On Wednesday we celebrated Witlene’s 21st birthday with couscous and cake (see photo)! I am convinced that Blondine Jean is a bonafide angel in the flesh: she signed up to feed us and then moved the party over to Witlene’s house when she found out it would be her birthday. She provided a fabulous meal, wonderful company, and a beautiful spirit. She inspires me to be my best now and every day in the future. We need more Blondines in the world.
We have been working with a straight up miracle man named Guillermo, a 19 year old engineering student who is seeking peace and restitution. His desire to know the Savior is truly pure and sincere, and he acts immediately on every message we share. He rode an hour and a half by bus to come to church on Sunday #dedication, and he absolutely loved it! His favorite parts were that we all sing together (which in a branch of about 20 young adults from all over the world can be a little musically interesting) and the Sacrament. Pray for him to continue to progress towards his baptism on the 26th!
We’re taking the new JustServe initiative in the Church and doing our best to run with it – we spent two glorious hours peeling off 15 year old wallpaper with some members (mom, it took me back to that Christmas break in Rolla!). I am so grateful to spend my life in service, especially during the Christmas season. How fulfilling it is to manually serve more often in addition to our daily spiritually service!
I had a wild exchange with Sis. Soza, a Chilean sister, during the which we experienced the following:
1. Almost being hugged by a strange homeless man at Wendy’s the moment we stepped out of our car (pass along cards make not only good conversation starters but good conversation enders as well, thank goodness).
2. Being just 6 inches away from being assassinated by a flying coconut while knocking doors – don’t walk under palm trees in December, kids! Or probably during any month…
3. Meeting a baby with a softball-sized belly button that cried like a grumpy old man.
We’ll just say that that night’s journal-writing took a little longer than normal.
We had an awesome little lesson with our friend Jonathan who is working on coming back to church and is now preparing to be a missionary all about keeping the Sabbath day holy. We read Mosiah 13:16-19, when a prophet teaches this commandment to some wicked folk, and right as he read the last word, he exclaimed, “WOW! This is my new favorite scripture in this WHOLE BOOK! It’s so TRUE!”. I love growing right alongside my friends here. Nothing beats sharing the joy of a newfound or refound gem in the scriptures except for experiencing it with your friends. He and Dayamar are progressing well spiritually but are facing a few temporal problems that have left them without transportation. Include them in your prayers!
When you’re needing a lift for your spirits, watch this beautiful video: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2015-05-003-lift?lang=eng We watched it with RC Zach this week and it touched all of our hearts and took our thoughts to becoming more Christlike. My thoughts have been turning to Him left and right as I strive to follow His perfect example and to help others to do the same, during the Christmas season especially. I was touched by Sis. Stephens beautiful lesson of love and obedience this morning in her talk “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments” from last Conference. Everything, everything I have learned on my mission has been rooted in love, and I cannot express how grateful I am to have such an increased capacity and ability to love anyone and everyone. My desire to show my love for the Savior through my obedience has increased in seemingly mathematically impossible ways, and I can simply say that I have come to know the words of John are true: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Once we finally have the realization that little Chloe has in Sis. Stephens’s talk (“Grandma, you want me to wear my seat belt because you love me!”), we come to a knowledge that we are given commandments not to be restricted or kept from ‘real fun’, but to become so much better. He loves us enough to help us, and has shown us the only way.
So do it! If you love Him, keep His commandments!
I love YOU!