Are you all excited for the New Year??! I know I am! :) This new year is going to be full of good and exciting experiences! I just know it!
I started this 6-week training called My Plan and it's really made me think of the goals that I want to have when I go home. The whole purpose of My Plan is to help missionaries keep progressing in the gospel after they go home so it's been interesting to think about.
I hope you all had a very happy Christmas full of love! We had our Christmas activity on the 23rd and it was so much fun and very spiritual! First we went with our own Zones to go caroling at different assisted living places. We didn't exactly know at first that it was supposed to be by zone though so Hermana Yost and Hermana Huhem ended up joing us too. :)
It was really nice to sing a few songs for the people and the Marshallese missionaries even sang silent night with a ukulele in their language and it was really pretty.
There was one woman there that was really funny! Her name is C and she was very cute and spunky! She was dancing to the songs and she even walked right up to us and sang with us. After every song she was like, "Okay, you're done." Haha! She was also making the moves on a few of the elders. Haha! While singing she kept talking to one of the zone leaders and then while some sisters where singing in a quartet she gestured at one of the sisters and asked, "What do you think of her?" Haha! All of us started laughing! It was hilarious! Then when we were leaving C was trying to hold another Elders' hand. After that she saw me and came up to me and asked me if I wanted her to get me a man. I responded, "No, that's okay, I'm fine." haha! She definitley made all of us missionaries laugh! All of the people were so sweet and thanked us for coming to sing to them.
After caroling we all met at the Kent Stake Center for the rest of the activity. Our group was one of the first to make it back and when we got there Sister E was at a table ready to serve ice cream sundaes with brownies! :) Let's just say Hermana L and I didn't waste any time getting our sundaes. We were the first to get them and as we sat down and ate them we realized that no one else was eating yet. They were all talking or checking for packages. Hermana L and I were so confused. We were like "There is a free ice cream bar what are you people doing?!" After eating, Hermana L made the comment that we were probably embarrassingly enthusiastic for the brownies. Haha!
I also got to meet the two new Hermanas. They are sweet! I also got to see a lot of other missionaries that I know like Sister B, Sister L, and Sister C so that was nice! I also got to see Elder B. He's the one who thinks we could be cousins. I told him that this is my last transfer so I could just try to find out when I'm home.
After the dessert we all made our way to the chapel where we got to listen to a few special musical numbers that really brought the Spirit. We also watched a video with some pictures of baptisms that the mission has had this past year. It was so beautiful! Seeing one of your brothers or sisters dressed in white for their baptism really is one of the most beautiful things in the world! I love it! I know that I only have a few more weeks left to serve as a full-time missionary but even after the mission I am going to continue to help my brothers and sisters make the covenant of baptism! :) And in these last few weeks Hermana L are going work so hard to help the Hernandez family be baptized and to find prepared people!
On Christmas Eve we were able to visit a member who hasn't gone to church in a while. I had never met him before but he and his family were so nice! He kept offering us food and even gave us some tamales to take home. We got to know him a little bit and then we read some verses from Luke 2 and shared the Christmas video with them. We talked about the Savior and also a little bit about the plan of salvation because he mentioned that he was sad because around this time 2 years ago his mom passed away. I was able to share my testimony with him that I knew that he would see his mom again and that there was more to come after this life. You could feel the Spirit fill the room! It was so great! I hope that we get to continue working with this family in order to help him return to church and to help his wife be baptized. Sometimes we get so busy with other things that we need to do that we don't always recognize the Spirit in our lives. Or sometimes we don't appreciate it. I know though, that if we try a little harder to pay attention we will recognize the promptings of the Spirit and see God's hand in our lives guiding our every decision. We will also strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father as we give thanks for the times when we do feel the Spirit.
On that same night we were allowed 2 hours for dinner at whatever time we wanted but Hermana Lewis and I didn't have anywhere to go. So we had a plan to go to Safeway to buy a cake and to spend our dinner time in our own apartment from 7-9.
We didn't really think it through before but we found out that it is extremely hard to find a store open on Christmas Eve! We tried a few places and found that they were all closed so finally we went to Walmart. When we got there we only had 20 minutes before the store was going to close so we grabbed our goodies and headed for the checkout lines which were of course over flowing. Then we got a call from Hermana Z and she asked us when we were going to go to Hermano L house for dinner and to get our presents. Hermana L and I were so surprised! We had no idea that they were planning for us to go over. So then we headed over there and Hermano L, Hermana P, Hermana Z, Hermano B, and the Elders were all there. They were waiting on the Hernandez family (the same family that Hermana L and I are teaching!) to get there with the turkey. Hermana Z was so nice! She served us some pasta because she knew we hadn't eaten yet. The Hernandez family was running a little late so basically when they got there we had to leave but it was really nice to be able to spend a few minutes with the members on Christmas Eve. Our presents were scarfs from Hermano L and they are super cute! :)
The next day on Christmas Hermana L surprised me with a gift! We had been at the drugstore one day and we were buying chocolate (by the way I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to chocolate) when I saw this cute elephant figurine. Well I don't know how Hermana L did it so sneakily but she ended up getting it for me. It was so sweet of her! :) I also got from my family a really pretty Texas necklace and a t-shirt with the mission name on it! So I had a great Christmas! Thanks mom and dad! :)
Christmas morning we had a brunch at the S's home. The B's, the C's, the L's, and Hermana Z were all there. Hermana S is like Wonder Woman. I literally don't know how she pulls off the projects that she does. Thanksgiving dinner was awesome and then for this Christmas brunch there was so much food! There was biscuits and gravy, regular and gluten free pancakes, crepes, waffles, eggs, sausage, bacon, peppers and onions, toppings for everything and fruit. It was all so delicious and then we got to do the best part which was Skype with our families! It was so great to be able to see and talk with my family! I miss and love them so much! It was the best! It was also kind of funny just because I'll be seeing you all in person real soon!
On Christmas night Hermana L and I decided to go to the assisted living home to visit some of the people there. It made me so happy to be able to visit some of them and brighten their day! It was also a little sad because a few of them were saying that they just wanted to die. A man named P just kept asking me if I could take him somewhere else and let him loose. I helped him get out into the hallway where there was light but we didn't get very far so then we took him back to his bed, tucked him in, and sang a Christmas song for him. Another man was very nice and his name was K. We talked to him about his dog Penny and how he likes cops and robbers. There was another lady that was so sweet! She talked to us as if we were her own grandchildren and told us how much she loved us. She was so thankful for our visit and when we left she told us to remember to be careful and to look both ways when crossing the street, :) The last man we visited was named Peter and he was also very appreciative of our visit. He was recovering from a stroke and hoping to return to his home soon. Even though it was a small thing it made me so happy that we could do a kind act of service for these people! :)
Another cool experience we had happened just last night! So when I first got to Auburn I remember visiting a young man named J and his family. After that one lesson we never went back but I had thought of him from time to time. I have tried finding him since then but I couldn't find anything in the area book for him. I've even gone back to those apartments and knocked doors that I thought would be his apartment but never found him. That was a long time ago. So then he came to my mind again recently so we decided that we would go to those apartments and knock doors again. Well when the time came to go to those apartments I couldn't remember exactly where they were so we decided to go visit someone that the Elders referred to us instead. The referral lived on the second floor so after getting to the top I looked across the street and it was the apartments where I knew Jose lived! And guess what it gets even cooler! I couldn't remember his apartment number but I knew that in one of the buildings it was the apartment on the top right. So after trying the referral we walked exactly across the street to try the top right apartment of that first building. And guessed what happened? Jose answered!! It was such a miracle! God totally led us there! J told us that missionaries had come in the past and that they were Catholic but that he still listened to anyone who talked about religion. He couldn't have a lesson then but set up an appointment with us for later. I don't know what is going to happen with J but I know that God helped us find him that night and that there is a reason for it! If nothing else it helped me learn that God is always aware of us and our righteous desires. He will always help us get to where we need to go as long as we trust in Him! :)
Love you all!