First off, I need to apologize for my awkwardness on the phone!! I feel so bad!! I blame being a missionary haha. I've forgotten how to talk to people about not gospel related things. Second, I need to apologize for my lame stories!! As I was telling you about things I realized something: I have been a missionary waaaay too long if I find playing with cats underneath doors the funniest thing to happen to me. Sorry I don't have any cool stories about ax-murders. And I think I just get on the phone and forget EVERYTHING I was going to tell you about. So I apologize for a less than par phone call. (Editor's note: We had a GREAT phone call with our Michiganary. The "guard cat" would swipe at anything near the front door. :-)
This week was great! We had Half Mission Training on Tuesday at the Grand Rapids Stake Center and I was going bonkers being back in my old area. I LOVE GRAND RAPIDS!! There's something about your first area that always stays in your heart. There are now elders serving in Rockford and I asked them about everyone and everything. It was so nice to hear about the ward and people they're seeing.
I loved training from the Assistants and President and we had a blast making gingerbread houses. The missionaries only had ten minutes to make a "house" so we got a wide variety of dwellings. It felt like a Food Network Challenge as they concluded building their hovels and then we told them that they needed to take their house from the table to the display table. The anxiety in moving their houses was almost palpable at times. I think they all had fun though.
|Sis. Jensen with Sis. Baham and the "miracle violin."|
Christmas Eve was an evening to remember. The Williamsen's went all out to make sure we had the best Christmas ever. To begin our tale you need to picture nine missionaries and six civilians in a two bedroom apartment. We had a full Christmas dinner with oven roasted turkey, homemade stuffing (from homemade bread even), green beans, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, creamed spinach and dinner rolls. Half of us sat at the table and half of us sat on the floor haha. We watched a skit called "Six to Eight Black Men" which we were told was approved last year but I have my doubts haha. Now I know more about Christmas in the Netherlands..... Then we had a Nativity. I don't know if Luke would approve of the changes we made to the original casting but it was definitely memorable. We watched "Mr. Krooger's Christmas", sang songs, and had a visit from Santa. It even snowed a little bit to make the evening more magical.
Christmas morning we woke up atto open presents. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the gifts that all of you gave to me! I can't express enough of my gratitude! I think the thing I loved most about opening presents was not the presents themselves but the feeling I had as I opened them. I felt so much love which I wasn't expecting to feel. I am SO appreciative for everything that I got but I mostly just love that feeling that I had. I think that's what made this Christmas so wonderful to me, the feeling of love that I had all day. I felt so much love for all of you and I felt your love in return. After opening presents, we had a "heart stopper breakfast" all thanks to Chasity who the day before gave us bags of more than just toast to eat for breakfast. After breakfast, we had a very powerful testimony meeting between the three of us. I will remember that forever I think. Then we spent the day at the Rock's and the Griswold's homes, eating ourselves silly and playing games. You don't know how much more exciting spoons gets when you replace the spoons with Duplo blocks and put those on a smooth surface. This was one of the best Christmases I've had in my life. I feel so blessed to have had this experience.
Yesterday, we had twelve people total at church. Stephen can probably relate to how that feels haha. Even though it was small, it was still a great block of meetings. Church is always great because we get to partake of the sacrament and fellowship with others, even if there's only a few of them. We even had an investigator at church! That was a miracle. Let me just say though, I am really looking forward to the end of break. I miss my amazing branch. They are some of the most incredible people.
Something I am making as a goal for the upcoming year is to better recognize the Spirit. I just watched "On the Lord's Errand" and hearing about President Monson's experiences makes me want to be a better tool in Heavenly Father's hands. Why can't Heavenly Father use me to help others? I think the Spirit is always speaking but I'm don't pay attention like I should. So I want to work on that. How have you been able to notice the Spirit in your life? What has helped you recognize and follow His promptings?
I hope you are all recovering well from Christmas. Thank you again for being patient with me on the phone. I love you all so much!! It was such a blessing to talk to you last week! The Lord loves you and I do too!
Peace and Blessin's,
L to R: Sis. Carter, Sis. Jensen, Sis. Fehlman