My amazing family!!
It is so good to hear from you! I feel close to you through your e-mails and they fill me with peace and joy!
Thank you for taking your time to tell me about your lives every week. It is much appreciated.
It is now the month of December!! Where in the world did November go!?!? I think that it got skipped this year! But now we're into an exciting month when hearts are softened, and we get to dedicate our time to our Heavenly Father by thinking of his children around us. What a blessing, to loose ourselves and serve our brothers and sisters. This truly is a great time of year.
From the sounds of it, everyone is very busy! That's part of it! There's much to do! A lot to get done! I hope we can all take time to slow down. To take a step back and think about what makes us happy, and what makes those around us happy. I will tell you what has always launched me into Christmas mode every year. I LOVE going and getting the Christmas tree. Going to the K-mart parking lot on Washington Blvd, picking out the most hidious and rediculous tree, hearing dad tell the story of how everyone walks by and laughs at how pitiful the tree us, and then taking the tree home and decorating it that night.
I LOVE when mom and I make those delicious, chocolatey, Christmas magic, Heaven sent, Christmas cookie balls. With the Hersheys and whip cream rolled up and then rolled in chocolate sprinkles or nuts.
I LOVE it when Chad decks out our house and grandmas house!
I LOVE when Jamie challenges Chad to Christmas wrapping wars.
I LOVE Tessa's evolution of reactions when she opens up her presents. Except for the year when I told her she couldn't touch my amp and she cried! haha
I LOVE how Brady would always treat my gifts to him like they were perfect, even though they weren't that great. haha this actually applies to everyone now that I think about it! haha
Christmas is AWESOME!!
We had a great week this past week!! Our mission taught almost 900 lessons. LEGIT. Everyone is doing great! In the Anaheim 3rd ward things are still cruising right along!
The twins are doing really good! They are so stinking cute you guys! Haha that's super un-manly to say, but they are! They love church and the gospel! It's so cool to see such great examples from two little girls like that!
Marisella is doing awesome as well! She's going to be General Young Womens President one day! She's so powerful!
We taught Jorge this week and he really impressed the heck out of me! He's the 14 year old kid who lives in the ghetto. He came to church last sunday and we taught him on friday. He really loved it! He said,"I really liked my lesson in Teachers Quorum. There was a really cool scripture we read in like...I think it was Mosiah 2:17? It was about how when you serve others around you, you're serving God. I thought that was really cool!" That kid impresses me so much! His circumstances are horrible! He has no one to look up to except his gang famliy, and his gang friends who hang outside his house every night, and yet he has such an amazing desire for a 14 year old boy, who's never been religious, to seek after righteousness. We had a great lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation. We really hammered hard about the things we need to do in this life to get to the Celestial Kingdom. He absolutely loved it! He was asking great questions and making comments and felt genuine excitement! In his prayer at the end he said,"I really want to be baptized on the 15th and confirmed the 16th. i know I've made mistakes, but I know that God can help me. Help me to never miss church on sunday and to read and pray every day..." He's an incredible young man! He's ready! It will be a cool thing to see him get baptized. It will be even cooler that that is the last weekend of my mission! We keep prayin for him. He's smart and his heart is in the right place. He's a good kid and I have high hopes for him. Awesome!
Yesterday we went to a pretty incredible thing! It's called the Creche! (Cresh). It's this thing that is put on by the Orange Stake every year the first weekend of December. It's at the Orange Stake Center, it's called the Yorba Building. They deck the whole church out for Christmas! The entire gym was full of different exhibits of different little Nativity displays from all over the world. Kenya, Russia, South America, Everywhere! The lighting is really cool and they totally go all out! Then in the rest of the church, all throughout the halls and different rooms there are paintings of christ and his birth, and different pieces of art, like big rugs and photography and all sorts of stuff that lined all the halls. There was one room in paritcular that was really amazing! All the walls and the ceiling were covered with a big white cloth, then hanging in the room were really powerful paintings of the Savior about His life. There was soft Christmas music playing, and everyone in the room would only whisper. The Spirit was really strong in that room! It was almost as powerful as the Temple! There was just a reverence from everyone that went in there. Really spectacular actually! Throughout the night for all 3 days there were performances that were put on by several different quiors and performers from about 5 to 9 every night. The turn out was huge! We were only there on sunday night and there were a lot of people from all over that came to check it out! I think our family needs to go next year. It really is pretty amazing!
So Chad, have you picked up that package/ukulele from that kid yet?
Speaking of packages!! I have packaged up a bunch of crap-ola that I will be sending home most likely today. Maybe Possiby along with your Christmas Presents. They are all ready, I just need to box them. And I'm getting another box today for all my shirts that just take up room and my p-coat and all the stuff that would'nt normally fit in the suit case. So there will be about 3 packages showing up soon. One will say,"Do not open until Christmas." Don't open that one. You know the drill. I've definitely learned preparation on the mission! I've been working on your presents during November and they're ready to go! I really hope you like them. But the others I don't really care if you open them or not. It's just full of stuff I've aquired and people have given me and stuff. Nothing too crazy.
Elder Hartt and I are doing really great! He's one of my best friends out here! I've really grown to love the kid a whole lot! He's an amazing missionary and a great friend! You guys would really love him. His cousin actually is in the MTC ready to go to the Ogden, Utah mission! His cousin was the starting point guard for North Carolina. Pretty good kid!
Wasn't the Christmas Devotional yesterday awesome!?!? I love hearing the first Presidency speak. They are inspiring. I loved President Monson's quote,"He who gives his money, gives much. He who gives his time, gives more. But he who gives of himself, gives all." They are incredible men! I'm so grateful to have a prophet on the earth. When people we teach begin to understand that that's true, it is amazing to see them grow closer to the Savior just by that knowledge.
Elder Hartt and I are training tomorrow in our Mission Council. (All the zone leaders and coordinating sisters + us + President and Sister Bowen). We are training all about the Doctrine of Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receieving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We're really stoked for it. We have an awesome lesson set up. We put the finishing touches on it today and it is going to be a spiritual feast tomorrow! One of the cool things we talked about his morning was applying the atoning blood of Jesus Christ in our lives, just as the children of Israel had to "apply" the blood on the doors. It wasn't enough that they just sacrificed their lambs, they had to apply the blood on the door. For us, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is there, it happened, it's only when we apply it that it takes effect in our lives. We are also going into some great doctrine about Baptism. I've been having some amazing studies lately on all these gospel subjects! It's been really great. I continue to learn so much everyday!
Dad, it sounds like you've had a rough week. I know I've said it a lot before, but your faith and determination is inspiring to see. You've been an outstanding example through all of this. I know things aren't exactly easy right now. I know you want to be over with all this. But I am glad that you have the end goal in sight. It's so great to see that you haven't given up. Your example moves me, as I'm sure it does others. I know you want to be at the airport so bad. It might bring you comfort to know this, President Bowen told me the other day,"I've been praying for your dad to be able to make it to the airport." He's such a caring man. Know that you are in my prayers, President Bowens prayers, and many missionaries prayers out here. Just as you said, I know those prayers are heard by Heavenly Father. You can do this. The end is in sight. Keep it going. You've got all of us behind you! I love you!
Quick question. One of my friends out here is from Layton. His parents want to go to a homecoming talk of someone who he served with. They want to know what day my homecoming talk is. Could you maybe find out for me?
Momma! Ofcourse I can deliver those gifts to President Bowen, and Tucker. President Tucker actually broke his leg pretty bad! Fell down the stairs the other day! So that will be a good thing for him, he'll really like that. I've gotten pretty close with President Pugmire also. He's in the mission Presidency as well. maybe something for him would be good too if that's ok. Thanks for doing that! These men really do a lot for us.
Ok you guys!
I cannot believe I only have 2 weeks left. Next week I'll only have 1 week left. It doesn't feel real. But there's still a lot to be done! I'm giving it all that I possibly have got! I want to be so worn out and exhausted by the time I get home that I can hardly stand! haha
I love you guys so much. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love you. I miss you!!
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!!