MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HOLIDAY SEASON
We had one of our dear Grandmas here fall and end up in the hospital for therapy on her leg so we were able to go there a number of times. She was in a room with other grandmas and it was amazing to be there and talk about the gospel and when we prayed the room went completely silent as we blessed the hospital and all that were in it.
For some reason we have given a large number of blessings lately. We averaged a blessing a day last week. We got the idea to call a member and she said that she really needed a blessing. The word got out through that "secret association of grandmas" that talk on the phone in the branch that we can give blessings for anyone that is sick and we had a lot of blessings, haha.
Elder Reese carried a cat in a pink backpack as we went with a member that was in despair over her cat being sick to the vet. It was a different experience, but a good one. She was very thankful.
As missionaries we always ask, "How can we help you?" Someone decided to hold us up on that and asked if we could fix the hinges on her closet. We said, "of course." Well... you know. We tried. When she checked to see if it worked the door ripped off the hinges and she told us that she knows we will not be engineers when we go back home, and then offered us food before we started to try again.
Heard an amazing conversion story of a family who had their daughter go to America for the last two years of High school. She was then converted, decided to go to college, and then eventually got married to a returned missionary. Her being only 15 at the time, she had to ask permission from her parents to get baptized, which then introduced her parents to the church. The mom joined within a year and the husband within 17 years.... it made me feel a little better and compare 3 or 6 months to several years and know that we are doing what we can and it will all work out in the end.
Christmas Eve we were able to go to the temple. We went with Artur, the mini missionary that is usually with us, to pick up his call for his mission! He opened it up with us and others... He got called to Melbourne, Australia!
Christmas! Woke up and opened some presents from my family and also the family of Elder Reese. Notice our nice little tree :)
We then immediately started peeling potatoes for the dinner that night. We were to bring them for the dinner later that night. There was a baptism of two little girls who just turned 8 in the ward right after Church. We wrote our testimonies and had the Bishop and others add theirs, and gave the little girls copies of the Book of Mormon. I sound like a Sister, but they were so cute all dressed up in their white dresses and it was great to see. My favorite part of baptism is actually not the baptism itself, but the giving of the Holy Ghost. When they received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, it felt like there was no roof over my head and heaven was looking down on us. It was a great feeling and this weekend has not lacked those type of feelings.
One of my favorite things to do is bless the Sacrament for the grandmas and spend time with them on Sunday. But, I remember at home that was a great responsibility and I really wanted to get the Young Men involved here in doing in so they could do it on their own. For 3 months or so we have taken different young men with us and this last Sunday two of them went and did it on their own. It was great to see and I know it will bless their lives.
I have tried really hard to "Find the lost sheep" in the ward and one of them involved a 20 year old named Daniel. His mom died this last year and he hadn't been to the ward for about 2 years. We have called and called him and nothing has worked. We called and invited him to the baptism and he came! The ward absolutely smothered him with attention, hugs, tears, and love. I was truly seeing the "prodigal son" unfold before my eyes. It was amazing how they reacted to him and helped him out. He was able to see my family while we skyped and we set up a lunch with him this next week. I would say that was a miracle. The ward kept saying, "Good job, Elders!" to us, but we honestly didn't do a thing. The Lord prepares the hearts of those that are willing to change, and I believe that Daniel had hit a point where he was ready to change. He even discussed a mission with us. Crazy stuff.
Skype was also great. I was able to talk with my future sister-in-law, Cassie. It was great to see and meet her. Travis is a lucky guy. The family is great and it was nothing but pure happiness to be able to talk to them. A great boost.
To end Christmas, we went to the house of our Ward Mission leader. He and his wife are my best friends and work in the temple. There was great food, and I was happy to spend my last Christmas here in Ukraine with them.
Today, we were able to go to the house of an investigator and grill some chicken, make burritos, and even did s'mores. Great day.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a happy New Year! Be safe and look out for others!
Yes I did look out the window for Santa and Rudolph on Christmas Eve with my buddy John...