Thursday, March 6, 2014

Christmas Morning!

Well I have to say that Christmas day had to be one of the most distracting days of my whole mission. I was thinking about what I would talk to my family about, what they would have to say, did Kamber have her baby? I just couldn't wait!( MOM note: No baby yet!)
Christmas eve was when the festivities truly began. We went to carol to Sister Janacke, who was more than happy for the surprise visit. She willingly shared her sparkling grape juice, crackers and cheese. We sang a few Christmas songs, but mostly she just liked our company. Then we went to Carrie's for a quick visit. She of course had a little gift for Sister Brown and I. We shared a quick message about the Book of Mormon and about the birth of Jesus Christ. Then we stopped by a few families to drop off a few Christmas gifts. Then it was off to the Parker's house. Dinner was amazing. They make us feel like we are part of the family and I love it when people do that. I think that that really helps me feel not so homesick during the holiday season. We had dinner, we sang Christmas carols (along with playing the musical instruments), santa came to see us and give us candy, and then we acted out the Nativity.

Christmas morning we went to the Bishop's house for breakfast and for stockings. The Pearson family was so nice to think to invite us over. They sure made sure we were taken care of. We started by reading the Christmas story of Luke once again, but don't get me wrong it was worth hearing again. I always seem to learn something new or hear something new. After some excitement of opening stockings and presents, Sister Brown and I went to the car for some study time between appointments.
just a few treasures from Karee's stocking

Sis J Brown

Elf Karee
We then went over to the McIntyre family to share some more Christmas traditions. They gave us both some yummy Lindt chocolate and some very warm slippers! We also enjoyed a very delicious lunch. Then we had some time between then and when we were supposed to be at the Jarnagin's house to skype home. Believe me I was dying from anticipation. We decided to do a few stop by. We caroled to the few that were actually home. Then skype time, the time that I had been waiting for all day! The Jarnagins were very thoughtful and made sure to have everything ready for us to call our families. (Sorry family, I guess I got a little mixed up on the timing.)
Karee and her brother, Calvin(serving a mission in Texas) skyping

I feel like the time to skype was short. I didn't really know what to talk about or what to ask. It was really just nice to see them all and hear their voices. My family is pretty random and we came up with enough things to talk about. But I still came up with things to ask or topics to talk about after I signed out. The Jarnagins welcomed us into their Christmas evening dinner, presents and games. It was a very enjoyable and fulfilling evening. I taught them how to play the whipped topping game, and got a few videos, but sadly didn't get any pictures.

Remember Mary? She is the one that started talking to us while we were waiting for the elevator and then later invited us over to her house when we told her that we speak Spanish. Well we went over to her house and ... She is already a member. Apparently it has been a very long time. She was so sweet and invited us to come back. We tried to stop by on Sunday with some of the Lopez-Mayta family, but she was feeling under the weather. 

Friday I was in Billerica Massachusetts on exchanges with Sister Blair. She is such a sweet missionary and is always finding ways to complement. We went to a lot of people's house. One of them was Raquel. A recent convert. She is the mother of three and she is so cute! She told me that taking care of her children is one of her biggest worries. I didn't have that long with her, but I had an instant love for her. It is something that I can't really describe. When we were leaving she asked how long I was going to be there and if I would ever come back. I hope I get to see her again some day.

We had dinner with our ward mission leader on Saturday. I forget sometimes how awesome people are. His stepchildren, (the daughter was a mini missionary with Sister Wagner and Sister Garcia in Boston when I was there) have their own non-profit organization that helps children with cancer. It sure makes me feel like I should have done more while I was in high school. But some people are just naturally talented at doing things like that.

As for the work with the Spanish group, we are still working on finding people. We set a goal as a companionship to see all the Spanish members that we have met so far at least once a week. This week we have plans to do just that. We have also been going through the list of people that were taught before by Spanish missionaries. We found a few so far all of which have invited us to come back. Very welcoming and wanting to learn. 

Carrie had a family home evening with the Parkers on Monday. We have been trying to think of how we can help her to understand that we are not really here to be someone to listen, but that we actually  have a message to share and to give to her that really can bless her life. We both agreed that we needed her to meet more members. The Parkers are of course amazing and thought to invite her to share an evening with them. She loved it! And she ended up staying after for quite some time talking with Sister Parker. Sister Parker invited her to start taking the missionary discussions and she said yes! I am convinced that it is the direct result of the prayers of the members. There are quite a few of them that are really good at asking about who we are teaching. I always thought that it was very kind of them to show an interest in the work that we are doing, but then I read a conference talk Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, when he mentioned that the members should pray for the missionaries by name and for their investigators it all clicked. Ever since then when the members ask us about who we are teaching we write out a list of people and specific things that they might need that they can pray for. Carrie was one on the list and now she is going to start investigating. I know it is because if the prayers of our faithful members and those of you back home. Thank you!
Karee opening gifts

soft blanket

Sis Brown opening gifts

Karee with her ear warmer from her sister, Katelyn
one of the sisters in her apt opening gifts
one of the sisters in her apt. opening gifts

just a few items Kare got for Christmas

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