HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Wow, 2013 was an amazing year, wasn't it? By far the most rewarding of my life. By FAR. And 2014 is going to be even better. I'm starting out this new year with a renewed sense of dedication and commitment to the Lord. And miracles are going to happen, I can feel it!
So how was everyone's Christmas? Mine was AMAZING. Seriously; the ward members were SO good to us. We had a Christmas dinner at the home of a member family from New Zealand, and oh my goodness, it was the most amazing food I've ever seen. Seriously, it rivaled the food on the Holland America Cruise line. It was THAT good. (: Honey baked ham, pork, chicken, oysters, muscles, crab, lobster, and the most delicious variety of salads and appetizers....it was heaven. We were so spoiled! And on TOP of all that, the family even gave us Christmas presents!! It was SOOO nice! They are so good to us. We are teaching their son-in-law, who is getting baptized on the 11th of January, and so they have been taking extra good care of us to show their gratitude. They are amazing. One of my favorite parts of a mission are the relationships you create with the members of the ward you serve in.
Everyone took such good care of us. We got so many presents and boxes of chocolate from the members and other missionaries! It was so unexpected, and that was the best part. We were just so grateful, because they didn't have to do it, but they did out of the kindness of their hearts and love for us. That is how gift-giving should be. Presents are not nearly as fun if you feel you are entitled to them.
So we are teaching Bro. Hodges, who is the son-in-law of the family I mentioned. He is married to a member, and they have 5 young children. It has been so neat to teach him and to watch his knowledge and faith grow. It is such a blessing to be able to teach him, because this is the crucial first step in their family becoming eternal. It is so cool to be a part of that. Honestly, that's the best part of a mission, when you can see the way that the Lord is using you to fulfill His Work. We don't always get to see the fruits of our efforts, but when we do it's incredible.
Which reminds me. I know I mentioned last week that the family Sister Littleford and I found in Kentucky and got so close to is getting baptized. They are getting baptized this Saturday!! I am SO happy because I love them so much. I still remember the night we found them. Sister Littleford and I were driving down a street at about 8:00 o'clock at night, and drove past a man who was taking some stuff into his house. We got to the end of the street. We would have kept going; it had been a particularly trying day. But something made us stop, turn around and go back. It wasn't a voice or anything like that, just something so small that told us we needed to. A feeling. So we did, and went and talked to that man we had passed. It was Tony, and we started teaching him and his family. And now they are getting baptized! I am SO happy! What an incredible blessing. That family will always have a special place in my heart.
Well, I hope you guys are doing well! It was AWESOME to get to Skype you all on Christmas. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and begin this new year with a renewed commitment to follow the Savior, as I have done. I promise that as you make that commitment to Him - and follow through on it - that you will be blessed beyond measure, and that this year will hold much more happiness than the last.
I love you!
P.S. thanks for the package!! I LOVED it! So I've been thinking a little bit on the question you guys asked me over Skype, about what I want you to send me. Here's some ideas:
-white strips (yes, I LOVE them)
-pictures of the family
-wallet sized pictures of the family, and of the religious drawings I did.
-pistachios - honestly, genius. that made my whole week. I don't know how they got through customs but by all means, send them again!
-girly things like makeup and lotion and nail polish
- church stuff. I know I said that over Skype and wasn't very clear. I don't mean books, as much as I would love to read them, I need to stick to the approved mission library. Sister Payze's sister sent her some random church stuff, like little pocket sized paintings of the saviour by greg olsen. A temple recommend cover. A framed photo of the temple. I love that kind of stuff. Honestly, just walk into Deseret book and I'm sure I'd love pretty much everything in there.