Happy Thanksgiving (Día de Gracia)!! I saw some pictures and it looks like a blast. Love you all so much.
This week was just….crazy. A good kind of crazy, though. It is outrageously fun with Hermana Alexander and this time of year here in the Bronx. I love Hermana Alexander so much and it is so much fun to be serving with her. Plus, since we are both just starting our third cycles, we both have that “greenie fire” in us still–at least I think/hope so. And I’ll admit that I was feeling a little stressed at the beginning with taking over the area, but the Lord is helping me along. He always does and I am so eternally grateful for that and His unending radical mercy. I often wonder what He thinks when He sees us running after buses or tripping in the street or barely escaping being Bronxed (stepping in dog poop). More than anything, I just picture Him up there giggling and smiling and saying, “Oh, bless their hearts.” I think it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are not good enough, or our small work here in this portion of the vineyard is not good enough, etc. I feel like I am preaching to the choir–I need to hear this more than anyone–but I think that if we would just slow down and remember that He is our loving Heavenly Father–Papa Dios, as they say in Spanish (which I LOVE)–then we would feel strengthened and hopeful as we each “run after our bus” or trip and fall. How wonderful it is to know that we have a Savior, a Redeemer, and Friend right there to pick us up and help us get back on track.
My heart is full and I stand all amazed at the love our Savior offers each of us! Confused at His grace and humbled by His mercy.
For Thanksgiving we went to an inactive member’s home and had a wonderful time. For the first time on my mission I got to serve myself how much food I wanted! It was awesome. Thanksgiving here is basically the same as all the meals (arroz y habichuela) and then some turkey thrown in. It was awesome. The woman we visited is a giant sweetheart. Her name is Radaisa. She is a social worker and told us the background of her life and why she is what she is and does what she does. When she was little, her mom used to go throughout their home, take every type of medicine they had and all of their blankets, and head out into the neighborhood and just distribute it to the kids and the families that needed it. Radaisa explained how she would get so mad when she was little. She couldn’t believe the nerve of her mother to take Radaisa’s favorite blanket and just give it away. Her mom would sit her down and tell her that she could receive a new blanket soon and explained again and again the difference she was making in someone’s life. As I am typing I am cutting her story really short, but it touched my heart. She serves with all her heart the people she works with now. Her example of loving kindness and service strengthens my own desires to go forth and do likewise. Later that night, we went to the Familia De Jesus’ for a dinner, too. They are such kind people. I am grateful for their kindness and love toward us.
Status report: Juana has dropped off the face of the planet and my heart is a little broken. I don’t know where she went or what happened. We are still trying to call and and meet. But anyway, just a heads up. This work is hard and the adversary will do anything to keep any more of the Lord’s precious children from entering into the waters of baptism. But still, we fight! And the battle is worth the victory every stinkin’ day.
On Sunday there was a talk about prayer that really touched my heart. I thought of how before we go to bed at night, it is our accountability before the Lord–it’s our time to check in with Him just like we check in with our parents when we come home each night before we go to bed. I picture Him waiting up all night for us to “check in.” He loves us so much. When I picture Him pacing the floor until I come to Him to close my day in prayer, and then picture Him there with me, listening intently on what happened today and what I learned, my prayers seem to be more meaningful. To Him and to me. What a powerful tool we have that we can converse freely with our Father in Heaven! I love what Elder Scott said last general conference: “as you exercise that agency and include Him in every aspect of your daily life, your heart will begin to fill with peace, buoyant peace. That peace will focus an eternal light on your struggles.” Amen.
We are watching the He’s the Gift video with everyone we talk to, and their dog. I love that video and I want the whole world to see it. Seriously! Everyone share it! Facebook, use the hashtag, just use it with everything. It is the best.
I am so excited for Christmas, especially as I am working with the Lord to touch the hearts of the people here in the Bronx. If there is anywhere that needs Christmas spirit it is the Bronx. Christmas is hope. It is love and peace. It is Christ. I love it! I heard that there is an interfaith Christmas concert back home in San Clemente, is that right? If so–go to that! It sounds awesome and what better way to share the gospel than to seek for those that are prepared to receive it as they celebrate the birth of their Savior. All we want is for everyone to know their Savior a little better. To walk a little closer to Him. This concert sounds like a wonderful place to bring all people together to celebrate His humble birth in unity and love.
Speaking of Christmas, may I ask for one gift from anyone that wants to give it? I would love to read about your favorite Christmas and why it was your favorite. Maybe family came that you hadn’t seen for a long time, maybe you received a special and meaningful gift, maybe it was just peaceful. Why was it meaningful to you? I would love to hear.
I love you all so much! My heart is full as I think of you and the opportunity I have had to grow up and learn from each one of you. I love my mission. I am grateful for the Lord’s confidence in me and His trust in letting me work and serve with His dear children. It is a little scary and hard to adjust to having just us two greenies take over, but I know the Lord will help us in our labors as we just try our best.
Have a wonderful week! #SharetheGift