What a week!! It went amazingly fast. I'll start from last Wednesday:
Every week we visit a 94-yr-old lady named Dorothy. I adore her. She is still totally with it and has a hilarious sense of humor. She is always joking about the pioneer women and wonders how they went to the bathroom with all those loads of clothes on. She loves to see us and always gives us a big kiss when we leave. I want her to be my grandma! She says things like "it's colder than the Dickens in here" and "we thought she was getting shipped off to Timbukto" (about Madsen). She is just so funny.
Later that day we had interviews with President. Mine was maybe a total of five minutes. Basically he says, "Are you happy and healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually? yes? ok pce." haha nothing too exciting. After interviews we went on sister exchanges. Madsen came into my area and I went into her area with her companion, Sister Coloumbe. Sister Coloumbe is from Quebec and has a thick French accent. I love it. I said something jokingly and she was like, "I don't know what that means but I think I agree" (in the thick accent), it was funny. I like her. I got to teach their investigator, Amanda, who was so fun and bubbly. She crochets and she made a carrot. I loved it so much that she gave it to me! I named him Garret the Carrot, or Garry for short.
Thursday was windy and cold. Coloumbe and I walked around and then went and did service for the Relief Society president. We did a couple member visits and then exchanged companions at three. Overall the exchange was good - I loved being in Madsen's area so I know where she lives and the people she works with. It made me happy.
When I got back to my area, we visited another older lady, Milda. She gave us a bunch of her clothes. Ha, she is so nice. She always tells us stories of her growing up and being a young mom. She loves to chat and we have fun listening to her. Later we went and shared a lesson with the Whitakers. They have three boys and the youngest is a girl. They are easily one of my favorite families because they are so fun and crazy. We also went and taught Rickie and Meg, which we do every Tuesday and Thursday night so that was same old.
Friday we had weekly planning. That night we had dinner with Jess and she got us Taco Bell. Previous to my mission I hadn't eaten Taco Bell in over two years, but Madsen loves it so we went a couple times. I rediscovered my love for Taco Bell, but Friday night I remembered why I swore it off. I was up till one a.m., totally sick to my stomach. It was awful! I still love Taco Bell (baja chicken chalupa, yes please), but I guess I have to pay the consequences for eating cheap food.
Saturday our ward had a bring-a-friend bike hike. We went for the lunch and got to talk to a couple non-members and hang out with the youth. It was so fun! I love being around the YM/YW (young men/young women). It makes me miss my teenage days and wish I had been better about missionary work when I had the chance. We did a whole bunch of contacting (walking around and hoping to run into people to talk to about the gospel) and then we went to a convert baptism. I love convert baptisms. The Spirit is always so strong and it's awesome to see someone change their entire lives for what they know to be truth. She was previously at Saddleback, which is the huge church around here that everyone belongs. We always, always, always run into Saddleback people, which a lot of times end up being bashers. Her baptism was great and in January we will get to teach her the new-member lessons!
Sunday we had Church. A guy gave us a couple hundred boxes of granola bars and cereal so we went around and gave some out to people in the ward. We had a fun dinner with some young couples in the ward and then we went to the Evert's and wrapped Christmas presents. She played some Celine Dion Christmas music which made me miss home, but I loved it! I love Christmas!
Monday was bomb. We had an awesome district meeting. Rokobuli and I made a missionary Jeopardy game to play and the elders had fun being competitive. Later in the day we went contacting and shared a Book of Mormon with a really nice girl. We exchanged numbers and hope to follow up with her. At dinner, there was a non-member. I decided to be sneaky and teach her by asking a bunch of questions to her son-in-law who knows a ton about the gospel. I love secretly teaching people haha. Later, we tracted an apartment complex and shared another Book of Mormon with a really nice girl who was recently invited by a Mormon guy to go to a Mormon party. It made me so happy! We finished the night teaching Jess and baby Oliver which is always fun. It was a great Monday!
All week we have been teaching people about the birth of our Savior and about the real meaning of Christmas. It's been an educational experience for me. I love that as a missionary, my focus isn't on getting people the best gifts, but on what the Savior's birth meant to the world. We can overcome every temptation or trial because that little baby boy was born into the world to take upon him the sins of the world. He makes up the difference for us because we cannot do it ourselves. There is a talk by Elder Holland that I love and use as a motivator when I am down. This is a little excerpt from it:
When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing in the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Heavenly Father's gift to us was His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ's gift to us was the atonement. All week we have been asking people what their gift will be this Christmas to our Savior. That is my challenge to you. Take is seriously, evaluate your life and set a goal to change in a positive way as your gift to our Savior.
Love you all! Merry Christmas!!!