Merry Christmas everyone!!
Wow I can't believe it's Christmas, it seriously doesn't feel like Christmas. It's really hot and there is a huge thunder storm outside right now, I'm used to the snow at this time of year! Anyways, I hope you all have a lot of fun plans for Christmas and are planning to eat lots of great food! For me I'm really missing American pies and turkey... If I eat anymore chicken and rice I might die haha. They really like their rice here and this stuff called "pop" which is like compact rice I guess? Not really sure how to explain it but it's nice.
This past week has been fantastic and a lot of fun. Serving others is just a blast each and everyday! I had the chance to give a talk in sacrament yesterday and I decided to talk about well... Christmas of course! Luckily we got the December Liahona just a couple days ago so I was able to look at President Monson's Christmas message. Honestly in all of my times giving a talk I have never felt the spirit more strongly. It's probably my first talk where I literally used hardly any notes and I just said what came to my mind. Everytime I have the opportunity to testify of the Savior's birth, ministry and resurrection I have an indescribable joy come into my heart. I know that Jesus Christ really was born at Bethlehem and came into this world to die for each of us. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much he sent His only begotten into the world for us!
I've never quite felt the true "Christmas spirit" until coming on mission. I feel as though we can really feel the Christmas spirit when we are serving our brothers and sisters. The way we can find happiness at this time of year for ourselves is to help others find happiness. It is such a blessing to go out each and everyday and serve God's children. Despite the challenges and trials we face as missionaries, the memories we create and the joy we feel from the work makes every moment worth it.
I'll share one quick story from this past week. We were going to meet with one of our investigators but as we got there our appointment feel through with him. We decided to go check on one of our investigators to fill the time until our next appointment. As we were walking to this investigators home, I had an audible voice come into my head that said go left not right and go down that road. I shrugged off the thought at first as though my mind was playing tricks but then I had the exact same thought come into my mind and I could not deny it. I told my companion to turn around and lets go down this road. He was a little confused but my companion is really humble so he didn't argue. As we were walking down the road we stopped the first guy we saw. It was a man in his 30's who had just come out of a home. We talked to him for a minute and he told us he was searching for someone. He just "happened" to be in this area although he lives quite far from where we found him. Well we spoke with him for a minute and soon he began to tell us how his family is really struggling and he has a drinking problem. We spoke with him for a few more minutes and scheduled an appointment to go meet with him. We are meeting him after Christmas. Now I don't know if this guy will make progress or what will happen but I do know that the Lord needed us to talk to him at that moment. Do I know why? No, but I know everything happens for a reason.
After talking to that Ntate, we decided to keep walking. Later down the road we saw one of our investigators and her sister carrying a large tub fool of biscuits. We stopped them and asked if we could help them carry it (it was pretty heavy). She thanked us and asked if we could help her sister carry it the rest of the way because she really had to head back home because she was in a rush. So we helped her sister carry it (pretty dang far haha) to the home where they were having a funeral the next day. Now this might not seem like a big deal but had we not originally turned around and acted on the spirit we would have never met that Ntate and we would have never been able to serve these 2 sisters. The Lord wants us to help His children but he is never going to make those service opportunities just "fall" into our lap. We have to listen to the promptings of the spirit and be willing to act on them. Each and everyday we pray for opportunities to serve those around us and it's incredible how those service opportunities arise. Serving those around us is not always convenient, it doesn't always fit into our schedule (carrying that tub of biscuits took a long time) but it's what the Savior would do and it's what our Heavenly Father expects of us as disciples of His son Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to serve God's children. It just reminds me of the scripture in Mosiah 2:17. "When ye are in the service of your fellow being, ye are only in the service of your God." There is an indescribable joy that comes from serving those around us and I hope we may all remember to try and help those around us at this special time of year.
Jesus Christ was born into this world to set the example for us of how to return to our Heavenly Father. May we always strive to emulate His example. I know that I still have a long ways to go but serving a mission in Africa is helping me understand how I can grow closer to my Savior and how I can strive to be a better example to those around me.
Thanks for all of your support and prayers. Merry Christmas once again!!
I love you all!