|Festival of Lights Wisconsin style!!|
|My district from this transfer. They are great!|
|Caroling to Janet|
|Walking to our dinner appointment on Christmas Eve|
|Christmas Eve dinner with the Feriante's|
Opening our presents from Grandma and Grandpa
|My loot from this Christmas|
Sister Kelley's family has the tradition of having lemon poppyseed muffins and orange juice on Christmas morning, so that is what we did!
|Our apartment sign decorated for Christmas|
Check out all this snow we got for Christmas!
|Talking to the world's best family!|
|Christmas morning with the Gardner's|
|Elsa is our best friend. Also, this is what she did when I asked for a cheesy smile.|
|Opening our gifts from Emily|
Also- I only got 2 pictures and the lighting makes it so you either can't see me or can't see you haha.
This is the one who teaches us how to knit. She knitted us some fingerless mittens for Christmas!
|Decorating gingerbread houses|
|This is Aunt Sally!|
All the missionaries in our ward with our amazing ward mission leader
|Our Christmas Corner!|
|These are the cutest Christmas stockings this world has ever seen|
|In our apartment. We hung up this art piece that Emily Dimond made for us.|
Long time, no see! Except not really. It was so fun to get to see and talk to all of you. Definitely the highlight of my entire week. I am so grateful for you guys.
Ok first things first, we found out that I am going to be staying here in Madison for another transfer with Sister Kelley! YAY! #prayerworks! I am glad because for the past couple of transfers there have been a lot of changes for me with getting new companions and a new area. So I am glad that Sister Kelley and I get to stick together here and keep working hard. We are seeing a lot of miracles so I am pumped to see what this coming transfer has in store. The next transfer is going to be on February 11.
Tuesday we had a special Christmas meeting with all of the missionaries in our zone. Because it was Joseph Smith's birthday that day, we focused and talked about the different truths and doctrines that have been restored to the earth because of him. It was a really cool meeting. It made me realize that I take for granted having so many of these restored truths in my life. I am also so grateful that I am a missionary because there are so many people that don't know them or don't understand them. But I get to tell everyone about it! It is great. :) After that meeting, we went with the Elders in our ward to go Christmas caroling to a Nepali family that the Elders are teaching. It was such a cool experience! We sang them some American Christmas carols and then they sang us some Nepali Christmas carols. It was so neat! It really helped me to realize that people everywhere, all around the world, celebrate the birth of their Savior in such different and special ways. Then later that evening we got to see Kendall! Because she was out of town all week this was the first time that we got to see her since her baptism and confirmation. She is doing well and is still feeling so good about everything. She told us that she has been able to feel the influence of the Spirit more in her life now that she has the gift of the Holy Ghost. So good to be able to see Kendall again!
Wednesday was Christmas Eve! We got together with our district and had a district lunch together and then went to do some more caroling. We went to go see Janet who I think I have told you about a lot. She was so happy that we came to see her. I wish you could have seen her face light up when all of us walked in to sing to her. Later that night we got to have Christmas Eve dinner with the Feriante family. She is an AMAZING cook and it was fun to get to be with little kids to feel the Spirit and excitement of Christmas on Christmas Eve. I just love the Feriante's! After that, we got to go over and spend the rest of the night with Rachel and her family! Spending Christmas Eve with Rachel was such a cool experience. Because she has been Jewish her whole life, this was her first Christmas! They went all out. They were all wearing their Christmas jammies and Santa hats when we got there. We read some scriptures from the Book of Mormon and talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how that is really what we should be celebrating at Christmas time. That is one thing that I have learned from Rachel- not to take the Atonement for granted. The Atonement is something new to her too, so it is so exciting. I have known about the Atonement of Jesus Christ my whole life, but this was Rachel's first time being able to celebrate it. It was so amazing. Rachel told us that every time she looks at her Christmas tree, she thinks of the Atonement. That is something I will never forget. I hope that I will think of the Atonement every time I look at our Christmas tree from now on. We got to open some presents and eat gingerbread cookies and drink hot chocolate. And we all played games with each other. It was pretty much the best possible Christmas Eve you could possibly imagine.
CHRISTMAS DAY! So fun! We woke up in the morning and sang a few Christmas hymns and opened our presents. We were very blessed. There were quite a few ward members that had given us some gifts to open on so that was a lot of fun. We made lemon poppyseed muffins and orange juice because that is Sister Kelley's family tradition on Christmas. So that was super fun and delicious. Then we headed over to the Gardner's for some Christmas morning festivities and lunch. They are one of my absolute favorites. And their daughter Elsa is my best friend. Then we got to head over to the Dimond's to talk to you guys! BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER! It was so fun to get to talk to you guys. Glad to hear that all is well back at home and that you guys had a good Christmas. For sure, the fastest Skype call of my life. Emily Dimond had made us these cute little craft things with our favorite scriptures on them for Christmas. She really helped to make this Christmas special. I am so grateful for her. And then we spent Christmas night with the Dimond's and a few other member families in our ward. By the end of the night, we were EXHAUSTED and all Christmased out!
The day after Christmas we got to visit with some less-active members. We got to see the one that teaches us how to knit. She made us some cute mittens for Christmas and we frosted gingerbread houses together. We did some other contacting around the Capitol building and finished some of our weekly planning.
We got to see Aunt Sally and church on Sunday! That was a lot of fun! She is so sweet and we are excited to be able to see her later this week. We got to meet Bob's sister Becky and her family.
Overall, it was such an amazing Christmas. There were a lot of things that I missed about being home for the holidays, but there is nothing like being a missionary and full-time servant of the Lord at Christmas time. It was such an honor to be able to wear my Savior's name as I taught others of his birth and life this Christmas season. I think the reason this Christmas was so special to me is because it wasn't just centered on Christ. I feel like my Christmases in the past have been pretty Christ centered. But this time, it was more focused on the Atonement. After all, that is the reason that our Savior was born into the world. I am so grateful for him and the relationship that I have with him. He truly is my Savior. I love Him and I know that He lives.
I love you all!
Mahonri Moriancumerry Christmas to all! And to all a good Lamanite!
See ya on Mother's Day!