Monday, December 26, 2011

Megan's Creation

For those of you who happen to read what is going on with Megan, I thought you'd enjoy seeing a nativity she sent home to us for a Christmas gift.  She used preparation days (many) and lunch hours (many).  We love it!

Day After Christmas Email 12/26/11

Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas!  Mine was great!  We filled our day visiting some of our favorite families in the ward.  We had SOOOOO much food but it was good.  We were stuffed at the end of the day, which is how it should be.  It's been so fun being a missionary during Christmas, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.  And skyping with the family was the best ever!  I hope I'm able to do that again for mother's day. 
Lots and lots of people were very busy last week, so we had a bit of a slow week in terms of missionary work.  We tried to fill our time with lessons, but we weren't able to do that.  We did get to have an awesome lesson with Adriana and it was great to see her finally open up to us.  We hope that she finds the answers that she's searching for soon, so she can be baptized.  We also were able to have a lesson with Rebeca.  We planned a very specific lesson for her to encourage her to move her baptism date up, but she still feels like it should be in May.  We don't understand why she wants to wait or why the Lord would tell her to wait, but we'll support her no matter what because she is making the right choice to be baptized.  I suppose that it will force whoever is teaching her at the time to get creative with their lessons, because we're almost done with the missionary lessons.  That will be fun.  Speaking of fun, transfers are coming up on January 3.  Sister Rimington and I think she'll be leaving.  We'll see what happens.  Change is good with missionary work because new ideas will help the different areas progress.  It's good to keep having different perspectives.  I hope that a change will help this area to progress more. 
Anyway, that's all I really have time for today.  Love you all!  Have a grand New Year!  And HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK TO EMILY AND JANELLE!!  LOVE YOU BOTH!
The Christmas tree in our apartment.

It snowed!
Then melted two hours later.

We're 'biking' sisters!!
(Dream on.)

One of many wonderful Christmas day meals.
The members are so good to missionaries:)
-Sister Stacey

Hello Everyone 12/19/11

     I can't believe it's almost Christmas!  Time is going by so fast!  And there's so much to do.  I didn't think I would have that much to do, seeing as how I'm a missionary and all.  But I do.  So unfortunately I don't have that much time today. 
     Last week was sisters exchanges again.  Those seem to come by so fast.  I was with Sister Bowen in the Parkview ward (still up in the desert. I still have yet to do any sort of missionary work down the hill) On Monday we saw someone she thought was less active, but it turns out that she's not.  She has been faithfully attending church ever since she got baptized about 30 years ago I think.  I've come to really appreciate that.  It's rare that we meet with someone who has never been less active.  There have only been a few.  But it was really neat to listen to her share her testimony.  The next day I helped her move to a new house.  The member they moved in with wouldn't let us do anything until we'd unpacked.  So that was pretty much our whole Tuesday.  By the end of the day we were like, we need to go do at least a little bit of missionary work, so we visited an inactive woman named Latoya.  Her situation was so sad.  She can't afford any sort of decoration or anything for Christmas and she has a two year old son.  We have a few extra Christmas trees at our house so we're going to give her one.  We were very happy we were able to see her that night.  On Wednesday we switched back to our companions and went back to life as usual.   
     The rest of the week, Sister Rimington and I were able to see quite a few less active members, which was great since we've had a bit of a hard time seeing them lately.  I love meeting with them and working with them, especially right now because they're a little more willing to come to church and stuff.  We've been sharing a fun little Christmas message with them.  I will share that before the end of the letter.  So lots of less active members.  Cool.
     We also saw Adriana again.  We didn't end up sharing the lesson we'd planned on, but what we did share was what she needed.  I don't think I've ever felt the Spirit so strong in a lesson.  I hope she continued to ponder the things we shared with her and will have the courage to act.  I really like our lessons with her because she always asks us a good question that makes me learn something new.
      So that was basically our week.  One of our investigators came to church for the first time yesterday which ruled.  I couldn't tell how she felt or anything, she wouldn't really talk to us after and she went home after sacrament meeting.  So we're excited to meet with her this week and see how she liked it and how she felt.  We were very surprised to see her at church because we hadn't seen her in a couple weeks. 
    Rebeca is still awesome.  She is already so active in the ward.  It's cool to see.  She already has such a strong testimony and she retains everything we've taught her and the things she's read.  It's a good example for me.
     Anyway, that's basically it.  The Christmas message we've been sharing comes from a children’s book called 'I Believe in Santa Claus".   I have the text for it somewhere, but not with me, so I'll do my best to remember it.
Think of Santa Claus-what is he like?  He wears red.  His hair is white.  He comes in the night.  He loves little children.  He wants us to be good.  He brings gifts. 
Now think of the Savior-what is he like?  He wears red. His hair is white.  He comes in the night.  He loves little children.  He knows we are good.  He brings gifts.  (oh dear these all have scripture references and I can't remember them.  I'll find them and share them next week or something.)  So I think it's pretty cool that we can look at all these things during Christmas time and be reminded of the Savior and of the true meaning of Christmas-even Santa Claus.  I completely butchered that, by the way.  The book had pictures and other things that I just can't put in an email unfortunately.  I wish I could remember more.  It had a bunch of other things that we see during Christmas time that are symbols for something more.  The book is now out of print, but if you know anyone that has this book, I definitely think you should take a look at it.  I think I'll be saying I Believe in Santa Claus for the rest of my life. 
     Love you all!  Merry Christmas!
-Sister Stacey

Email from MEGAN 12/12/11

How's things?  That's not a rhetorical question. 
     Things here are pretty awesome!  Last week when we were teaching Rebeca she really opened up to us and told us that she thinks this is where the Lord is leading her and where she's supposed to be.  So we invited her to be baptized and she said YES!!  She couldn't pick a date though, and when we saw her again later in the week, she still had not picked a date.  So last night she texted us and said she finally picked a date-May 26, 2012.  That's so far away!!  We are so so excited about the fact that she was able to pick a date, but we're afraid of all the things that could happen in the next six months.  Either way, she is so awesome.  She studies the Book of Mormon every single day for at least an hour.  Not just read, she studies.  It's so cool!  I hope that she has the desire to be baptized sooner, but if not, I am still way excited for her!
     We also had a lesson with Adriana.  She is so interesting.  She is very knowledgeable, and it's very obvious she grew up around the church.  You can tell she has a testimony and that she knows the message we share is true.  But for some reason she is still looking for excuses and reasons to not believe.  I think she's waiting for 'perfect knowledge' of the gospel.  This will never happen.  At least not in this life.  I told her to study Alma 32: 26-end.  She prays for an answer to her questions, and every time the answer is still the same-don't doubt what you know.  She's progressing though.  I think she'll recognize that she's getting the answer she needs.  She is a really good person and even thought she may not recognize it in herself, she has a great testimony and great faith.  I just can't wait for her to know this.
     We've had some really great lessons this week, but also during our lunch hours, we've had some fun.  We built a fort on Thursday.  That was so fun.  When we all got home at the end of the night, we planned for the next day then played games in the fort.  We left it up until Friday, when we do our weekly planning, so that we could say we did our weekly planning in a fort.  I love doing things like that.  It relieves some of the tension of missionary work.  I think that's important in order to stay focused on the work.  
     Anyway, that's really all I have time for today.  Being a missionary is the best thing ever!  I love you all!  Merry Christmas!
-Sister Stacey

Happy Birthday Sister Stacey 12/05/11

     And thanks for all the birthday wishes!  It has been a grand day so far.  This last week was also pretty awesome.  Despite this insane cough I have had for the last week and a half.  It feels like it's here to stay. 
     There is a less active woman we've been helping a lot because there is a lot of stuff that she can't do on her own, so we've been helping her decorate her house for Christmas, which has been so much fun!  She called us up last night and said that she was able to get a real Christmas tree for us, which we love.  Our house is starting to look a little Christmasy, and less depressing.  We made some ornaments for it out of paint chips.  Because paint chips are free.  :)
     We also taught Adriana last week.  She used to be a member, but left the church.  I think she's gotten to a place in life now where she sees that she needs to come back.  She asked us to give her the lessons because she wants to know that it's true.  She said she knew it was true once, but then stopped believing.  She's been praying a lot about it recently, and keeps getting the same answer:  don't doubt what you know.  I think that's really hard for some people.  She has really great faith, but somehow can't see it as being enough.  We were not meant to have a perfect knowledge in this life.  We have been studying a lot to find things to help her, and it's been cool even during my personal studies to have things stand out to me that I feel impressed to share with her.  The Lord loves her a lot.  He loves all of His children and I love being able to be a part of their journey to come closer to Him. 
     We also got a new investigator last week.  Her name is Rebeca Gray.  She moved in with her grandparents who are in our ward.  She grew up lutheran, but said that she loves the different feeling in their house and wants to know if the church is true.  We had a lesson with her on Friday and left her with the assignment to read 2 Nephi 31-33, which she not only read them, but studied them with her grandma verse by verse and wrote down her thoughts and impressions.  AND she also started her own personal reading and got through 1 Nephi 1-10.  And all this by the time we saw her on Sunday morning.  She is so eager to learn.  She's 21 so we can relate to her a little more than everyone else we've been teaching.  I'm excited to see what happens with her.
     I have loved hearing about how everyone is doing.  Sounds like being home is pretty fun right now.  But I'd rather be here.  I'm never going to have this opportunity again, to serve the Lord and represent our Savior during a holiday that is all about Him.  It's really neat.  We had a lesson on the Atonement in relief society yesterday which was really good.  I love our Savior.  The more I study about Him and the Atonement the more I understand and realize how important His life and everything that He did was.  There would be no point in anything we do if He had not come.  I love Him and I know He lives.  I want to share this with everyone and help them understand what He's done for them. 
     Anyway, that's all I have time for this week.  I love you all!  Have a fun December and Christmas!  Talk to you next week!

-Sister Stacey