|"My cute stocking from Sister Tilley" (:|
Hi everyone!(: I hope you have all had an amazing week and a wonderful
Christmas. I can honestly say that this has been the most meaningful Christmas of my entire life, and I am so thankful. We had some really amazing lessons with the Lien family this week. Sister Tahere was able to share her conversion story during dinner with them one night and talked a lot about her father coming into the gospel, and it was powerful, especially for Brother Lien. We went back on Saturday to have FHE with them, and we taught the Restoration. As we did, Brother Lien was so focused. Especially when we shared the First Vision. He didn't break eye contact with me the whole time I relayed Joseph Smith's experience. It was an amazing first lesson, and I know that it's because of the Spirit. The Restoration is the foundation of every good thing, every truth and happiness that lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lien's children participated so much in the lesson, I really admire how spiritually attuned they all are. That family is amazing and I love them so much(: Sister Lien came up to us at church yesterday and was like, "I don't know what you've done, but my husband's heart is softening, so keep it up!".
We knocked a lot of doors this week and it was so much fun(: one door we knocked on, the man yelled, "come in!". We opened the door and stood in the doorway. Bob is an older man, and he has a broken hip. He can't really move and you can see that he is very lonely. He agreed to let us come back(: as we left I said, "We love you!" And he started crying. "I love you too," he yelled. It made my heart happy to know that he felt loved that day. I've decided that people need to hear that they are loved more often. And that is something that is wonderful about the gospel, it helps us to feel that love not only from others, but from Savior and from our Heavenly Father.
|"Me with the cute Tilley kids!" (:|
We got to go caroling with Abby, this amazing young woman in 6th Ward, and her friend. A family that has been struggling with their testimonies let us sing to them and give them cookies, and they were actually really happy to see us(: it was really fun. We met with the Peterson's, a part member family in 6th Ward. They are so awesome. They have a newborn and a cute little 2 year old. While we were teaching, the two year old boy kept wrapping me up in his blanket hahah. It was cute(: his mom was like, "He never shares his blanket with people, so this is a big deal,". Brother Peterson is so great, and he really has a desire to know if the gospel is true. We were able to testify of the power of real and intentional prayer, and how God answers you when you are asking for the right reasons. He agreed to pray, and we are so excited for him!
Christmas Eve was amazing. We had dinner with Marla, this awesome lady in 6th Ward who we love so much. She reminds me a lot of my Nana(: she had her friend Gavin come over and we all had such a fun time eating curry and laughing and talking about the gospel. I love how easy it is to talk about God at the dinner table(: after that, we went to a Christmas Eve service at Bev and Errol's church. We got to meet their granddaughter and we sat in the very front row. We sang hymns and listened to their pastor. At the end, we all lit candles and sang "Silent Night". When we walked into the building, we were met with lots of stares and confused faces. By the end of the service, lots of people came up and talked to us, hugged us, and treated us like friends. We were able to express our love to them and we even got invited to come put bags together for the homeless people with their congregation. So awesome! As we were leaving, we gave the pastor a hug and we passed a man by the stairs. He told us that he used to be LDS and that he served a mission. As he began to say some interesting things about the church, I simply said, "Sir, we love you. God loves you. Merry Christmas,". He smiled and shook our hands. It was so nice to help people see that we are loving, we follow Christ, and we know who it is that we serve.
|"Me with Brother and Sister Tilley, such an awesome family!" (:|
Christmas Day. So awesome. The Tilley's are so wonderful. They had us over for Christmas morning and Sister Tilley made us adorable stockings! They even had presents under the tree for us. It was so sweet(: they are such a Christ-like family. We went and saw Kris after that. She shared a story with us called "The Innkeeper's Wife,". It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. The Spirit was almost tangible as we listened, and as we all shared our gratitude for the Savior, for Mary, for Joseph, and for Heavenly Father. It was beautiful.
I got to Skype with my family after that, and it was the best thing ever. I love them so much. They have all grown and changed so much since I've been gone, and I'm so proud of each one of them. We ended the night with dinner at the Tilley's and then an awesome visit to Robert and Kendra. They had Santa presents for us and it was so cute, I love those humans(:
Out of all the amazing things that happened this week, the experience of meeting Hailey was one of the most sacred things that has happened on my mission. We knocked on a door of a former investigator named George, and a man answered. He told us he was George's brother, and that they were just in town for the day and they'd be leaving the next morning. He was very guarded at first, and it didn't look like he was going to let us in. Then he said, "Do you want to say hi to Hailey?". He stepped out of the way and on the chair by the door sat a beautiful girl. She was curled up in a ball and you could tell that she couldn't move very well. We said hi and waved and smiled and after that he let us inside. Hailey is 25 years old. 2 years ago, she was in a really bad accident that damaged her brain. She is still so smart and can understand things, but she can't speak, she can only move her right hand and her mouth, and she is partially blind. And she is lovely. As we sat there speaking with her uncle, we found out that he and Hailey are both members, but that they haven't been to church since her accident. As we were talking with him, Hailey just kept smiling and signing things at me. Finally I said, "Okay I really want to give her a hug,". He looked at me with a surprised look on his face and said, "She loves hugs!". So I jumped up and he helped her stand and I gave her a hug, and she wrapped her little arms around me and squeezed me as tight as she could and didn't let go. She was making the most excited noises and was so happy, tears filled my eyes. The most overwhelming feeling of pure love for her filled my heart. I know that God put me there that day so that I could hug Hailey. I will never ever forget the way I felt in that moment. Sister T jumped up and it was a group hug for a little bit, and then as we left, Hailey signed "I love you". We signed it back and I started crying. I can't wait for her to be able to run and sing and dance and do all of the things that I know she wants to do. I also know that God loves her so much, and that He knows her pain, her struggles, and her heart. I love Hailey so much. I love my Savior. I love this gospel. It makes me happy(: and I know it can do that for anyone and I know that it brings us peace in this life and joy in the life to come.
I love you all. Have a happy new year!(:
Love, Sister Allen