Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ready or Not, Here Come the Holidays!

December 16, 2013
All snowed in

The Elders to the rescue! Digging us out

Ready or not here comes the holidays and the snow! It has been a pretty cold week, but it was really dry until Saturday night when a slow moving storm finally blew in. We ended up with 9-12 inches of snow. It just so happened to be the first night of the live nativity here. It was cold, but it was really awesome. Sadly not many people came because of the snow Saturday night, but Sunday there was a pretty good turn out. The costumes for the actors were amazing, all handmade! They even made sure we had some costumes to wear, which I thought was really nice of them.

Elders Shepard, Bushnell, Lee, Oliver, Karee and Hermana J Brown
More pics of the Elders and sisters

Karee with her favorite towns people

Carrie and Hermana Brown

Carrie and Karee

Zoe and Hermana Browns

Karee with a couple of women

The Jarnagins and the Hermana Browns

I was able to talk to quite a few people and realized something as I was saying it.I pointed out how amazing the Christmas spirit is. How happy everyone feels and how willing they are to give of themselves. Then I told her that as missionaries we get to have that spirit with us all the time. We are constantly looking for ways to serve and give to  others and we are constantly thinking about the Savior because for these 18 months that is who I represent. It really is amazing!

What I learned:
Last week we went to Young Women's third hour and had a really good lesson by Sister Jarnagin about the gifts of the spirits. She challenged us to write down the spiritual gifts that we have and then pray to know who we can help or serve with those gifts. I started to study in Moroni 10 about the spiritual gifts, but got stuck because the first one that it mentions is teaching the word of wisdom and the next is teaching the word of knowledge. I got hung up on why it would say almost the same thing twice. So i did a little more in depth of a study. The difference that I seemed to find is that wisdom is the how. When you have experience you learn how to do things. Knowledge is more of the why. So in reference to the Gospel teaching wisdom is like leaders and parents sharing what they have learned by their words and by their actions. Teaching wisdom is teaching the why of the Gospel through words and actions and study. 

My cultural influence for the week:
I finally had mangu! This is a Dominican staple, funny enough it was my first time even eating it. Apparently this is something that they eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sister Fernandez told us that some Dominicans first made it for some Americans who said, "man good!" So the name became what the people heard. It is a lot like mashed potatoes, but it is made with plantains. Monday night we went to the Fernandez family for dinner and family home evening. We went a little early so that we could help her make dinner. They eat it with eggs, onions, fried cheese, meat, or what ever you want.

There is a cute family that have decided to teach their children to not say "oh my gosh," because sometimes it can sound like something else. Well, yesterday at the nativity a visitor happened to say it, then came the cute response by the three year old, "We do not say that word it is a bad word!" It was cute, though it might have alarmed the visitor a little, the family was able to explain that it was a family rule. Maybe it was something that you just had to be there for it to be funny, but it was cute!

We have started to teach Patricia, a friend of Sister Andujar's. And also Ernie, a friend of Natalie's. 

We redid the shelf outside our door to be a little more festive. Bishop Pearson and his wife were kind enough to help us find a nativity set. We also opened up a Bible to Luke 2 with the Christmas story. I am not too great at the whole interior design but I think this turned out alright.
Nativity set up at our entrance to our apartment
The holidays are here and it seems like there is so much to do and hardly any time to do it. Surprisingly that is another thing about the Christmas season that missionaries deal with a lot too. Funny how that works. I hope that all of you are doing well. I hope that you make time for those that mean the most for you and that you remember the true meaning for the season.

I love you all!

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