Hello! It's Christmas!
Boy you talk about December flying by, this month has flown by. But life just keeps getting better and better!
I can honestly say that Elder Golden and I are best friends. Not to say I don't have other best friends, but holy cow. We get along SO well. He is the funniest missionary out here and is one of the funniest people I've ever met. My mission has been made so much easier because I have been blessed with stalwart examples of missionaries around me who truly love the people they serve and are just overall incredible people!
Elder Golden and I have also truly been blessed by the hospitality of the ward. They are such incredible people. They are very humble, but that which they, they give to the Lord. They've also showed so much love to Elder Golden and I! I think I may have mentioned in the past... But this ward has had a long streak of not so great missionaries, but it's been such a joy to bond with a discouraged ward and grow together. And now they're bringing all sorts of people to church, to ward functions, home-teaching numbers are increasing (slowly), and everyone is excited to feed us and work with us! A few Mom's in the ward especially have taken good care of us. During the Ward Christmas Party they gave us big stockings filled with goodies to thank us for everything, there's always plenty of gluten free things to eat, it's so great!
Cynthia and her daughters are doing great! I suppose I probably didn't mention because some people have asked about it, but both of her girls got baptized with her Thanksgiving Weekend. They've been working really hard to be good members of the church, they read scriptures together every night and have been relying on the Lord as they've been experiencing a lot of trials recently. I pray for them often because they're really struggling, but they find great comfort in reading scriptures to answer their questions and solve their problems.
We met a woman named April this last week and we set a baptism date with her for January 30! She was going to be baptized in Arizona, but her house burned down and she lost everything. So right now, she's living with her sister who owns a daycare. April has 2 kids that live with her (2 and 5, fun ages) and it's a very small and crowded house. They all sleep in one room, but since the evening is the only time for her to read she'll use her phone light to read the Book of Mormon so she doesn't wake anyone. And that was before we met her! So she's super solid, and came to church and the ward party. Super excited.
I don't know if I have too much of a spiritual thought. I think you've all heard the same messages over the past few weeks about focusing Christmas on Christ, giving not getting and all that fun stuff. So I would feel like a broken record sharing something like that. So I just want to let you know that I love you all. So very much. I pondered this last week about what a blessing it has been to have such wonderful family and friends. I'm so grateful for your support, and your love. Any email I receive, even if it is just a quick note a few sentences long, means the world to me. I love you all so very much. So much. Please stay strong in the gospel. I say that because I love you all.
We were at Cynthia's and she was explaining to me some of the difficult things she's going through. I apologized that I couldn't do much except share with her family a few scriptures. She looked at me very intently and said "You have given us the greatest gift. You have brought us the knowledge of Christ. You have brought the Spirit of the Lord into this home. That's the greatest gift you could've given us."
And it's so true. The greatest gift that was given was the Lord's sacrifice for us. And, in turn, the greatest gift WE can give is bringing the healing power of the Atonement into the lives of those we love. God loves us so he gave us prophets, families and a Savior. When we love people, truly love people, the best way to show them is by sharing the words of prophets, bringing the knowledge of Eternal Families, and allowing them to access the POWER that comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love my Savior, and I want you all to know that. I am so very far from perfect and so undeserving of the many blessings he gives me. I am so grateful that he has never given up on me. And he never will. He will never give up on any of us. We are never to far in the dark to be saved. Ever. He is ALWAYS there.
I love you all
The Church is True