Merry Christmas My Dear Family and Friends,
I can hardly believe it has come and gone....but what a wonderful week it has been....CRAZY, but wonderful! We had our San Diego Mission Christmas Party and it was so wonderful to hear from our Mission President and see all of the miracles that have happened as we have served throughout the year. My Christmas Concert at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site went great and I know the Lord made some miracles happen! All of the audio and visual mechanics went smoothly and luckily there were some computer guru's present to make it all work. Over 250 people were able to listen in...even from the hallway, and over 100 were turned away because there just wasn't enough space to hold them. Even my mission president and his wife were there in the second row with camcorder and camera in hand and beaming faces throughout the hour! I was truly honored. The Lord sustained me and the spirit lead...I didn't have a heart attack from directing and performing the entire program, and I was somehow able to remember all my words even though as some of the songs started I was drawing a blank! Ha ha...but all I wanted was for people to feel the spirit and the love of Christ for them, and for their testimony and gratitude for the Savior to grow. Many compliments of gratitude were given and I am so thankful the Spirit was there and able to touch so many hearts. I love my Father in Heaven so much and will forever be grateful for the gift of music and for the voice He blessed me with. I love using it for Him! I attached a picture of me with my companion, Sister Hudson, after the concert = ) Wish you all could have been there!
With all of the joy of the Christmas Spirit, I am sad to see the week end! This has to be one of the best Christmas's yet...one that I won't forget. Once we were out and about, our morning started with stopping at the gas station...while we were there I spotted a homeless man walking with his shopping cart and noticed he had a bag of recycling...I called him over and pulled out of our trunk a garbage bag full of recycling we had been saving and gave it to him, along with a pack of gum my sister had sent me, and wished him a Merry Christmas and testified to him that he was never alone and has a Heavenly Father who loves him! After that I felt so happy I just wanted to go to Jack-In-The-Box and buy like 50 $0.99 Breakfast Jacks and go pass them out with a water bottle to the homeless...there are so many here, you see them every other block! We went to one of our recent convert families though, with bread, milk, eggs, and bacon in hand, to go and make breakfast with them for Christmas morning...they had planned since Thanksgiving to have us over and they told us Sunday that because they paid their full-tithing, they couldn't buy the food they needed for breakfast, but we could have eggs. We told them we'd be there anyway and came bearing gifts! The first thing the wife said when we walked in was, "I'm so glad you sisters are here to share Christmas with us. You are like family...can I tell you about all of the blessings we've had?!" They are so amazing and I have never seen such great faith and desire to follow the Lord...even when things are so hard for them...He asks, and they do! Calling home was such a treat...and so weird to hear my family's voices! I loved talking to them all about the latest...but what was truly a Christmas gift to me was hearing about the blessings they are receiving, and hearing them tell me from the bottom of their hearts how proud they are of me and how thankful they are for me serving a mission....what sweet feelings that brings...it's indescribable, but I am so thankful to be here and to serve, not only for the Lord, but for them. I then had dinner with the Bishop's family and they gave us a special ornament with the San Diego Temple on it. Such a thoughtful gift. We then spent the evening going and caroling to investigators and a recent convert family and brought cupcakes, gingerbread cookies, carols, and a message of Christmas to them. I could have done that all night! It was just so wonderful to serve and testify of Jesus Christ's birth while bearing His name and representing Him. This year, one big reason why I am thankful Jesus Christ was born is because since He was born, He established His church, and since He did that, it had the opportunity to be restored, and because it was, I have the chance to be here with about 200 others in San Diego. In the presence of all of them on Saturday, I felt such gratitude, power, and spirit. There's just something about being with so many who are set apart as servants of the Lord, given the missionary mantle and spirit! If Christ had not come, I would not be here, I would not have the chance to be a missionary and to see so many lives change as they discover the gospel, and to see their eyes light up and smiles come across their weary faces, and I would have no real message of hope to bring. I am so thankful!
On Christmas Day I finished my "Spirit of Christ Journal" ...25 ways I am thankful or saw and felt His love...what a blessed month I have had in remember that...my 25th reason...after talking to my family on the phone and feeling my heart ache for them was this: I'm so thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ because had he not stepped forward and presented His plan and accepted the call of being our Savior, I would not have been able to come here and would not have been blessed with my sweet and amazing family that I have today. I love them so much, and because of Jesus Christ's life, I can be with them forever....if we all do our best here and follow Him, I will never have to ache for them because we'll be together...and that is all I want!
I love my Savior! Joy to the world! My Lord has come! May my life be an anthem of praise to my king!
I love you all and thank you ever so deeply for your prayers, your thoughts, your love, you letters, your packages...for being you!
Hope you have a wonderful rest of this holiday week! Get the new year started off right!
I hope to have some Golden Birthday Miracles to report next week...I'm mustering all of my faith for them!
All my love and hopes for your happiness!