Merry Christmas eve! Oh, today is the best day ever! There is no better time to be a missionary than during the Christmas season. As excited as I am to talk to you tomorrow, I am a little sad that it means that Christmas is over. I wish it was Christmas time every day! It's so much easier to talk to people and teach lessons. We ask people if we can share the story of Christ's birth with them and people are so much more willing to let us in. And then we always share a little more about the restoration and Joseph Smith and it leads to us teaching more lessons. The spirit of Christ and His birth is so beautiful and strong!
We had a really good week. Sometimes I get a little discouraged because even for how many lessons we teach and new investigators we find, people aren't coming to church-which is just so important! We do everything we can but still people have their own agency to choose and so even after all we can do, they decide not to act. I've been learning to look forward, with brightness of hope. Truly, it's all I can do. Just be patient and trust in the timing of the Lord. When we first meet so many people, we come away from the first lesson filled with the spirit, SO excited to see them progress and change their lives. We see so much potential and feel so much love. The trick is keeping that vision for our investigators, even when they start slipping and not keeping commitments. We have to see everyone the way the Lord sees them-their true and magnificent potential-and we have to love them the way the Lord loves them. He loves everyone SO much. The more I understand that, and feel that for others, the more I see how much the Lord loves me, and trusts me and sees my grand potential. Sister Tippetts was explaining to me that the further out she gets on her mission, and the more she learns, the more she sees how much more there is to learn. The more our testimonies grow and our knowledge of the scriptures increase, the more room we see for improvement!
Like in Ether 12:27 where it talks about how when we come closer to God, the more we recognize our weaknesses.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them theiraweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them."
This week I went to Othello for exchanges! I was so excited because I've just been itching to get to Othello since I first got my call. It was so great because one of my SOAR students, Keave, happened to be one of the members going out to teach with us for the night. It felt so funny because I knew it was only this past summer that I was living in a far off land of Provo, helping out with SOAR. It feels like worlds ago.
I also got to see the Boucks! It was precious. They were beyond thrilled to see me and I just felt so happy like they were an extra part of my family on my mission. It was a little confirmation to me that I am serving in my mission-Spokane Washington. It's my place to be and serve and love. I love it so much.
Today, we are doing a white elephant gift exchange with all the missionaries in Moses Lake (thanks to me of course! Sister Tippetts and I were trying to think of a fun way to spend our P-day Christmas eve and I thought of getting cheap dollar item things and doing a little exchange! We are super excited!). One thing I didn't expect from my mission was the friendships you make with all the missionaries serving around you. Especially for the elders in my district, we have so much fun together. I just always think of my little brothers going out to serve soon (and someday soon) and I love them so much. Moses Lake is probably the biggest area with the most missionaries (well on this side of the mission) and so it will be a great little fiesta. I can't wait to explain more when I talk to you tomorrow because there are so many details of missionary life that you never hear about. Being a missionary is the best thing ever.
I never thought I would feel this way, but I am so grateful I have two mission Christmases. I know that I have 812379 more wonderful Christmases with my family for the rest of my life but right now, right here in Moses Lake, I get to spread the joy of Christmas with those who really, really need it. I've never been so full of joy. We are visiting a single, less-active sister tomorrow who has no plans, no family, hardly ever any visitors, and we are going to bring her treats and the love of Christ. She was so surprised and touched when we showed up on her doorstep and asked her if we could come back on Christmas. Oh, I am just so excited to cheer her up! This is what Christmas is about. Like Elder Holland's message in the Ensign, "I can truly say that because of my mission, Christmas, like so many other aspects of the gospel, has meant more to me every year since that experience." I know I really am learning the importance of the message of Christ. So many people need the joy and peace of the gospel.
I know this message is true! I love the Book of Mormon so much. Everyday I read it, I find new things and learn more about my Savior. I'm having the best time of my life as a missionary!
Love you all!
Can't wait to talk to you!
|Em with the Grandparent Boucks!|