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Christmas Cheer

December 24, 2013
Merry Christmas dear ones!
So, in my book, Christmas might have actually been on December 11th.  We had an all-mission conference and it was the most JOYFUL experience I’ve had since the day Mercedes committed to be baptized.  We had trainings for the first three hours, then lunch–I got to sit by both my trainers for breakfast and lunch that day. The luckiest missionary ever = Sister Rackham.  And after lunch we had a musical program!  I sang The First Noel, Pachelbel’s Canon style with Sisters Bowden, Spivey, Low, and Raymer and Elder Griffen.  Sister Raymer had never seen the music before but jumped in to help cover the alto.  She’s a superstar.  Seeing all my mission friends together in one place all day pretty much made my whole Christmas.  ‘Twas the best present ever!  And since we live so far away from mission HQ, President wanted us to come down the night before and stay at the mission home.  That was fun.  Weird to not be in my area at night, but in Albany we travel now and then so I’m getting used to it.  Being in the mission home made me flash back to the first night here in Missouri and the last night I’ll have as a missionary. Time is so weird.
Anyway, other news of the week:  on Friday we had an ice storm so President put the mission on lock down and forbade us from driving anywhere.  So Sister Bowden and I called about a trillion people from our area book and we scheduled enough appointments to keep us booked through this Wednesday.  We were slightly stir-crazy by the end of the day so we went running first thing Saturday morning.
I feel like I only ever write about our Mexican investigators, but they are just one continual miracle so that’s why.  We were doing our companion study one morning when we got a phone call from Zenaida.  I couldn’t tell what she was saying.  (Spanish over the phone is hard for this gringa, ok?) It was something about her friend who had given her the Book of Mormon.  Then there was a man’s voice on the other line.  Brother Standring.  He had given her and some others Spanish Books of Mormon a few months ago and hadn’t really seen any of them since.  Zenaida had run into him at Walmart and then called us so we could talk to him.  Brother Standring doesn’t speak Spanish at all.  So he asks, “So are they interested in the gospel at all?”  And I had the joyful privilege of telling him that they are getting baptized in a few weeks.  We invited him to the baptism and he’s planning on coming.  So, you never know the effect a Book of Mormon can have.  Maybe all of you back home should pass out Books of Mormon in languages you don’t speak see what happens. 😉  Just kidding.  Except not really.
I almost started this paragraph, “Elders and sisters,” but then I thought about that again… Friends and family and people I love SO much!  I have a testimony of this gospel.  This is Christ’s work. It’s His Church.  He cares about what we’re doing and He gives us the strength and the love and the energy to do it.  When you think to yourself, “Lord, I can deal with anything except that.”  And then that lands in your lap and you fall to knees and tell the Lord you have no idea how to handle that, He listens and He gives you the strength you need.  It’s true.  It’s real.  He loves us.  And we love Him!  And we get to celebrate His birth!  Hallelujah!  Merry Christmas, everyone!
Sister Rackham
First, self-explanatory.  S. Bowden and I have been giggling about this for weeks.
Second, posterity picture!  Those are my beloved trainers and my dear trainee. =)  You know them all by now.
Lastly, once upon a time S. Bowden and I were wondering how to get a Christmas tree and then we went to Independence for the conference and when we came home on Wednesday night, tada!  The Smiths,  wonderful “parents” in whose basement we dwell, had set up lights and the tree and stockings and given us a bowl of fruit and one of trail mix.  We felt quite loved.

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