Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, December 9th - What a Wonderful Gift to the Savior

This week we were able to attend the Temple! What a glorious morning it was to be able to spend a couple of hours in the House of the Lord. I always feel comforted and peaceful whenever I go, I receive answers to questions I have, and I better understand God's plan specifically for me. I am grateful I am able to go to the Temple every six weeks and that the Gilbert Temple is being built in our mission. I'm also excited for the Open House coming up in January! We don't have any details as of what we're going to be doing at the Open House, but I'm sure we will soon. *Hopefully!!*
We've been having some great member visits this week! We have been encouraging members to take Elder Ballard's challenge from Christmas seriously. "We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just "one" between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior." I love this Christmas Season! I love seeing all of the Christmas decorations and I am especially grateful for the Spirit of Christ that is all around us. May we all give this wonderful gift to the Savior by reaching out to those around us by turning outward. When we lose ourselves, we find ourselves. I have seen this while I have been on my mission. When I truly forget myself and get to work, I am happier. I feel God's love He has for me. We were able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Message yesterday night and we were uplifted and strengthened. They talked about putting into focus the true meaning of Christmas and to have the Spirit of Christ in our lives. We not only focus on the Savior's birth, but we focus on His life and what He has done for us.
This week we were able to teach Sierra the message of the Restoration. Her entire family sat in the lesson and we had a good discussion. We soft committed her to baptism and she said yes. Denise (the mother) said they would come to church on Sunday since they really do want to come back to church. I love the family already and I've only met them twice so far! We're so happy they didn't cancel the lesson on us like I guess they had previous missionaries. They unfortunately did not come to church on Sunday because Sierra was sick. It was a sad day to not see them there! We have an appointment this week to teach them the message of the Plan of Salvation.
This past Saturday we were able to help out a recent convert, Robert, with the ward to paint his house. I wish I had the before and after pictures (I'll get them next week)! It was fun and it was truly humbling to see the circumstances of some people. Having come into this new area a month ago has really opened my eyes to how some people live. I am glad we were able to serve him and his mother (she's not a member) by helping with their temporal needs. We also had the Ward Christmas Party on Saturday. The ward had an ornament exchange and I got a pink ornament with a mustache on it. We were also able to see Santa Claus! (don't worry we didn't sit on his lap and we have picture to prove it) :] What a glorious day and what a fantastic time to be a missionary on the Lord's errand!
This week I found out I have Mono, but not to worry! I haven't been kissing anyone! The Lord is lifting me and helping me to not be so tired. I know this is His work and glory and that I am in His service and am entitled to His help. I have seen His hand everyday even if we weren't able to get out as much as I would have liked to this week. The members are great and are taking good care of us! I am so grateful!!!
I have been reading this past General Conference talks these past couple of days. President Monson quotes in his talk, "I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee," a poem by Douglas Malloch:

Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

I know Heavenly Father never forgets us. He gives us trials, afflictions, and sorrows to make us stronger. He is the Gardner of our Lives. We need to align our will to His so that we can be truly happy. I am grateful for this Gospel and the strength it gives me to "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope" (2 Nephi 31:20).

Sister Collins

Santa and the Sisters!

The Ornament Exchange

Service - painting the house

Sis. Wallace and Sis. Collinis