Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas this week!!!

 WHAT?! Christmas is this week?? CRAZY. Also, let me just paint a picture for you. 366 days from this moment I will be coming home. Yep. December 19 is my release date. Can you believe THAT? I will never have another December 20, or December 21, or December 22 in the mission field. That is truly crazy.
Can you believe we get to SKYPE?! I want to Skype. How is this: We will skype you at 4:30 our time and that is 3:30 your time I think. Does that sound good? We have church in the morning and then we are going caroling with our district and then we will call you guys! I am so excited to see you and talk to you, you have no idea!!!! We will figure it out I think all I need to skype you is your e-mail address or your phone number or something. If we get lost, I will just call you guys on a cell phone or the home phone. But if you could like... log in to your skype I will try and do it that way. Cause I really want to see you all! Ah! It doesn't even seem real. I am so excited. Make sure Wilsy is in attendance cause I want to see him. We'll probably be skyping from the crosby's house. Oh my gosh I love the crosby's.
It doesn't really seem like Christmas to me. I'm not doing anything normal that I usually do or seeing who I usually see. We listen to Christmas music and talk a LOT about Jesus Christ but.. there's no snow. It's okay though. This is my last Christmas as a missionary. Dad I liked how you said in your e-mail, even though I will not be with family, this is the only Christmas that the only family I have around will be my Savior. I think He is blessing me a lot to feel okay not being home. Cause I'm okay. We'll see what I have to say AFTER I talk to you guys, right??
This last week we had Christmas conference. It was really good! It was so fun to see all of the missionaries. The theme this year was "Joy in our Purpose" because those are two things that President really stresses. Is , he says, "Just, find joy in your labors. Will you do that?" and then he says "Be missionaries of purpose!" I love him! And I loved that theme because it really seriously was perfect for what President is doing and what we are a mission are doing. President also says "Terrrific!" all the time haha it's so funny. James and Dad did your mission presidents have any isms? Oh, man I love President and Sister Crawford. We watched the movie 17 miracles. It was pretty good. The acting could have been better. And there was this love montage in the middle with those two pioneers and they were holding a red blanket and that was weird haha I laughed so hard. I'm sure just a missionary now it's wonderful. Was there really a midget in the Martin/Willie company? Cause that seemed like a made up thing. But the movie was just incredible. The faith that is required to work miracles is so apparent. Because, for REAL, if we have enough faith anything can happen. Literally anything.
We had an interesting week, but a good week. The tender mercies of the Lord are all over my life. And this missionary work stuff is hard for me, but it's getting to be normal that it's hard. I wonder how many people are tired of me saying it's hard haha. I think it's some kind of karma for not liking it when people would tell me missions are hard. I am learning so much, OH so much. This week, something that I learned is that even if I stopped progressing right here and now (which I won't) I would be good enough for the Lord. For my Heavenly Father. Even if I never improve one little bit from this moment onward until I die. I am enough to the Lord. We are all enough for him, every person that I meet is enough to Him. Sister Cochran always said "He could not be more pleased with us." And I used to really seriously think, "Well, that would be true if I were doing everything right." But now, after this week, I have realized that even when we don't do everything right... or sometimes it's we don't do ANYthing right... we are still enough for and worthwhile to and loved by the Savior. And by our Heavenly Father. I have had a strong testimony of my relationship with the Savior for a long time, but I always wanted to have a relationship like that with Heavenly Father. I wanted to understand Him and what He was doing in my life more. And I am so blessed to have learned some of that. I have learned that He truly loves us. He could not be more pleased with what I am doing. And if all of us are doing good works and following his commandments, He could not be more pleased at that. We all know what we need to do. He loves us even when we don't do it. He just loves us. The message of this Christmas season is that Our Father just loves us. So much that He was willing to send a perfect Son to earth and watch His Son perform the Atonement for us and not intervene. Sometimes, I think, that is the most striking example of our Heavenly Father's love for us: when He doesn't intervene. When He allows us to struggle because He sees what it's going to do for us. It's not that He doesn't care that we're in pain, it's that He loves us too much to take it away.
Doyle (who I call "Doiley"... but not to his face) is getting baptized this Saturday morning at 10:00 am. He is not smoking, he is coming to church, he is wonderful. WONDERFUL!! I do not know what more of a gift I could receive this year than that. The biggest blessing I have had in the last 2 weeks is the opportunity to work with Doyle. He is doing so good. And he is wonderful. James, on the other hand, has moved to Lufkin apparently and will not be back. He won't return phone calls or texts and I just am I cannot tell you how sad. It's almost like a hollowness. Just pray for him. It's right before Christmas, he deserves to be happy.
Um.. where is Jerry Dearden going on his mission??? I don't think I even knew he had his call!! Well.. maybe Mom you told me. But I don't remember. Where is going? When does he leave?
Mom, you are just the best. I am loving the Christmas countdown and advent calendar. I got your package too and I'm taking the vitamins. I'm doing a lot better. I still think it would be wonderful if someone could wave a magic wand and I'd feel good all the time, but I think that's unrealistic. I just need to keep trucking even if I don't feel good. How are you doing? Are you excited for Christmas? I am so excited! To talk to yall will be perfect!!
Dad, thanks for your e-mail! Your work sounds pretty cool! I can't wait to come home and hear more about it and see how it actually works. It seems exciting! Like you have to be persuasive and creative. Things like that, that make you be creative, are the best. How did our stake natviity thing go? I hope it was great. What about the 2 baptisms? Did you get to go? How does this all even work in Utah?
James, I think I thanked you last week for your letter, but thanks again. It's pretty bomb. I read all the letters from you mom and dad (and if jony ever sent one I think I'd read that too) multiple times. They are such strengths to me. How did finals go? And your ward christmas party? Are you excited for Christmas? It's probably going to be so weird for me to be a missionary and you be home, huh? And next year Jonny!
Jonny how are YOU? I'm going to keep asking you until you write me. Just do it. Nike, baby. Dad says youre doing really good in basketball. And I know you're out of school so you can write to me. Mmkay pumpkin?
Wilsy, how are you? You are so cute.
Well, I love yall so much! If I could wish you anything for Christmas it would be, just like the song says, Let your hearts be light. Let your hearts be happy and light and full of the joy that we have as a result of who our Savior is to us. And joy just because of every good thing that we have. CANNOT believe we get to talk in 6 days! I'm so excited. So the plan is 4:30 here... maybe we should do 5... we'll go with 4:45 here? so 345 there. Perfecto. I will call the home phone or I will ring yall on the skype. LOVE YOU SO MUCH. HAVE A GOOD WEEK!
Here is my caroling to you :]
I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love even more than I usually do, And although I know it's a long road back I promise you
I'll be home for Christmas You can plan on me, Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree Christmas eve will find you where the love light gleams I'll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams
Have yourself a merry little christmas, let your heart be light, next year all our troubles will be out of sight. Have yourself a merry little christmas make the yuletide gay, next year all our troubles will be miles away, here we are as in olden days happy golden days of yore faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more. Through the years we all will be togheter if the fates allow hang a shining star upon the highest bow and have yourself a merry little christmas now!

Friday, December 9, 2011


Yes, Siree, I am still here. In Porter. I really almost died when I learned that haha. Before I tell you about my week, I want to tell you all the wonderful amazing things I learned from Sister Cochran.
1. Just keep going. Just do the things that are weird or hard or awkward. Just do it. Because it's got to get done anyway, so you might as well just suck it up and do it before you have time to stress over it.
2. to LAUGH. Oh my gosh I am going to miss her so much because she laughs all the time. And sometimes I forget to have fun. haha I'm such a scrooge stress basket sometimes and she is so happy and loves to laugh. She told me once that is becuase she loves to laugh that she will always find ways to laugh. She's great. I miss her so much.
3. That I don't have to be in control of everything. This is something I learned while she was my companion and she helped me becuase when I let go a little bit, things still got done. And If they didn't we would ask for forgiveness and then try harder. But I need to not be in control of every little thing. I can't be and it will just stress me right out. So I'm still working on it. Having a new companion and leading the area does not really help me let go of control haha.
Those are just a few of the things. They are the most important to me. And Oh, my gosh. I love her. She's in Lake Charles Louisianna, and I'm happy for her! She lives next door to Elder Olsen who was like my BEST amigo and so I am so jealous. Like SOO jealous. But I will get over it. I hope. I just hate when my friends have a party and I don't get to go, you know what I mean?
However, I am grateful that Sister Baldwin is my companion. I have heard that she is just an excellent teacher and I am so excited to learn with her. Last night we taught two lessons and they were both really great. We work well as companions already. I'm excited for the good we'll be able to do here. I just hope this is my last transfer here because otherwise I will spend half of my mission in Kingwood. YIKES. I love the area but sometimes I just need a little something new.
The past week was really great. The weekend was taken up by our Stake's community Nativity program. It was awesome. You walk into the cultural hall and there are like 25 real christmas trees lining the walls. It smells like a dream boat. And then there are hundreds of nativities all over. I took pictures. Mom, you would DIE. You may have to come see it next year. Just don't tell me that you're here because I think i'll still be a missionary when they have the nativity. You really seriously would love it. The assistants were not pleased because we weren't allowed to proselte and there were at least 2 sets of missionaries there the whole time. We went to dinner with them and they were not pleased haha. But it was good we worked the photo room and so a lot of non members saw us and saw that this was our church. They will never be able to say the mormons don't believe in christ after being there. We had a really good time.
DOYLE CAME TO CHURCH SUNDAY!!! OH MY GOSH! For all 3 hours. I loved it!! And he loved it. He watched the Christmas devotional at home and we are going to meet with him tonight. We are going to talk about faith and the faith required to quit smoking. He needs to quit. Everything else looks like smooth sailing. I think tonight we'll go over the baptismal interview questions too.
Last night we also went to see Brother Pudil. His wife passed away last transfer and he's pretty lonely. We talked to him about christmas and the spirit was very present. I even got teary! Me. Crazy. We were talking about the true meaning of Christmas and I talked about my second favorite part of "O Holy Night" when it says "A thrill of hope! the weary world rejoices." I love that love that love that LOVE that. Because that is what the Savior is to us and was then. He came as a thrill of hope. Don't you just love that?? Who wrote this song?? I wish with all my heart we didn't have to stick to MoTab. I would love to listen to O Holy Night.
We went finding for like 2.5 hours on Saturday. It was great because we were in Porter. I love Porter. Kingwood still stresses me out, but I love Porter.
What else happened this week? We are going to start working with a lot of Part Member families. Awesome. I'm way excited. And San Jac lives in the K2 apartments so we will see Elders occasionally, I hope.
Mom, we got your christmas packages and we've been doing them and oh my gosh you are awesome. Seriously, you are going to be legendary in this mission because you are the BEST. We are loving the tender mercy thing, and sister baldwin is really excited for it. And the charm bracelette countdown is awesome. Today's made me cry. It was the one about the feather and the eagle. I just really needed to read that this morning. And it's true, that the Lord does that. He just kind of drops us becuase He knows were going to be okay, but he is never absent. He is always going to fix his eyes on us and at the slightest dip, I'm sure He dips too and rescues us. That's pretty cool. The Lord is, I don't want this to sound irreverant, but the Lord is really cool. And it's really cool that I'm learning these incredible things here. Anyway, thank you thank you thank you. You continually save my life haha!!
Dad, thank you for your letter too. Aren't we all suprised that I'm still here?? What's up with that? I'm glad to hear about work going well. You still need to tell me what it is that you do exactly. What is our stake doing for next year?? I want to hear all about it. Can you believe I'll be home at the end of next year? I can't. It seems so fast, and at the same time it seems like FOR. EV.VER. What fun things are you doing recently or soon??
Jamesy! What up? It has now offically been a whole transfer with no word from you. Por favor?? How is school and finals? How is church and everything? What should I do for Christmas season as a missionary? What were your favorite things to do? Also, I have a question. How do you, like... have FUN on a mission? I think you'll understand what I mean. How did you have FUN? Tell me all the ways. And how I can do them. I love the Elders and have fun with them but I feel like, since I'm a sister, I'm suuuper annoying sometimes? And I just can't seem to relax enough to have fun haha. Except with Sister Cochran I did so.. Yo no se. Tell me your thoughts on the situation.
Jonny. I don't know if I should give up on YOU writing me. Pretty sure it's been 4 months. Laaaame. You have stuff to tell me. Tell me about Senior year and basketball and mission prep class! who is teaching it? Do you like it? What do you do? I think about you sometimes and how you're going to be a missionary like these Elders that I love. And I wonder who you will be like here. I was thinking about you tracting or teaching a lesson and it was too weird, too bizarre I couldn't think about it. But I'm POSITIVE you are going to be the best missionary your mission has ever seen. So cool. I hope you go English speaking with all my heart.
Well, family. I love you. Keep the letters coming. I'm gonna need them. All is well, but i'm gonna need them. You are the best family in the world and I can't believe that I get to talk to you in 19 days!!!! NINETEEN DAYS!!!! They are going to go by so fast I bet. And after that I only talk to yall one more time and then I'm DONE-ZO! And I'm home. Weird. You are so great. Get ready for Christmas!! We've been challenging everyone to look for small ways to lift others and spread the Christmas spirit. Do you know how helpful it is to just ask your cashier how their day is going?? Even if they're rude (which 99% of the time they aren't) I know it lifts them that someone cares how their day is going. I can't believe I never did that before my mission. Will you guys do that? Look for little ways to lift other people this week? You will have a better week if you do, I promise.

guess who is still here?

Yeah I am still in Porter. I am going to write to yall tomorrow morning a longer letter but just know that I love you and I'm still here and Sister Cochran is in Louisianna with my best friend Elder Olsen and I'm jealous but getting over it. And my companion is Sister Baldwin from the MTC. I'm excited. I love you all and I will write to you tomorrow morning!