Letter received November 19th, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”:
What an amazing week of miraculous events and experiences. Every night when i go to bed, i think about the amazing "coincidences" that happened that day, and find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for our Savior. I am so blessed, and am so thankful to be serving Him.
A few things:
-Thank you family for the package! i love the scarf, and i had JUST been telling Sister Barton about how to make "turkey cookies" haha. you are inspired! i'm excited to make them :)
- I got kimi Rasmussen's wedding invitation. so gorgeous. tell her congrats for me!
- thank you for the prayers in my behalf to stay warm! haha. i can't tell you the amount of times that i am literally freezing outside, but right as we start talking to someone the cold goes away. Prayer works, and Heavenly Father protects His missionaries!
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELI!! ah i miss that boy, and i love him so much!! give him lots of loves and kisses from me!!!
- if you want to come to the Winter Quarters Visitor's Center, NOW is the time! haha it is DECKED out with Gingerbread houses, wreaths, bows, presents.. the whole bit. it is beautiful, and i loved smelling gingerbread every day!
so i feel like it should be Christmas this week! it hasnt snowed yet, but i have made a gingerbread house, listened to Christmas music, and decorated the Trail Center for Christmas! i keep forgetting that Thanksgiving hasnt even happened yet! yesterday we jumped rope with christmas lights since the trail center was so slow... haha. i love this time of year.
But since everything here has turned "Christmas", it has gotten me into the spirit of Christmas, and has led me to reflect on the life of our Savior. I have also been thinking and loving learning about the pioneers, more than ever. I love the pioneers, and i can't get over their sacrifices for the gospel. it blows my mind. The library we have at the Trail Center is the best thing since Harry Potter, and i can't get enough of the stories. if i had more time to e-mail i would type out all of my favorites... i'll have to send them. we can learn so much from their example and their faith.
I had the sweetest experience this week. we got a referral from the Bishop to visit a family. they are not members of the church, and we have been visiting their Aunt who is a less active for some time. the couple is Michaela and John, and they have the cutest kids, Josie and Michael. We have seen josie and michael several times at their aunt's house (desiree), and whenever we see them we have been teaching them primary songs.
well, this sunday was the primary program, and josie and michael came to church! the primary was so sweet to let them participate in it, and i will NEVER forget seeing those adorable kids up there singing I am a child of God, and i love to see the temple. it was the most spiritual experience.. the testimonies of young kids is the most powerful thing ever.
one of the greatest miracles of this week was with Terri, a less active member we have been working with. Her husband Tim is not a member, and we have been praying really hard to find a way that we can teach him. Terri has made it VERY clear not to bring up religion with him, but we had to! ha. so we prayed and knew we needed to just ask him why he wasnt a member, and ask him to take the lessons.
so we went over there, and man alive. it was the craziest lesson ever. at one point i wanted to cry because of the craziness. Their little son Daniel kept running around, screaming in our faces, hitting us, the TV was blasting, the dog was getting sick, and Terri was sewing her pants. it was insane haha. i was literally pouring out my heart to be able to say ANYTHING that would bring the spirit into that house. Well, we started talking about parenting, which was a perfect intro into God being our father. the spirit instantly came in, and Tim started listening. when the time was right, we were able to ask him what his thoughts were, and he said " you know, you are the first missionaries that ever had the courage to ask me what i think. " and then he opened up about his past experiences, and how they have effected his belief in God. AH it was miraculous! we invited him to learn more, and he agreed! it was amazing... and was a reminder that no matter how hard Satan is working, God ALWAYS wins. what a miracle.
Terri came to church on sunday, and she is now wanting to pay her tithing! so cool!
Karla is getting her patriarchal blessing this sunday, and we will be attending it. such a miracle.. she has made so much progress it is insane. Pray for her that it is a good experience.
we also found a part member couple, Nan and Stan. pray for them. they are so prepared, and we had an amazing lesson with them. i wish i had more time to go into detail, but we have been praying and fasting for them. i know that the Lord led us to them, right when they were deciding which church they were going to attend. God is so aware of us.
I am so thankful to be a missionary. i am so grateful to have the gospel. i know that the greatest way to show our gratitude is to share the gospel, which is the greatest blessing ever.
love you all!
Letter received today, November 26th, “Oh the weather outside is frightful”
yep, it hit the teens this week. lots of snow. and the Nebraska wind is living up to what i had heard. haha. it is so fun.
where to begin. this was the most incredible week. ever. seriously.
sister barton and i played volleyball with some women from the stake this morning. first time playing sports in 9 months... haha. let's just say, i am better at other things. ha. but it was still so much fun.
First things first... Thanksgiving Plans:
- such a fun miracle happened this week. So back when i was serving in Glenwood, i was eating dinner one night at the Saufley's and they had invited over some of their non member friends. The woman's name was Laura, and she and i hit it off really well. We taught the Restoration, and wanted to set up a time that we could come and see them again. well, come to find out they do not live in Glenwood, but they live in La Vista. funny. so i told Laura that when i got back to the trail center i would call her. Well, as you all know, i got transferred to Ralston La Vista, and i instantly thought of Laura. Because things have been so crazy here, i hadn't had a chance to talk with Laura. Well, this last Sunday i was serving at the trail center when i received a call from Brother Saufley (which was so much fun to catch up with him), who then handed the phone to Laura! we chatted for a good 10 minutes, and she invited us over for Thanksgiving! so. i am having thanksgiving with Laura and her husband at 1 on Thursday, which will be AWESOME, and then at 5 i am having dinner at a part member family (LaToya), and then at 7 we are going down to the Trail Center to watch a movie and eat some more. haha. i cannot wait.
Let's talk about Sunday, because it was awesome.
i told you last week about our investigators Michaela and John, and their kids Josie and Michael. We had an amazing lesson with them last week, and invited them to come to church with us on Sunday. They said they would "try" to make it. ugh i hate that. Sister Barton and i were trying not to lose faith, so we were promising them blessing after blessing if they would come. we prayed all week that they would come to church. Well, come sunday, John, Michael, John, Josie, and their less active aunt Desiree (who we are working with as well) ALL came to church! ah AND they stayed for all three hours. AND they LOVED IT. it was such an incredible miracle, and i got emotional just sitting in sacrament watching them, as a FAMILY, sing the hymns, take the sacrament, and feel the spirit. that is what the gospel is all about... bringing families closer together by helping them come closer to Christ. it was amazing. Michaela and John both commented in gospel principles and in Relief Society Michaela was totally enveloped in the ward's love. it was so cool. such a wonderful moment. we are seeing them tonight! Pray hard!
Sunday was also an incredible day at church because once again we had a ton of less active members (who are almost all now considered active!) back at church. Terri was there, and she was able to set up a meeting with the bishop which is awesome. When we saw her this week before church, we taught her how to pay tithing, and she also told us that she has started reading the Book of Mormon every day because she wants to make it to the temple. amazing. the gospel changes our lives, and even her home has changed...
side note: hahaha. when we visited terri this week, i was not feeling too hot (we got flu shots and it made me feel funky for a day or two). terri's son daniel was crawling all over me, burping in my face, and picking his nose and rubbing it on me. i wanted to cry haha i was praying so hard for patience. thankfully i was too weak to react. the Lord answers our prayers hahaha.
After church on sunday we went to the trail center for a few hours, and then we got to go to Karla's patriarchal blessing! ahhh that was so amazing! i felt so honored to sit in on her blessing, and my testimony grew SO much. it was amazing to hear the words come out of the patriarch's mouth, and realize that he truly was speaking for God. it was incredible and the spirit was palpable. i loved it.
man. i love that guy so much. we had an amazing lesson with him this week at the Vacanti's home, a member family in our ward. it made ALL the difference to get him into a member's home, where the spirit was so strong. we talked about the life of Christ and about repentance and love. it was so neat to hear Walt say how he wants to be more like Christ. He also told us that he has been looking over the baptismal questions every day and feels like he is really close... ha finally. at the lesson at the vacanti's we also talked about fasting this sunday for an answer, and for the belief the Jesus Christ is the son of God. Walt agreed to do so, and he said that he usually still drinks water when he fasts but he isnt going to this time. he ALSO said that he isnt going to smoke that whole 24 hours on sunday while he is fasting, which is HUGE for him so i was shocked and so happy he wants to do that. i will be praying my guts out for that man. he needs to be baptized, and he will be.
I can't remember if i told you about a less active couple we found, the Vallen's. They are so awesome. well, we had a lesson with them this week that was amazing. the spirit was so strong, and they really felt a desire to change. they are going to start praying together as a couple this week, since they both havent prayed in years. i love them so much already. it is amazing the love that God blesses us with so we can do this work... i am so grateful for it.
I can't believe the miracles that are happening right now here in Ralston. it is so humbling, and so rewarding. people that we have been praying about for weeks now, we have "randomly" bumped into them. there are NO coincidences, and the Lord's hand is in this work. i KNOW that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ. i know that we have a prophet today who leads and guides it, the exact same way the Jesus Christ set up when He was on the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and by reading it EVERY day we can find so much peace. i love my Savior. i am so thankful for my family. i love this work. it is so much fun.
happy thanksgiving! remember your blessings.. we have so many.