Thank you soooooo much for the Christmas tree you sent me! It seriously made me SO happy! Sis Albrechtsen just kept laughing at me as I excitedly decorated it. I got Sharee's presents in the mail, but no worries I won't open them like I accidently did grandma Merkley's...but I don't regret opening grandma Merkley's because they have come in handy this week SO MUCH! It snowed aaaallll day last Tuesday which means no bikes until this snow all melts! It snowed again all day Saturday too! So we just get layers of ice and snow ice and snow. Don't worry I'm keeping warm mom :) So no bikes. Thank heavens. I'm pretty sure I would biff it like crazy if we had to keep riding them! We are supposed to get transfer calls any minute now...but we are still waiting for the phone to ring and tell us! GAH! Driving me crazy waiting. I really don't want to transfer. I'm finally getting to a point where I understand all the streets and I'm just barely getting down names of all the people, and I'm still figuring things out and Sis Albrechtsen is still teaching me new stuff, so I'm really hoping I don't get transferred! :(
We went on exchanges again this week with the STL's, and I was with Sister J. She is AWESOME! I love her! She's from Germany and she is the sweetest girl ever! She and I have a ton in common so we talked and talked the entire time we were together! They celebrate St. Nicholas day in Germany, so she got a package with a bunch of gifts in it while we were together and she let me try some of her German cookies and stuff and they were really good! She told me a bunch of the original Grimm fairytales and they are seriously creepy but so interesting! She says they are really common in Germany, and nobody thinks they are creepy because "In Germany maybe it's common for us to think that if you do something bad you get morbidly punished
We had a Zone training meeting this week also which was so spiritual! We all bore testimony on Christ, and the spirit was so thick in the room you could cut it with a knife! I'm seriously serving with some of the best missionaries and people I have ever met! It has been such a privilege to get to know them all.
Earlier this week we met this Bazillion woman who is less active and she is the BEST cook. She is really funny and loud and just loved to chat our ears off. Everyone here is so kind to us! We had dinner last night with the Hegsted family! The dad, Bro. Hegsted is HILARIOUS and the whole meal reminded me of home so much! They were such a great family and all the kids would tease us and laugh with us. And then as we were walking out the door Bro. Hegsted pulls out a sharpie and asks me what my first name is...and then he signs a print of this beautiful painting that I've seen before and absolutely love. It's actually one of my favorite ones...and then I stared at it...then at him...and then at it again...and then I was like "Oh my gosh! You painted this???? No way!!!" He got all embarrassed and just shrugged it off and showed us some of his other paintings. I was so amazed! It was cool to see his work and he was so humble about it! After spending all dinner with this guy who made me laugh so much, and then realizing his talent, It was just such a special moment, and the spirit in that home was so great. I hope I can raise a family like that :)
Here on the mission I see so many families who have the gospel, but still fall apart. Kids fall away, or parents fall away, and judgment gets in the way of the light of the gospel. It makes me so sad, and it worries me about becoming a mother some day in a world where there is so much wickedness and so much temptation. It makes me scared to have kids. But when I see families like that where they love each other, get along, and they are all best friends, it makes me have so much hope. I want so badly to raise a family like the one I was raised in, where I was best friends with my siblings and we would build off each other's testimonies... I see both sides here and it makes me want to work harder to become more like my Savior and be the best missionary I can be, so that later I can be the best daughter I can be, the best sister I can be, the best mother I can be, and the best me I can be.
Last night was the Christmas Devotional, and at first we thought we wouldn't be able to watch it. There's a family called the B Family, who we've been teaching their daughter Emily. They are all active, but Emily is only 12 and she's been struggling ever since her older brother died of an overdose. It was really hard for their family, and their other son Dustin who has down-syndrome still doesn't completely understand that his older brother is gone. We've been teaching them the entire time I've been here and I've watched as Emily has blossomed and her testimony has resurfaced. Their family is amazing and I was talking to the mother the other week about how we light candles and pop popcorn and watch the devotional. I told her how sad I was that I couldn't watch it this year. Then somehow we got permission and the B family invited us over. Sis. B was so nice and she turned off the lights, except for a few lamps, and popped me popcorn. I was so grateful that I got a little teary, and it was all amazing. Sometimes you can still feel the pain they feel over their son, but I felt so prompted that their son was there and that he loved them and the spirit was so strong in their home as we talked about the atonement after the devotional. I sang Savior Redeemer of My Soul for them after we had an in depth discussion on the atonement and it was really a special night.
Our golden investigator G is doing great!! He's still on date for Dec 21st and he's invited a lot of his friends to come to his baptism. He's really ready for a change and every time we teach him, Sis A and I are overwhelmed by his faith and the spirit we feel with him. We always come back from his lessons on spiritual highs. I hope I get to stay and teach him more!
It's so humbling to be a missionary. Every time people pray for us I get really emotional. We have so much love and we are so blessed. I absolutely love this work and the spirit it brings. As Christmas comes I miss my family more and more, but they are taking good care of us here, so please don't worry. I can't wait to Skype you on Christmas! I love you so so so much! I hope you all know that I have a cemented testimony of this gospel. I know it's the truth. I know my Savior lives. I know God loves us. Merry Christmas! Until next week!
All my love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer