December 23, 2013
I was not able to write earlier because we were getting a tour of the second biggest ship in the US Navy. . the USS New York. I'll send more details and pictures next week! It was amazing!!!
To start off let me describe some a not so perfect day as a missionary. Sunday was going to be the bestest missionary day ever!!! We had an investigator coming to our church, and afterwards we were going to go to his church. (Kinda like the premack principle: if you do this then I'll do this. . . who know education/parenting skills were used in missionary work! haha!) We had rides planned for two less active YSA members to come to church. We had a dinner appointment with a wonderful family in the Arlington ward, then a movie with an eight year old non member and the ward mission leader and his eleven year old daughter were coming. Then we had lesson with a less active YSA and an Arlington member who just got back from her mission was coming with us. Those were the plans. . . beautiful right? Well. . . the non member didn't show up. He actually texted us during sacrament meeting asking which church it was because he was outside looking for it!!! But we didn't see it until after the meeting. So we went ahead and went to the YSA ward rather than going to his church this Sunday. On the way we get a text from one less active saying his ride didn't show up. (apparently the address we gave him didn't work), and at church we learned that the other less active hadn't answered the door when his ride came to pick him up. After church we're sitting in a missionary meeting when we realize we're late for our dinner appointment. We show up a half hour late, and they waited for us, which meant the other sisters were waiting too! We felt so bad! Our less active YSA appointment fell through, and we ended up rescheduling the movie with the eight year old. Since our night completely opened up we were able to go with a YSA member to meet a family he referred to us, only to realize they live outside of our family ward boundaries (we only cover 2/3 of the family ward, but the entire zone for YSA's) so we talked to them, but we'll be turning them over to the missionaries in that area. But that's not the end of our adventurous day. . . we end up getting home 5 minutes late after meeting with that family. I hope this will be a reminder to all of you as it was to me, that not everyday is going to be perfect. You just have to look for the good, and do the best you can with what you have! And don't get stressed! Boy have Sister Hale and I laughed about the changes in our plans that day! We still enjoyed our church meetings, one of the less active YSA's got a last minute ride, our dinner was spectacular, and we got to spend time with a really great family who needs some extra support right now.
The gospel is truly going to every nation!!! This week we were able to teach a family from Syria!!! I was so excited!!! People used to ask me if I thought I'd serve where my dad did. Switzerland? nope-it's closed to people outside of specified countries. Lebanon? definitely not right now. But who knew I could actually be teaching a family from Syria who speak Arabic?!?! Dad, do you remember any Arabic phrases? The husband speaks English quite well, but his wife is still struggling with it. We've ordered an Arabic Book of Mormon and I'm so excited for that to come for them! They have a beautiful daughter who is almost one year old. They told us that in Lebanon the most recent leader's daughter just became a Christian, which is a big step!!! How amazing!!!! We were also able to meet a family from Sudan. The mother and her five children are so sweet, but there's a bit of a language barrier as well. When we asked what we could do for them the mother just asked if we could help get clothes for her children who are growing too fast for her too keep up what with all the bills and everything. I think about all of the presents I've received over the years, and these children just need clothes.
We had an amazing lesson with a less active YSA. We talked to him about the importance of the sacrament and he came to the conclusion ON HIS OWN that he needed to come back to church and read the Book of Mormon! He said he'd as his boss the next day to have Sundays off! We were so excited! We were ecstatic when he was even able to get that very next Sunday off!!! When we try to follow God's commandments he will provide a way!!! Blessings will come even if they aren't ones we notice at first glance.
With Christmas coming I've spent some time reflecting on all the gifts I've been given. I wasn't sure I'd have presents to open on Christmas. I should have known my family, friends, and ward members better! But there are so many other things I've received and I wish I could point them all out. This year alone I've been so blessed! I could list specific names of people in my life, but due to time restraints it will have to suffice to say my friends and family. I found a job that taught me so much more than cashiering. I had the opportunity to go to the temple and receive my endowment. I'm in Jacksonville, Florida sharing the gospel! And the knowledge I have of the gospel is such a gift in itself. I'm grateful for the Atonement, for prayer, for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and for so much more. What more could I ask for?
I hope you can all remember all the gifts you have this year, not just the ones wrapped under your tree!
Have the very merriest Christmas!
Love, Sister Murray