will never be able to repay. You each have taught me something that has helped me get to where I am now. I want to take a second and give a shout out to one of my greatest examples. My brother Taylor will be entering the MTC this week to become an Elder. He has taught me many things throughout my life and he has always been someone I looked up too. Even though we fought a lot and didn't seem to like each other for lots of years, he is truly one of my greatest friends. He is my brother and my example. And this week, he will become my fellow missionary. Taylor Michael, I love you. With all of my heart. You have been called by a prophet of God and you have the opportunity to serve your Lord and King. Serve him with all of your heart, mind, and strength. This will bless you for eternity. I have truly been blessed. I am a missionary in the Iowa Des Moines Mission. I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, and I am a humbled servant of my Savior Jesus Christ. I hope this new year brings many great and wonderful opportunities for each of you. "Look not behind thee." I love you all! God bless!
"Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."
|Happy Christmas morning! :) The Prices are so sweet and gave us our OWN trees!|
|Exchanges with the Hermanas! L to R: Hermana Stroud, Sister Deleu (a|
temple square missionary. She is from France so we had a ton of fun
talking in French all night!), Hermana Phelps! Seriously some of the
greatest Sisters ever!
|Aftermath of constant "bun hair"! )|
|Christmas night with the Saxtons! Some of the greatest people I have ever met!|
|Christmas morning breakfast with "the fam." :)|
|Jessica Armstrong... This is the Sister we helped move. I seriously|
love her with all my heart! I will miss her big time!
|Merle. Basically my best bud. She is always the one most excited for|
bingo. Haha I love her. (and the tree we got to decorate!)