Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas All Y'all!!

MTC Sisters together again at our mission Christmas Conference
My neighbor, Elder Young.
A prop for our zone's skit
For the Door Decorating Contest
We went to a member's Hanaukkah Party.
The food was so good

Caroling Missionaries at the Williams

It was another great week in Paradise :)
Tuesday we held both district meetings in the Arlington building and afterwards we ran through our Zone Skit for the Christmas party.  Elder Payne rewrote T'was the Night Before Christmas to a story in Dunn Ave.  It was so funny!  I'll try to send some of it home :)
Then we had a sisters' lunch at Blue Boy's sandwich shop.  We have some great sisters in the zone and we are excited to get to know them more!  Right after that we started our trade-off with the Dunn Ave Sisters.  Sister Parshall stayed in Arlington with me.  We came out together and we were in neighboring wards in Gainesville so it was fun to have a day together.  We had some awesome nerdy band conversations too since she did marching band in Las Vegas!  Don't worry though we got some great work in too!  We were able to stop by and see Sister Makuei.  Last Christmas we left some treats on their door on Christmas morning because we knew they wouldn't have very much.  No one in the ward seemed to know about them so we stopped by and they are still there!
Wednesday we had lunch in Dunn Ave with our Relief Society President.  She has been super sick for a long time and so we haven't seen her hardly at all since I've been here.  It was good to get in touch with her again.  She told us stories from her mission which was fun too!  We are planning on getting a sign up going in Relief Society to go on splits with the sisters in the ward! 
Thursday was the Mission Christmas Conference!!!  This is one of my favorite days!  Seriously--Christmas as a missionary is the BEST!!!  We started the meeting with skits, then we had dinner and a slide show.  And lots of visiting with mission friends too!  It was great to see all my MTC sisters! (the Elders that were in my MTC district are in South Carolina.  I've had some contact with them and they seem to be doing well :) ).  After the fun and food we head into the chapel for the devotional.  This really brings the spirit of Christ into Christmas.  I was asked to lead the congregational songs so that was fun too.  The music was beautiful and President and Sister Craig gave great talks!  I received some beautiful revelation that night.  Then we get packages, letters, presents, etc from family and friends.  And someone always donates a pie for every companionship!  Yum!  We didn't get home until about 9:00 and it made for a great day!
Friday morning we got a call from the Sister Training Coordinators.  They had a trade off planned with one of the other STL companionships but something came up and they needed to reschedule so they asked if we would mind trading off that day.  We didn't have any plans so we agreed.  After weekly planning we met at the church and Sister Petramolo stayed in the area with me and Sister Kloepfer went to Mandarin with Sister Blotter.  We had a great day together!  We were able to go teach the Makuei family.  There must have been a huge language barrier when she was taught because she doesn't know who Joseph Smith is.  We tried to speak very simply. She speaks Dinka and Arabic.  We are hoping to teach them some more and find them a ride so she and her 5 children can come to church again.
Funny thing on the trade off--We went to see the Gibbs, a less active family.  I wasn't very clear about who we were seeing and Sister Petramolo treated them just like investigators!  It was actually really great because it helped us find out that her daughter who was visiting was not a member!  And we determined it would be good to review all the lessons with the family anyway.

Sunday our ward had a wonderful Christmas program.  All of the missionaries sang in the choir which was way fun!  I was able to do a duet playing flute for the First Noel with Sister Thompson singing.  Our investigator Karen came.  She loved the meeting!  She has been making friends with the members and we are continuing to teach her!  She is working towards being baptized in February!!
One sad note from this week--a recent convert in the ward, Sister Barger, passed away this weekend.  It was sad, but she's been going downhill in the hospital for a couple weeks now so it is good to know she is at peace.  I'm sure she is doing some amazing missionary work on the other side! 
Well, I hope y'all have an amazing Christmas!  I'm looking forward to calling!  I LOVE YOU!!!
Sister Murray