They are only giving me 20 minutes to write and so I am going to make this as fast as possible. I won't have enough time to write individual notes but I will be sending individual Christmas letters in the mail soon. I am sorry that it will be late:( There is no time!!
Ok! So Sunday was one of the best days so far here at the MTC. In the morning, all of the sisters have the opportunity to listen to Music & the Spoken Word, and then we have Relief Society, and then Sacrament Meeting. I love my branch presidency - they are such good examples to me and make it feel like I have a family here at the MTC. One of the members of the presidency's wife told a really cool Christmas story and if I have time at the end I will tell it to you too. But after that we had a District Meeting with just the President and his wife... The spirit was so strong. I started crying about 4 times and I just promised myself that I would make the very most of my time here at the MTC and on my mission.
They told the story about Gordon B. Hinckley when he was struggling on his mission and his father sent him a letter saying "Forget yourself, and go to work." It reminds me of the advice that dad gave me before I left. Anyway, later that day we had the opportunity to go on a temple walk and I don't know how it was in Salt Lake, but here in Provo, the weather was BEAUTIFUL. It wasn't too cold and it was lightly snowing.. it made me grateful that I could enjoy the snow before I go to the land of heat and humidity. I was throwing snow balls at everyone and laughing my head off but then I got in trouble... whoops! But it was so much fun.
Then later that night, I had the opportunity to sing with the choir. WOW!!!! I LOVED IT! The songs that we sang were so beautiful and the spirit was strong as we sang with all of those missionaries. We performed one song last night for Christmas Eve and we are going to perform one today. That night we had a devotional and the speakers were so inspiring. Again, it just made me so excited to try and become as selfless as possible and just serve.
They had a special guest. Mom, do you remember "The District" that we watched before I left as a part of my missionary training? Well, they had one of the sisters in that movie come and speak to us. She just expressed how her mission was one of the best experiences of her life and she still wishes that she could be sitting where we were sitting. It was so sweet and I can't remember everything she told us, but she just said how the spirit is so important in conversion. You aren't going to be converting the people you teach, but Heavenly Father will through the confirmation of the Holy Ghost. I pray to have the spirit with me.
Monday, something very special happened. My companion, Sister Temwaaka comes from very humble circumstances. The first week she was part of a program that gives clothing, shoes, and supplies to missionaries in need. She received shoes but they were just too narrow. She has pretty wide feet and it hurt her so much she couldn't walk. She was telling me how frustrated she was with her feet and said she wanted to chop off the side of her foot. SO SAD! Anyway, I talked to the Branch President's wife, Sister Anderson, about it and she said that she would take care of it.
Monday was Sister Temwaaka's birthday and someone came over the intercom and said she had an appointment at 11. We went to the appointment, and it was Sister Anderson's brother. He had us sign some papers, and then she came to pick us up. We got to leave the MTC and go to the University Mall on a mission to find my companion some good shoes. Sister Anderson was so determined and faithful that we would be able to do it, and she was paying for them out of her own pocket. We went to a million stores, and it was difficult because her feet are so wide, but she finally found two pairs. They didn't fit perfectly right but a woman from one of the stores said that she would stretch them out and they ended up fitting her!!!! She was so happy because she hated her old shoes (THEY WERE TERRIBLE) and now she could walk around comfortable. It made me realize how much I take for granted... thank you for helping me with all of my mission clothes and shoes and everything!!!
Yesterday was Christmas Eve. We taught a lesson to our investigator and the entire thing is always in Tagalog. I don't understand ANYTHING he says but we do our best. Sometimes my companion and me burst out laughing in the middle because we are so confused. It is difficult and sometimes frustrating but definitely a good experience. That night was the Christmas Eve devotional and they had David Evans, from the 70, and his wife come and speak to us. The spirit was SO SO stong. Stronger than ever. I know more than ever that this is where I need to be. He talked about his own mission experience, and how it was so difficult for him to learn Japanese. But he finally just got on his knees and said "Heavenly Father, I cannot learn this language without your help." He was able to do it and teach and had some incredible experiences, most of which I cannot remember right now but they are in my notes.
Then we watched a video of Christ's birth and then Mr. Krueger's Christmas, which is a super cheesy movie from the 80's but it was so touching. I loved it. They gave Jr. Mints and Milk Duds to all of the missionaries and it was just such a wonderful night. It helped me to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas - the humble birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. He loves us more than we can comprehend and understands us and He his our best friend. I love Him and I want to give my life back to him this season and over the next 18 months. Last night one of the speaker's said, "The best way to celebrate is by doing His work" and that is what I hope to do.
I love you all so much. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas morning. Just remember why we are celebrating. Mom and dad...I love hearing about all of the families that you are helping this season through your Missionary Calling. You are such examples to me and tell Annie and Priscilla and everyone hi for me and that I love them. Please continue sending the stories because they are inspirational to me.
Thank you so so much for the oranges, chocolate orange, and my RETAINER!!! Perfect Christmas gift and I loved that you included the story of the Christmas Orange. Yesterday me and all of the sisters in my room at some of the oranges and read the story. I am glad that I can give my slice back by serving a mission. So so grateful. Thank you!!! Oh and thank you for the pictures and notes.
Merry Christmas all of you. I love and miss you so much. I will e-mail again on Saturday.
p.s. I have run into both Bailee Bourgeois and Eliza Glauser. I will try and snag a picture with them. I can't send pictures until Saturday.