Sunday, January 8, 2017

Find Yourself in Christmas This Year

January 2nd, 2017

Happy New Years!!

The week leading up to Christmas was so exciting for us! We had some great lessons with Lesley and her whole family was there for one of them- and it went really well this time. They are getting closer with us and more comfortable, we have all become friends. That is something we have been praying for a lot, so it was faith building to see that happen. We are helping her find her own testimony and answers for herself as she tries to come to church and read the Book of Mormon. In God's timing she will be able to receive that witness from the Spirit for herself, and in the meantime we are trying to help her all we can. We also got to teach that referral from last week, Washington. We brought a member from the ward with us and it was a great experience for us all. He is such a cool guy. He has a really open heart. He knows some members of the church and is anxious to find out the why behind their lifestyle. He has heard so many things about our church through other people and sources, and wants to find out for himself. The more he finds that he had some wrong judgments, the more he wants to know. We can't come back to teach him again until after all the holidays, but we are excited to get to know him more. It was another answer to our prayers here in Mountain House. 

Christmas day in Mountain House with Sister Kitahara was so special to me. We got up and opened our stockings that mom sent me last year. We have had them hanging all month and have been dropping little things in each others so that we had a surprise for Christmas morning in them. It was really fun for us. We then opened the packages that our families sent. I made Sister Kitahara an American breakfast of cinnamon french toast, haha I don't know if it is actually american but our family always has it. It was her first time having it and she really loved it. We had a beautiful church service, and we both got to participate in the choir and Sister Kitahara accompanied with piano a violin duet I played in. After that we went to the senior center and gave the residents there a Christmas church service with the rest of our district. We read about the birth of Jesus Christ to them out of Luke and sang songs in between the verses that matched with what was going on in the story at that time. It was really special and the spirit was sweet. We got to have lunch and visit with them afterwards. Most of them didn't get to go anywhere for Christmas so they were very happy to see us, and we were happy to see them as well. I then of course got to have a Christmas dinner with a family from the ward here, the wagstaffs, and video call my family! It was a special Christmas to me, I got to share my testimony of Jesus Christ in so many ways throughout the day. 

One question asked in my video call was what are my last transfer goals, and that really weighed on me afterwards, so I prayed about it and want to share them with you guys. They aren't like necessarily "new" things to me, but things I want to focus on to help me work hard with meaning to the last minute. 1-Don't miss an opportunity to talk to someone and share my testimony with them, especially on the street in between places. 2-If I get caught up with things about going home, sing a hymn, say a prayer, or ask my companion a spiritual question. 3- Every single day do something out of my way to lift someone else's burdens. 4- Every single day intentionally say something positive and truthful to someone to help build them up. 5-Finish Jesus the Christ. 6-Every single night ask myself what is something I did good that day and something I specifically need to do better the next day. 7-Just try my best everyday, and be patient with myself. So there they are, my goals for the next few weeks. There are things I worry about, some bigger and some very minor and insignificant, but I trust as I just focus on Jesus Christ, and lose myself in Him, those worries will be worked out in His time. If I dwell on them myself and try to take care of them my own, the answers won't be found. Jesus taught, "He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10/39). It seems counter intuitive, how can I find myself and my answers by completely forgetting about me and serving the Savior? But it is the Savior's promise to each of us, and it is true. I never have felt more like myself, than when I am living the way Jesus would have me live. I trust that who Christ wants me to be is much better than who I can be on my own terms, and so I will lose myself in His name. I can't think of a better scripture and desire to bring in this new year. Happy New Years!

all my love,
Sister Eleanor Neeley

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