Hello family! I love you and miss you all! Here is a copy of my parts of my President's letter. Just wanted you to know what's happening down here in the bayou!
"Insight into the Christmas story-
So this past week during media time, I watched the 9 minute Bible video about the Savior's birth and it shows the shepherds and the wise men and everything. And I had an interesting thought - both the shepherds and the wisemen came unto Christ, but they came in different times and in different ways. The shepherds came on the night of His birth- they came to the Savior right away to see and worship and to go and tell. I think that these are like those golden investigators- they have some experience or a life time of preparation and then when the message comes they come immediately to the gospel. But the wisemen took a bit longer. In the Bible video, it shows the wisemen coming to see the Christ child about two or three years after Christ's birth. But they still came. Their worship and gifts weren't counted any less than the shephereds' worship just because it took longer. They still came. And this really hit me - I always need reminders to be patient with the "wisemen investigators" - just because they don't come right now doesn't mean they are not coming. It is humbling to realize that each child of God will come in his own way and own time, and I need to have patience and trust in the Lord's timing. I know it's kind of a stretch but it's an analogy that really hit me. :)
So guess what? This week we only taught 15 lessons, but we were working so hard to be Spirit-led, and despite the numbers, I feel so good about our work. It feels like we really taught people, we loved them, and we tried to focus on their needs instead of numbers or quotas. I really feel like I am coming to truly love the people of this area. I mean, I loved them before, but this week, as we tried to listen to the Spirit as we planned for them, taught them, and prayed about them, I felt even more loved, and the Spirit was present much stronger than before, touching their hearts and ours. Sister Klein, who struggles to be brave enough to share a scripture that comes to her mind, shared a scripture in almost every lesson. And I was able to have the courage I needed to follow promptings. Some of those propmtings resulting in teaching opportunities, but I really learned that Heavenly Father doesn't care about our numbers. He cares about His children. I learned this when I followed a prompting to go try to see a less active who is barely ever home. I thought maybe we were supposed to go to her house because maybe we would find an investigator along the way, but no - when we got to her house, she was home, and awake, and in need of help - she was running late for a single adult potluck in Gonzalez, and she needed to get dressed and do her hair and everything but she had a glaze that she was making for her sweet potato casserole that needed constant stirring, and she wasn't going to have enough time to get dressed, do hair, put on make up, and stir the glaze for 25 minutes. So I stirred to glazed and made sure it didn't burn. And Sister Klein did the dishes, which she wasn't asked to do but it needed doing. And we didn't get to teach her and it didn't contribute to our numbers, but this sweet sister said, "You showed up at just the right time! I didn't know what I was going to do! Thank you!" and it was as if Heavenly Father was saying to me "Quit worrying about numbers. I don't worry about numbers - I worry about my children, and I care deeply about the details of their lives, and that's what I need you to do - care. Care about these people and their lives, and help Me to help them feel of my perfect love." It was a really humbling, amazing experience.
The Book of Mormon-
Lastly, I want to share with you my newfound desire to feast from the Book of Mormon daily. It was a really hard week emotionally for me. But I realized it was because I had been neglecting my spiritual and physical welfare. I had gotten lazy with exercise, I had gotten lazy in my studies, and I had failed to take care of my most basic physical and spiritual needs. And the effect was obvious - I struggled to maintain my focus and stability. So, I just want to say that I am back! I am back to doing the little things, and recommitting to the time-tested devotional practices. I want to get more out of my studies, I want to put more heart into my prayers, and I want to take seriously the care of my physical body. I need the Book of Mormon in my life daily, and I need all the other small and simple things we do as missionaries to help me have the strength I need to keep on keeping on. We can't rely only on the enabling power of the Atonement - we must do all we can do and THEN He makes up what we lack."
Love you all and hope your Christmas season is as wonderful as you are!