Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 56: "I'M STAYING, BABY!"

December 15, 2014
Dear my rays of sunshine,

Yes, great news - I get to stay here for a third transfer with Sister Capitan! I've never been so happy about a transfer call. I feel so incredibly blessed to be here. This means I will have spent 4/5ths of my mission serving in Boise, rather than in Meridian, Star, or Eagle.

Are you all getting in the Christmas Spirit? What kind of things have you been up to? I don't know if I've ever been as excited for Christmas as I am now. I just love this season out on the mission. People are so much more open to hearing about Christ. I don't think I've ever felt as much gratitude as I do now for this season, and the true meaning of it.

This week has been a little different than most, as many Christmas events happened. We had our Missionary Christmas Party! That was a lot of fun. Many Elders and Sisters shared talents - uni-cycling, Polynesian dancing, singing parodies, harmonica, violin, etc. Then came the devotional part. I had the chance to sing "Mary Did You Know." I accidentally switched some lyrics, but it went alright. It was a great experience. And there was great food!

We had our Hillside Ward Party - and a few less active families came, which was awesome. The primary kids sang, the Elders Quorum Sang, and they asked me to sing as well.

We got in to some non-members homes in Hidden Springs, and were able to share, "He is the Gift" with them. Overall the reception of it is very positive.

The highlight of the week was putting on the Progressive Nativity at a farm in Hidden Springs! This is the first time they've put it on - we were there when the idea came up in Ward Council. So cool to see things from beginning to end. At the last minute, the night before, they asked if I could be in it. Of course I said yes. Sister Capitan rocked it at the end, talking to people as they had food and hot chocolate, and giving out "Joy to the World" dvd's and showing He is the Gift continuously on a computer and giving out cards. They had me in the Bethlehem Scene. People would gather in groups of 10, and be led by a young man guide. They would first take them to an Inn. Outside of the inn was a fire with a family huddled. I was be a towns person, and sing "Oh little Town of Bethlehem" to start the scene off. Then a narrator would quote Luke 2, and Mary and Joseph would come in and knock on the door - only to be told there is no room in the inn. Then they would walk off. This process was repeated for two hours - probably about 25 - 30 times. I bet over 200 went through, most of them not members of our faith. :) It was an amazing missionary opportunity. It was cold, but fun. I tried to switch up my scene every time, interacting with it in different ways.

The next scene was the three kings with their gifts, pointing out the star in the distance. They sang "We Three Kings". Next, the group was led out to the edge of the farm lawn, where shepherds were herding sheep - and the angels came, told of Christ's birth, and sang.

And at the very end, was the stable with the baby. Yes, they had a live baby in it. :) What was amazing was what happened when it was all over. The actors got to see the scenes as we went through the last time, and so the wise men went in to get pictures "presenting" the gifts to the baby Jesus. When they came in, baby Jesus sat up, and smiled a huge smile, reaching out towards the wise men. It's definitely something seeing three grown men almost cry.

Keep on pressing forward! It all will work out in the end. I love you all so much, and my appreciation grows in this season. It's all about family, and I can't help but smile when I think of memories of our crazy family. The Temple President's wife spoke in Stake Conference about her kid's most memorable Christmas's. It was never memories the gifts they received. It was always memories of the feelings they had. I know that that is true in my life.

May we all feel that joy.


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