My first Christmas as a missionary was not as hard as I imagined it would be. On the 24th, we worked as usual and had dinner at a member's house. Afterwards, we Skyped and it was so good to see my family!
I promised myself I wouldn't cry, but found myself soaking in my tears on Christmas morning as I opened the gifts my family had sent me. It wasn't the gifts that got to me. It was the realization of the incredible support system I have behind me. There are many missionaries who don't have the blessing of family and friend support. But, I know the Lord loves me and has sent me the amazing people I have in my life to help me along the way. I thank Him everyday for my family and friends and pray that I never lose them. That's the amazing thing about the restored gospel: that we can be together for ETERNITY. It's an incredible blessing.
If you have family and friends that you love, don't ever lose a chance to tell them that you love them. That is one thing I would have changed before my mission: show my love and appreciation more often. Don't shy away from showing love. Christ ALWAYS, ALWAYS showed His love for others.
M (D's brother) is progressing! Slowly, but surely. He just doesn't like admitting it. ;) On the 25th, we had a lesson with just him and D. He told us he had a question, but couldn't remember what it was. It surprised me because I thought he hadn't been paying much attention during the other lessons. We gave them each a Book of Mormon and an individual chapter to read. And at the end of the lesson, I was surprised again as he knelt down for the closing prayer without us needing to beg him to do so. He's even been talking to another member of the ward and told him he was going to be baptized in January. He's been listening. :) Later that day, we made tamales with S and J! It was really fun!
On Saturday, we went to see a family we are teaching: O, R, and their children. And we had a very powerful lesson with, believe it or not, our landlords. We left a lesson that night and still had about 20 minutes until 9:00 PM. I was planning on returning back to the apartment to fill out the area book, but my companion said, "No, Hermana. We still have 20 minutes. We can't go back to the house before 9:00." She's so great! So, we decided to go visit our landlords. They are a great family, but my last companion told me they are not at all interested in the church. I've spoken with E before about religion and she's Evangelica and her husband is Catholic. We went to visit them and as we shared together, we could notice that they are struggling in their marriage and a big reason is because of religious difference. We shared the 3 Principles of Christmas that President Wilkinson taught us:
Principle 1: Inn Keeper
Luke 2:1-7 Are we making room for the Savior in our hearts or allowing Him to pass us by?
Matthew 3:1-3 (also found in Isaiah and 2 Nephi) John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Savior. Does the Lord have a straight path to our hearts or do we put up obstacles?
Principle 2: Pastor
Luke 2:8-20 "Fear not." The enemies of faith are: disobedience, doubt, and fear.
When the angel appeared to the shepherds to bring them news of the Savior's birth, they left their sheep to find Him. Shepherds NEVER leave their flock, but in order to find the Lord, they left EVERYTHING and "came with haste." What are we ready to leave to find the Redeemer?
Principle 3: Wise Men
Matthew 2:10-11 The signs of the Savior's birth had been revealed and the wise men sought Him for almost 2 years. When they found Him, they "fell down, and worshipped Him," and offered Him their treasures. We must search for the Savior, even if it takes years. Even if it takes all of our lives! We must seek Him out.
And when we find Him, we should fall at His feet and offer Him our treasures. The Savior only wants one thing: OUR SINS. He has already paid the price. One by one by one. Are we willing to accept Him? What will be the treasure we offer Him?
As we testified of the principles of the inn-keeper and the wise men, I felt the spirit stronger than I have ever felt on my mission. I testified that if I knew that the Savior had been born in my time, that I would search Him out. With tears pouring down my face, I declared these words with all of the sincerity of my heart. I asked them if they would do the same and allow us to share our message with them. E accepted and said she would come to church this coming Sunday. A, sadly, is still very firm in his ways. But, I know that every person has their time.
This work is true! The Christ has come. He is waiting for us to allow Him to help us.
I love you all! Never forget that your Savior loves you!
With all of my love,