Feliz Navidad everyone!!!!!! How are you all? I love you and miss you so much!
First, Thank yous. Thanks to Sharon for the letter, Joanna for the Christmas card, Mimi for the Christmas card, Sister Webber for the Christmas package. Didi for the Christmas package that I may have opened a few days early but I love love love it! Thank you to Brooke for the Christmas package as well. I will definitely be using those snow boot traction things soon and it is good because I did not want to injure myself this Christmas and we are walking a lot. Thanks to Tiffany for the Pre-Christmas package. My tummy is full of chocolate and Christmas mix and it is so happy. I loved the nativity and the lights and stuff too. It was awesome! I have definitely been feeling the love lately and I just have such an appreciation for family right now.
Okay everyone, so I am in Fort Morgan. I am in one of the tiniest town in Colorado. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Besides the elders here in Ft Morgan, there are no other missionaries for an hour in any direction. That is weird for me but I love it. This week has been full of miracles and humbling experiences and Sister Luke and I have had a blast. Greeley has been my home for so long but I am really falling in love with Fort Morgan. It smells worse than Greeley but man is it beautiful! Also, we get to drive a truck. I get to drive the “white buffalo” as the elders have called it. It is awesome. I love it!
Miracle #1 So, we got here Tuesday night. That was a miracle. We were following the elders in a car, and neither Sister Luke nor I had ever been here and the Elders decided to speed past a truck and we lost them and we didn’t have a phone yet because we are a new area and it was terrifying but we got to Fort Morgan and then we went into a 7/11 to get directions and we found the elders! We were safe. That was a miracle. We got to our apartment just before 9pm, unpacked a bit and went to bed
Miracle #2 Wednesday, we got up, did studies, and then what? We didn’t know what to do. We talked to some people in the ward and then Sis Schenneman called us. She works at Caring Ministries. A Just Serve program that happened to be down the street. We went down there and they needed help with some stuff. We got to help and learn about the organization. It was awesome. We also met Aric. He is a pastor of another church. He was serving along with us and we got talking. We talked about the ups and downs of missionary life. We talked about leaving family, trying to help people change, we talked about Christ and how he was in many ways, not traditional for his time. We talked about tons of things and then, he asked if we would come to dinner at his home and meet his wife. HOW AWESOME! Our first day in town and we are already making friends with other churches. It was so great! He was such an awesome guy and I just realized that there is so much goodness in so many different places.
Miracle #3 Wednesday, we met up with the Elders because we are working on how to split up this area. We are primarily focused on Spanish but we also need to help support the ward. There are a TON of Less-actives and we were asked to figure out how to best support the ward. Elder Welch, an new elder in the area, came up with a brilliant idea that we all worked on. It was great! We talked to the ward mission leader and he is totally on board. It is going to take a lot of work but all 4 of us missionaries, and the ward council want to see miracles in the ward and we are excited to make it happen.
Miracle #4 Also on Wednesday, we had some appointments that the ward had already set up for us. One was for a Maria. She used to be in the Spanish branch but moved to Fort Morgan awhile ago and lost contact with people. Many people in the branch told me to try and find her. No one could give me any of her contact information though so I didn’t know how I would. Then, I looked at the calendar and saw that the ward had already scheduled an appointment for us with her. I fulfilled my promise to the branch and we are working now with one of the Spanish less-actives.
Miracle #5 So the elders have been doing some service and been bellringing for the salvation army outside of local stores. We decided to hop on board and did it Wednesday afternoon. We decided to sing Christmas Carols as a way of encouraging people to contribute. We sang Christmas Carols for 2 straight hours. My throat was killing by the end but we beat the record for the most money every collected in that time period. The next day, we competed with the elders. They were at one entrance of walmart and we were at the other. We dressed up in red and white and sang for another 2 hours. We collected even more and beat the elders. It was super fun and a really neat experience. We got to share our testimonies through carols and also collected for a charity. I felt that I was fulfilling my purpose as a missionary because we were indeed inviting others to come unto to Christ. We were singing about His birth. It was awesome. Also, a miracle that we could do that for four hours.
Miracle #6 One evening this week, we had a dinner and then had nothing planned for 2 hours. We were thinking of just going finding when we got a call from the zone leaders. They had found Sister Luke’s scriptures (that had gotten left in Greeley) and were bringing them. Sister Luke had also hurt her wrist that day and was wanting a blessing. We met up with the zone leaders and got her scriptures and she was able to get an amazing blessing. It was awesome!
Miracle #7 This ward is super excited about having sister missionaries. It has been years since they had any and the support from the ward has been amazing. I have never felt so loved by so many strangers in my life. People have offered us rides and our dinner calendar was full for the week before we even got here. We also already had many invitations for Christmas eve and Christmas day. It was awesome and so humbling. We hope to work hard to be able to live up to their expectations.
Miracle #8 We got to help with the Christmas Shoppe for Caring Ministries. They have been collecting donations for a long time so they could have toys and clothes and food to give out to families that otherwise wouldn’t get a Christmas. We got to help with that all day Saturday. It was beyond freezing but it was so great to be able to help! We also got to use our Spanish and help some families that didn’t speak English. It was awesome! It was so humbling and everyone was so grateful. I loved helping and it helped me focus on loving and serving here in this area. the people here are awesome! I feel so humbled to be able to work with Caring Ministries and serve in this community.
Miracle #9 We had ward council Sunday at 8am. We don’t have a car and hadn’t scheduled a ride so we decided to walk. We planned to leave at 7:20 in the morning but left a few minutes late. We were walking (it isn’t that far, maybe a 2 miles, maybe a bit less, not sure) and trying to walk fast in 18 degree weather because we didn’t want to be late. A woman pulled over and asked if we wanted a ride. She seemed nice so we said yes. Turns out she is a less -active Spanish member. Because of her, we had plenty of time before ward council and didn’t freeze. It was such a tender mercy and she is so sweet. I love it!
Miracle #10 We went tracting yesterday and we decided to got caroling. We figured that people might respond more openly to carols than to other door approaches. We did not have any success. Not a soul was home, or if they were, they were not willing to open the door. We still caroled and tried our best. It hit me when we were singing that I was so happy. I knew what I was singing was true. I knew it and it gave me such comfort. It didn’t matter that no one wanted to hear our message at that time. It didn’t matter, because I knew that I was doing what Christ wanted me to do. I was sharing the glad tiding of great joy. I was sharing His gospel through song. It was awesome! Also, as we started walking back towards our apartment. We ran into the Hernandez family. They are in thee Spanish branch in Greeley and they were up here to visit people. It was such a tender mercy. It made my day to be able to see them for a few minutes! I loved it!
Miracle #11 We had dinner last night with a family in our ward. They are really sweet. The husband served his mission in Ecuador. He is a fluent Spanish speaker. We have been looking for someone to translate sacrament meeting for us so we can get the Spanish congregation to start coming back to the ward. He is totally willing to do it! We were so pumped because now we don’t have to translate church! yay!!!!
Oh to top it off, it snowed this morning! It was actually warmer than it has been in a few days but it snowed and it looks beautiful and I really wanted to enjoy a white Christmas and it is awesome! Family, Friends, I love you all tons. You are so wonderful to me. Family, Cant wait to call or Skype on Wednesday! Everyone else, Feliz Navidad!! Hope your Christmas is spiritual and merry and focused on Christ. I feel so blessed to have a Christmas as a representative as Christ. How awesome that I get to share the Christmas story with people. It is so awesome!! I love you all so much! Thank you for the prayers and letters and support.
Oh, also, I will be moving just after the new year. I will send you my future address next week. However, the elders will start living in this apartment after we leave so if you send stuff there, they can pass it on to me. Love you all so so so much! have the most fabulous Christmas and happy new year! I love you all so much!
Tengan un feliz navidad!