Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Dear Familia,

It was the best Christmas present ever to see your happy faces and laugh with you like old times. And to put the cherry on top of the apple pie, as a San Bernardino Zone we were able to attend the temple this morning. I was overcome during the session with the love the Lord has for all His children, including me. It was a wonderful way to begin the day. 

There isn't much time so I'll just bullet point some highlights from the week: 

* Jody and her son Marshall want to be baptized together and are planning on the 12th of January. And her court case over custody went well and she was able to take Marshall to Florida with her to see family she hasn't seen in 10 years. The Lord blesses those who put their lives in His hands.
*We met with Amy on Sunday and after talking with her, found out that she wants to really know for herself is Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. We are going to re-teach all the lessons and hopefully this time she can recognize her testimony. Desire is the hardest part I think, and she's got that.
* Even though the atrocities in Connecticut happened, one of our less active women we teach, Sister Thomas, was able to see God's hand in her life this past week. She received a check just in time from a compensation she should have got years ago, so she could pay her electric bill. The best part is that she knows she is loved by her Heavenly Father.
* Because Sister Bowen was given the opportunity to play the piano at both Christmas parties, and she's amazing like that, we were able to have 2 turkey dinners in a row, with a visit from Santa, and good fun and entertainment for two days! It was a joy seeing the sisters and old friends from former transfers, and of course making some new friends. Being a missionary rocks!
* Val wants to be baptized and we all felt a confirmation that January 12th should be her baptism date. It probably is going to change, but just that experience where we all felt the spirit together was worth it. She is having fun in YW and Josie is a great fellowshipper.

* We got to sing with Val, and the other YM/YW in the Christmas program 

*(Carol of the Bells)

* Seeing Sister Stacey! 

* Helping Sister Eastwood in our ward make her pastries and prepare her Christmas feast, while her daughter cut our zone leaders hair.
* Christmas Eve with the Martinez family and Christmas dinner with the Zurroff's. I felt a lot of love both days. 

I'm very blessed and know the gospel is true. There is too much good fruit that comes out of the gospel not to make it true. I know my Savior lives. 

Dad-thank you for your insight in your letter, it brought tears to my eyes. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that you've helped save someone's soul. What a perfect plan our Father has where he gives us that opportunity to fulfill his purpose (Moses 1:39) 

Here is the letter for president...

Dear President,

Merry Christmas, Santa! It's been a wonderful year, and an incredible 5 months. This last week there were service opportunities everywhere, and all I had to do was pray for them and then keep an eye out. Even with two Christmas parties, we had a lot of time to teach and testify of the Restoration of the gospel. One example: on Sunday, we felt impressed to go visit Amy, because her concerns about tithing were causing her to think about stopping investigating the church. I learned some valuable lessons that day. First, I learned that there is a line between boldness and being overbearing, and I crossed it. Amy has a lot of why questions and she really wants to know for herself if what she is learning is true. She did look at some anti-Mormon stuff, and I got pretty upset. However, when I saw that she was drawing back, I knew my approach and attitude needed to change. I prayed that I would be more patient and loving towards her, and Heavenly Father answered my prayer. It was only when I was calm like Sis. Bowen, and let her take the lead, that we found out Amy's real concern: she doesn't have a sure testimony of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. Without the foundation, of course the tenets of the gospel aren't going to make sense. At the end of our short meeting, Amy decided she wants to try again, and this time, we are going to really involve our WML and his wife, who knows her pretty well. That is something else I learned, the gospel is never a one try thing or you're out. It's not even a 3 tries and you're out. The Savior wants us to keep trying everyday and to repent so we can progress. The Savior is the perfect teacher of patience, and all things godly. I am so grateful for this semi-hard lesson I learned, it meant a lot more to see the gospel in action then just to hear about it. 

We were really blessed to have members at every lesson with investigators, and through listening to the Spirit on our WML's part, we were able to teach the Restoration to a new investigator, Larry. He is really a good Christian and wants to do what's right, but we don't know if he could comprehend all we taught, so for our next lesson we are going to re-teach the restoration. Just like with my 4th graders, if there was a lesson that went over their heads or I didn't explain well, it was better in the long run to review than to jump ahead and expect them to pass the test. The gospel is everywhere! 

I am very grateful for the gospel and all the answers to prayers my Heavenly Father has given me. I've been blessed to be here in San Bernardino, and Sister Bowen is teaching me a lot. We are doing well and very open with each other. She is letting me practice be senior companion, and its been a good learning experience for me. I'm desiring to lead more with love and effectively. And, to be more patient, especially with investigators and less actives that won't commit. but giving my life over to the Lord and trying to be as He is, is the best motivation in the world. 

Sister Allison Mills

I made cookies for the Zone!

Cooking at the Eastwoods--Sister Eastwood, Elder Graf, Elder Crozer, and Marissa

Martinez Family

Opening Jenepher and Phil's Christmas present (it took at least 2 minutes!)

Breakfast with the Spanish Elders--Smith, Heredia, and Hernandez

Sister Bowen, Sister Adams, and me at the Temple this morning

(And two more pictures I took off the mission website highlighting their zone's Christmas you'll understand why she called her mission president Santa.)

With her Trainer, Sister Stacey (and her new comp), and Sister a few elders

Sitting on Santa's lap (He had all the missionaries do it)

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