Hello and Happy Monday friends and family! I hope and trust you all had a happy and blessed Christmas on Friday and I anticipate the celebration continuing til January 6th because that is when Little Christmas ends! *crickets chirping because no one really celebrates Little Christmas* Sorry, Little Christmas was just a fun fact Sister Daughety and I learned about from her Grandma on Friday BECAUSE WE GOT TO SKYPE HOME! AND SKYPING WAS JUST ONE OF THE MANY EXCITING THINGS THAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK SO LET'S GET STARTED:
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: P-Day and Proselyting days. Not many exciting things happened besides having dinner with our investigator Lynn and her husband to wrap up her lessons before her baptism on Saturday (Yes, the long awaited baptismal investigator is named Lynn)! She was so sweet and kicked off the gift giving part of Christmas early by getting us journals as pre-baptism/Christmas gifts. She is so sweet and was so excited for her baptism Saturday! Besides that, a lot of appointments fell through because people were spontaneously having family come and visit them and other ridiculous reasons like that because it's the holidays or something ridiculous like that. But we forgive, it is honestly kind of nice as a missionary to see the city as a ghost town because that means people are spending time with their families and (hopefully) celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
Thursday as we know was Christmas Eve which was really neat. We started off the day with District Meeting and Sister Daughety and I were asked to share some training on the Atonement and what it meant to us personally. The entire meeting was focused on the gift of the Savior and it was really powerful to take learn that and then go out into the world to share that knowledge with everyone. We also had the really cool opportunity to see a convert of Sister Daughety's she taught in Bedford but it was unfortunate we had to meet her at the hospital because a family member was injured. Sister Daughety was so excited to see her though and it was really awesome to see them both light up in the Christmas-decorated hallway. We then ended the evening with the elders and other member families at the Ward Mission Leader's for dinner and caroling. Really the caroling was unanticipated on our side as Sister Daughety and I meant to sing "Away in a Manger" while everyone else sang their little songs and chatted but then everyone felt prompted to listen to us. So that was neat. And awkward. But overall it was really fun to just take time to sing hymns of praise to the Christ child and get excited for the next morning.
Speaking of which Friday morning it was really hard to not pop out of bed and just tear open presents. Sister Daughety and I abstained as long as possible, baking cinnamon rolls and exercising until 7 am where we couldn't resist any longer and took our personal get ready time, sat down and dived into our gifts under the felt Christmas tree. To anyone sent me anything for Christmas (card, gift, email, prayer): Thank you so much for what you sent me. I will do my best to send you personal notes but this P-Day is going by really fast so it may take a lot of time before it gets to you, but know I appreciate your love!!
We did our best to plan for the upcoming day and week and then had an awesome lunch with a member family (the same Turducken family!) with ham and mashed potatoes and squash and gravy and just all the good holiday food. Santa even dropped off some gifts for us there and we got more handy missionary things. Santa got Sister Daughety 20+ pads of post-its that she was really excited about. One of the daughters of the family painted me a replica of Tangled's Rapunzel's painting of herself looking at the floating lights in her tower which I was really excited and touched to have.
Two o'clock marked the hour that we got to talk to our families via Skype. It was really neat to see everyone doing well (even my Eli baby) and share with them my love for my mission. I think the best question that was asked me was "Do you think you are leaving Brewer?" as transfers were coming up Saturday evening. I said no because I could still feel I was receiving inspiration for the area, unlike while I was serving in Manchester when I could no longer tell what the area needed. It is really cool to reflect on how much I have grown spiritually just in the past 5+ months and see the difference it makes in not only my life but in the lives of those I interact with, especially family.
The weekend got even better as we got to have Lynn's baptism Saturday! Not only did many members attend but we were also able to have two investigators come and witness the baptism. Lynn was so excited all the time before and I was so glad to be able to speak on baptism before the ordinance was performed. I focused on how on this Christmas season we often focus on gifts from our Heavenly Father such as the birth of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His Gospel and Priesthood power upon the earth. And when Lynn was baptized she came out of the water she was still so excited and cheered "I'm baptized! I'm baptized!" Lynn is really my hero and is truly the greatest example of faith in my life. I would like to say it was all by my efforts that this baptism happened but really it was partially her member friend, members in the ward, and her own desires that brought her to the waters of baptism. And Sunday was just as powerful as she received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of the church.
Saturday evening, however, marked transfer call nights and I'm starting to think I will never have a normal transfer call night. We (luckily) did not lose the phone at all during the day but when the clock struck 9:30 Sister Daughety and I were on high alert for the phone to go off to hopefully tell us we were both staying in Brewer for the upcoming transfer or that we were unfortunately being separated. As the hour progressed and the news of other missionary's transfer calls came we became more anxious. Minute ticked by until Sister Daughety and I became slightly more hysterical, taking turns panicking over the phone and awaiting some sort of news. Finally the hour was 10:30, lights out, and still no call. We went to bed assuming that meant we were staying together, but anxiously expecting a last minute call or text of some information. Since then we have assumed we are staying together in Brewer. But if you are reading this letter and you have the opportunity to serve as an Assistant to the President, ALWAYS let the sisters know their plans asap, or they will be rather frustrated with you.
So overall this week was a fairly good, more awesome week! I know every week won't be like this but with the new year and new transfer I know the next 12 months of my mission will continue to be great! Love and miss you all and I hope we all have a blessed 2016!
"Ugly sweater elevator shenanigans"
The weather in Brewer today