Church Sunday was like any other Sunday. The five Sisters going home next transfer were on the stand about to talk and everyone was sitting reverently and waiting for the meeting to begin. Then Elder Quentin L. Cook walked in! That’s right an Apostle came and sat in on our mission sacrament meeting! It was exciting. That checks off another one on my list. I've met 5 of the 12 now. But I've only shaken Elder Perry and Elder Oaks hand. Still I've basically met all of them! And at church I couldn't stop staring at Elder Cook and he looked at me too! So I've made eye contact with 5 of the 12. Eye contact can be considered a mental handshake.
A year ago I sat in the BYU-Idaho Center watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I remember thinking “I wish I could be there in person!” This year I got to watch it in person! The Christmas Devotional was wonderful! President Thomas S. Monson shared the following poem:
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.
I hope that everyone at home is finding ways to give their heart to the Savior this Holiday season. Because just as President David O. McKay said, “True happiness comes only by making others happy…” The Primary General President, Sister Wixom spoke as well and she focused on “Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”I always think of ways to develop Christ-like attributes and become more like a little child. It is easiest when we better ourselves everyday rather than trying to change everything all at once. My favorite thing shared by Elder Rasband was how our opportunities to give our limitless. Don’t sit around asking “what can I do to give?” That is silly; there are opportunities all around us. Now the Hymn Have I Done Any Good is coming to my mind.
Our mission president has encouraged us to use one companionship study a week as time for media study to watch Mormon messages and other church media. That’s when I discovered the Alex Boye version of Have I Done Any Good. Below are two other videos I enjoyed. Please watch them! The first is a true story from John Bytheway. He actually shared the story at a Youth Conference tour that I took this past summer before it was made into a video. The next video is about Temple Square and can give you an idea of what it is like here and what I do. Sister missionaries from long ago are in it. I don’t know any of the sisters in the video.
I love when it says “then dream of your mansion above.” I’ve heard the words of Christ play at the Christus a hundred times and I could recite all the words said. What always stands out to me is when He says “…I go to prepare a place for you.” That reminds me that He really does know us individually and is watching over us constantly. Lastly, Russel M. Nelson spoke. I’ve actually gotten to see him in the Tunnels under Temple Square. His talk was incredible! Here is a link to watch it because my remarks on the talk can do no justice.
After the Christmas Devotional I ran into Justin Rupper. Last time I saw him was at the DC Temple with Sister Rupper. I hope to see that family again someday! It’s still hard to believe that they moved all the way to Hong Kong. Dad lost his only friend! Just kidding Dad, you have a ton of friends!
On Tuesday was mission training. Elder Clarke of the Seventy came with his wife to speak with us. To be honest I thought “okay this will be good but I will probably zone out half way through.” It was great! Or should I say exceptional! The training went from 8:00am-3:30pm and I wanted it to keep going. Elder Clarke walked in and we stood and he asked us “How are all of you?” We all replied “Good.” He said “No no no you are not ‘good’ you are exceptional!” He used the word exceptional a lot. I took a ton of notes from him. I’ll share some of the highlights in bullet points:
·No one else can determine your happiness
·God helps us when we are willing to change
·Live with your heart, not your mind
·Alma 13: 10-11 tells all of us sisters that we are ordained to marry someone who has the Melchizedek Priesthood
·Jsmile because when you don’t smile you look 20 years older
·I shouldn’t let anyone leave Temple Square without them knowing how I feel about the Savior
·Converts remain poor until they learn how to pay tithing
·Every time I take the sacrament I need to 1. Offer a prayer of gratitude 2. Be forgiven of one small sin 3. Renew my baptismal covenant 4. Find a solution to a problem
·A friend makes you better, an enemy makes you worse
·As we care about people they change us
I could add a ton more bullets but those are just some. Elder Clarke also asked all of us to memorize the sacrament prayers, which I think is great! He even talked a lot about marriage. That surprised me because I didn't expect after mission life to be a part of the training. He encouraged all of us to get married quickly after our missions and not let University get in the way of it. He shared that he and his wife got married, were poor, and both worked while attending University. Elder Clarke went to BYU-Idaho! SWEET! One of the last things he told us was “don’t be perfect tomorrow; I don’t want you to be perfect! I want you to be a little better.”
Yesterday we called Dwain, our investigator from the UK. He is originally from Zimbabwe so he has an awesome accent. We reviewed everything we have taught him so far. Their is no reason to move forward until he understands what we have already shared. Best part is he believes everything we have shared! But two problems: 1. The local missionaries in his area haven't contacted him yet and we aren't able to help Dwain get to church and feel more ready for baptism because we only have phone contact so we can only encourage and support him, 2. Dwain struggles with prayer. He wont ever give us his word that he will pray because he doesn't want to disappoint us if he doesn't pray. I basically said, "We don't get a gold star over here when you pray, it isn't for us. We desire for you to pray, not for our benefit, but for yours...." and went on a little more about that.
Since Sister Escobedo is ESL (english second language) she can say the funniest things. We were eating lunch and there was an abandoned jar of jam on the table that Sister Gee and I pointed out. Then Sister Escobedo said "If that is jam then what is this?" And she pulled out Hillshire Farm Ham. Sister Gee and I (the only Americans at the table) just busted out laughing. I'll point out that Sister Escobedo pronounces both jam and ham as ham. Maybe you just had to be there to experience how funny it was.
So this transfer no new Americans came to our mission and I checked next transfers list and their and again no new Americans are coming.
Tomorrow night I get to go to the Christmas Concert! I will be on exchange because we only get to go once on our mission and I will be leaving in a year. So Sister Escobedo will get to go next year.
This email has grown!!! Sorry for rambling on so much. Oh one last story...
Yesterday morning I started a fire. The End. Just kidding I will share more. Every once in a while I manage to do something very silly. At home there were times I would be tired in the mornings and but milk under the sink and the windex in the fridge. Once I even sprayed my waffle with Pam after it had already been made. I wont even mention the Tide Pods (remember that one right before my mission mom?) Anyway yesterday I woke up and heated up water for hot chocolate and then poured it into a metal mug with a plastic handle. Then I drank it and it was still cold so I decided just to put the metal mug in the microwave (BIG MISTAKE). I sat at the table eating my oatmeal as the microwave ran. Then I saw white smoke so I ran over and saw flames bursting inside the microwave. I opened it and started blowing out the flames then I grabbed the mug (which was also dumb because it could have burned me) and threw it in the trash. The inside of the microwave looked horrible and it took forever to clean. I did my best and it looks great, excepts the roof of the microwave. It was the handle of the mug that caught fire. Hopefully future employers that I go to don't see this post on my blog on day. Yikes!
Anyway, take care everyone! Family, I will be calling you so soon! Woah! That is fun. Until then, happy day!