Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Christmas!

From last Christmas -2 month Greenie
Dearest Family and Friends!
    Merry Christmas!!! It is still sooooo strange to think that it is Christmas again already! My second one on the mission in fact! I love Christmas. I love love love it! Especially as a missionary. Sharing the Gift of my Savior with everyone I come in contact with has been a huge blessing in my life. I've found a lot more significance in Christmas as a missionary and have strengthened my relationship with my Savior through serving Him. So many people talk about gifts they want to give to the Savior. And I can't think of a single one. Because I can't repay Him. I can't give Him enough to thank Him for his atoning sacrifice and love in my life. But I try. I want to try and keep trying so hard. 
    This week was well... Nuts as always. It was transfers and we were the only companionship in the whole district that wasn't getting changed up! So we had a white elephant Christmas party together before we all split ways.
       This week was a lot of fun and we kept super busy! Except for the fact that like a billion people canceled on us this week...but I guess that's to be expected around the holidays...
    It finally snowed here today...but it's a really wet slushy snow because it rained aaaallllllll day yesterday....
     So we are teaching this one guy who is a recent convert. He's really quiet but when he does speak he is hilarious and talks like a gangster. I've started calling him Uncle J and we teach him about two times a week. He always brings one of his little nephews with him tells us funny things his nieces and nephews do. He is slowly growing his testimony stronger...but doesn't quite get the whole keep the Sabbath day holy thing down yet... he was telling us yesterday about how he had scored a 50 cent chimmychanga at the mall that day...oh brother....haha.
    We didn't meet with J this week sadly....he was super busy and didn't make it to church again either because of work...but we have a time Tuesday set up to see him and we are very gung-ho about getting him fired up again! We made him some goodies Saturday and dropped them off at his house. The best way to a man's testimony is through his stomach I always say!!! 
What gifts will she receive this year?
    So you know D, the guy I've told you about from Kazakhstan? Well he is on FIRE! Dang, that kid is AMAZING! We taught him the plan of salvation earlier this week and he just ate it up! He has so many awesome questions and he wanted to meet with us ASAP again because he loved the lesson so much! So we met with him again on Saturday, and guess what...the craziest thing happened! But it was so cool! We were going to teach him the principals of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but never got to it, because the moment we finished the opening prayer he started telling us about how he was reading in Jacob in the Book of Mormon, while waiting for his friend while they were out shopping and he read Jacob chapters 5 and 6 and felt the spirit really really strongly, so he asked if we could study the chapters together and discuss them and the symbolism together....um....need I remind you that Jacob chapter 5 is the allegory of the Olive tree....Say what?!?!? haha! It was a super neat lesson talking about the symbolism in it and the prophecies of our day and stuff. Our Ward mission leader was there and he actually served in this mission (Josh Hatch) and we were all so stoked because President McCune talks about the allegory of the olive tree all the time! It was super neat and D was taking it all in and asking amazing questions. That kid cracks me up... He is such a good kid and so prepared to let the gospel back into his life again! 
    Weekly planning and comp inventory were interesting this week. I think I inspire pillow fights with my companions as ways of showing love towards them...haha! Sis Gulbranson is the greatest and I can't wait for you to meet her on Christmas! 
    Saturday we started YSA sports with the missionaries and played volleyball. I haven't played in a long time! I miss it! Aubrey and Natalie and Garrett and Dyelan and I used to go play it every Thursday. It was fun to play again...although I may have severely bruised my arms in the process...
     Friday we did some service with our district by helping a couple move out of their house. It was all sorts of hectic watching the elders load up and squeeze furniture out of small doorways. We helped move stuff, but also did a lot of cleaning. It's funny to see how some people's inner OCD comes out when doing activities like that! Haha! It was good though and it was a good way to get to know our zone better.
     So this month we are focusing on Christlike attributes as a mission and this week I was working really hard on Faith in Jesus Christ and Diligence.... man diligence is hard. It means focus in all aspects of the work. It means obedience and controlling your thoughts, and actions, and working when you don't want to work, pushing through when you don't want to push through, waking up when you don't want to wake up, teaching when you don't want to teaching, and going when you think you can't go no more. And it requires a lot of faith. I'm learning that faith is at the root of every Christlike attribute....I've been working on having more faith in the work right now...for some reason this week was just a little harder in that aspect.... But When I focused on it really hard, I saw improvement. Faith isn't something that you can just say "Poof! I have faith!" It takes constant growth and nourishment to strengthen and help it along...Yesterday we went to contact a potential investigator who had been in our area book. We had tried to catch him several times, without any luck, and last night I was being a little negative in my noggin and thinking "Why are we trying him again? He won't be home." and then the spirit said, "Hey wait a minute...have a little faith." So I repented and said a quick prayer for strength and increased faith....and guess what.... he answered the door! Not only did he answer the door but before we could get a word out he said he'd been meaning to find us and wanted to set up a time to meet, and gave us his phone number....We were in shock. For reals. Miracle? YES! Coincidence?? I think...NOT!!! The Lord's hand is in the Work my friends. I believe it with every ounce of my being. If he wills it, there aint nothing that can stop it! 
     I love this Christmas season so much. I think it has gotten us in more doors than usual. (maybe the constant rain and snow lately have helped!) I've been thinking so much about the events surrounding the nativity this year. Some of these ideas aren't my own, but I still wanted to share them with you. I was thinking about how the angels who heralded Christ's birth to the Shepherds bust have been so celebratory and so excited as they waited with anticipation in the wings to come forth and Sing Hosanna and proclaim the Good news of Jesus Christ. And then I realize...that was us. We were most likely there, among their number, so happy to behold and to proclaim and celebrate the birth and life of our long awaited Savior who volunteered himself as our sacrificial lamb to atone for us. And I think...He will come again. Will I be there a second time to sing His praises when He comes in His glory? And then I think...I'm doing that now. That is my role as a missionary. To proclaim the divinity and reality of my Savior Jesus Christ to all who will listen to my voice. How great and how sacred I hold my calling of being a missionary. It has blessed me so much, and I could never regret the decisions to be where I am at this time. 
     Another thought that came yesterday was inspired, not by thinking of Christ's birth, but imagining Him close to the end of his life...right on the brink of being nailed to the Cross...when He stood before Pilot and said "To this end was I born" He was born in humble circumstances, loved and held tenderly by a mother and raised like all other boys, and he did so, he was born and lived for the sole purpose of atoning and dying for all of us. I wonder at what point in his growing up did he realize His divine calling. Before he was 12 years old and taught in the temple. I'm sure Mary told him of it every day and raised him and prepared him for his purpose, along with Joseph. I think that's why the title of the Song "Mary did you know?" bugs me....because she knew. And because she knew, she and Joseph brought Christ up to know his purpose. It makes me ask "To what end was I born?" and how am I living up to it?
    Merry Christmas! I love you all and hope you all feel your Savior's love as we celebrate his life at this time of year. Think...if Christ only remembered us one day a year...we would be in a world of trouble...so remember Him always :) I love you and miss you! I can't believe this will be the last time I facetime you before I see you in person.
     Love you to the moon and back!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spread Christmas Cheer

Lenise's sister Sharee knows what she likes to do
Sing Loud for all to hear, spreading cheer.
Dearest Family and Friends,
     HAPPY CHRISTMAS! It's getting closer and the spirit is definitely in the air! We've been treated super generously as missionaries and it's been a really good week!:)
     So for starters, I am NOT getting transferred. WAHOOO!!!!!! YAY! Christmas with Sis Gulbranson!!!! So my address isn't changing and life is dandy and grand and marvelous!!!! Although I'm a little sad I don't get to go to the transfer meeting because a bunch of people I know and served with are going home! Like Sister Megan Nielson, Sis Albrechtsen, Sis Nomo, Elder Guthrie, and a bunch of others, so it will be sad that I don't get to say goodbye! I'm going to say goodbye to Sis Nielson today though. 
     Last Monday was a fun day! We had dinner with this awesome family with 10 kids. All of them played stringed instruments, so before we left they serenaded us with some Christmas music! It was so epic! Sis G and I discovered both of our loves for instrumental music and I have converted her to the ways of Pride and Prejudice piano music :) We also tried to go to an FHE Monday night so that we could meet an investigator, but we ended up not being able to talk to him while we were there because the activity was learning how to waltz and cha-cha....yup awkward...we are SO not allowed to do that as missionaries! Although if we were he wouldn't have been able to get away from us and we could have totally cornered him! haha! But yeah, that was interesting. 
     Tuesday was another busy day!  We had a lot of people to teach and we got to go see C at her job in the car wash because we needed to get our car cleaned for car inspections (we won first class car award btw...) That was fun! We taught J again and we think he's slipping...which is really sad. He hasn't made it to church the last two weeks and we think he's closing off. We will have to try and see what we can do to help him.
Standing in a downpour.
     Wednesday was a crazy day! We had an all-day Zone Conference from 8am to 4pm with Elder Clark of the 70. It was like spiritual information overload....no joke. He had a lot to say about retention and conversion and how to keep our converts active. It was really cool because they had one of my Zone Leaders Elder D Taylor come up and share his conversion story and while he told it Elder Clark would interrupt and give us new insight on what our role as missionaries is in conversion. It was cool to get an inside scoop from a convert turned missionary. But what was kind of weird....was that only about half of the zone conference was focused on that....I bet you can't guess what practically the whole other half of the day was spent on. Go ahead. Guess. I dare you.......Yes Sir.....dating, Eternal Marriage, and raising families....I'm not even lying. I was stunned that we talked about it so much. Elder Clark even showed a slide show about it. Pres. McCune, got up and talked about his wife and what an example she was and how we need to be our best selves if we ever want to find someone as good as Sis McCune, (she really is amazing and a sweetheart!) They talked a lot about how setting patterns as missionaries, really sets patterns for the rest of our life! 
      Thursday and Friday were busy teaching days. So was Saturday. So funny story about Saturday! We are teaching this less active named B who is a super sweet guy and so nice, and we are helping him get over an addiction, and we were having this really powerful lesson at the church, when right in the middle of it our fellow shipper (Maddy McMullin. She is super cute and so nice!) screams! We all jump and she points over at the curtains in the primary room and there is a silhouette of a mouse climbing the inside of the drapes. Brigham knocked it out of the curtain but it ran away and hid....the whole rest of the time we had our feet up. And right in the middle of baring my testimony at the end I stopped mid-sentence and squeaked because I saw the mouse run behind Maddy! hahaha! When we left, we put a sticky note on the door saying that there was a mouse in the room and that somebody should probably try to catch it....But even funnier was the next day at church we met up with one of our Relief Society Presidents to coordinate visits with her and she wanted to visit in the SAME ROOM! She saw the sticky note on the door and just brushed it off and said "I'm guessing that's part of a game they are playing later with the kids..." And just walked into the room!!! Sis G and I were trying so hard not to laugh and were watching constantly for the mouse to pop out but it never did. We think it got away somehow... 
     Saturday night we went Caroling as a district which was super fun! We all thought up some names to go and see, and we had a blast contacting people and setting up appointments after singing for people. It was awkward though when we went with the Spanish Sisters to their places because we didn't know a lick of Spanish...but it was still super fun! At the end of the evening we went and caroled at the mission home for President and Sister McCune. They were super happy to see us all and welcomed us in and gave us cider and cupcakes. I had no idea President McCune could play the piano, but Sis McCune offered for him to play us some songs that we could sing along to and it was really cool to watch him play! They are seriously the BEST! I love and respect them so much! It was funny because when we showed up, President was working on transfers and trying to decide what to do. It was good to give him a little break.
Lenise opened a present early - naughty girl!
     Sunday was super awesome because we got to go to two Christmas programs! They were amazing and the majority of it was music and singing which I love!!! It was sooooo spiritual...Sometimes I wish that was all they did every Sunday! There were some beautiful variations of Christmas hymns and this guy and girl did a piano cello duet to Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel, and it was absolutely gorgeous! Later that night we went to a dinner with a bunch of YSA from one of our ward and we got to play Uno for a little while with them. And guess what? I won twice in a row! Yup twice against 14 other YSA. I am the master. Enough said. 
     Last night we taught a lesson to two of our investigators B and K. They are living together and not married and K is somewhat interested and B pretty much ignores us the whole time.  We had this great lesson about the Savior, and watched an amazing Bible video called For God So Loved The World...and they weren't even paying attention. It is so sad to me sometimes to watch people totally ignore the innumerable blessings that are right in front of their noses.
     This week I have been so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ and sharing his word. Each night when I take off my scuffed constant name tag, I get to look at my name right next to my Saviors and report to Him on how well I am upholding His name. Another thing Elder Clark taught was that I don't need to know everything. Intelligence is nothing. It's diligence that really matters. If we work hard enough we can accomplish anything.
     So let me know around what time you want to FaceTime! I'm thinking in the morning, like we did last year! That's around when Sis G wants to do it too, so let me know! Oh and I also got your package in the mail!!! THANKS!!!!
    I love you all and hope all is going well! Miss you and pray for you always! Send me some fun Christmas pictures!
Love,    Sister Lenise Diane Volmer 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

60 degree Christmas season

Dearest Darlingest Family of mine.
Provo temple
Enjoying the gorgeous day.
    So, sorry I didn't email when I usually do today. We only get the chance to go to the temple every three months and December is one of those months and today was that day!!! So yes, today I was able to go to the Provo temple and it was marvelous! I absolutely adore the temple and I miss it so much when I can't go as often as I would like to! It always brings a lot of peace and a lot of perspective to me, and I was glad to have the chance to go this morning. Believe me, nothing feels better than holding your recommend and know you are worthy and stepping through the doors and you suddenly get this wonderfully beautiful whoosh of air and suddenly you feel like a backpack full of bricks has been ripped off your shoulders. I love it. I can't say it enough. The temple truly is Heaven on Earth...I'm still waiting to find out if I will have the chance to be a hostess and tour guide for the Pasen Temple open house. Someday I will be able to go to the temple as often as I want. And maybe I'll even get to work there! SO COOL!
      So yes. Merry Christmas! I can't say it feels much like Christmas here in Utah though...because it has been in the 50s and 60s all week long...which is kind of dumb. Everyone keeps saying we probably won't get snow before Christmas. I hope they are all WRONG! It needs to snow. I love the snow. If you know me, you know that I love snow! Everyone in Utah is holiday happy...goodness gracious they go all out with their Christmas light here and the city even decorates the Main Street in Springville with lights. It's kind of strange to see all the lights because it is nice outside every day, but it is super cool to drive around at night because almost everybody's house is glowing!
      Well, last night, sadly I didn't get to watch the Christmas devotional. :( I was really bummed about that. We were going to watch it with Jordan but he never got back to us about it so we decided to go to the stake center to watch it...and nobody was there. We drove around for a half hour trying to find a church that was broadcasting it and couldn't find a single one. So we finally just went to our house and tried to pull it up on our iPads...but because it was streamed through youtube our ipads restricted us from being able to watch it and we had nowhere to go...I'm pretty sure this was the first time I ever missed the Christmas devotional. Sis Gulbranson and I were both really sad about it because it was her first time missing it too. 
     Where do I even begin with this week? We did a lot of teaching this week! We didn't do a whole lot of investigator teaching, although there were those too, but we work with a ton of less actives! This whole stake was created because two years ago they reactivated 1000 less active YSA. Crazy right? 
Thanks Aunt Siska for my 'Sister' sock
      So Monday we went shopping up Main Street in Springville and went to a bunch of cool shops. We went to a music shop and Sis G bought a harmonica because she said she had always wanted to learn how to play, so she bought a starter kit. It's been hilarious all week long to hear her blow away at her little beginner harmonica at night before we go to bed. She is learning how to read music and it is funny to watch her scribble away in her little note pad as she figures out notes and puts them in order as she learns the hymns. She knows how to play Amazing Grace, Away in a Manger, and I am a Child of God already! I might send you a video if she doesn't catch me doing it... haha! 
       We taught J again, and this time we talked with him about baptism and confirmation. He is still waiting for an answer and we think his family is holding him back a little bit. He also struggles with thinking he isn't worthy to partake of the sacrament. He is such a good guy, and I probably pray for him the most because the spirit is always SO strong in our lessons with him and I want him to want it SO BAD! AH! Sometime Sis G and I just sit and vent about how much we want him to get baptized and how much we know the gospel would bless his life. He is such a good kid and has so much insight!  He is one of those people I want to shake and just tell him to trust God! He has questions and I get that, but sometimes we just need to go on Faith. We don't get all the answers in this life. And we can't let the little minor details that don't make sense get in the way of the huge blessings that come from accepting the major doctrine and truth that we know. Man. Sorry. Venting over. I just want him to be happy so bad. He is my brother. I want him there when we have our big celestial reunion someday with our Heavenly Father. 
      This week I have had the opportunity to teach and testify about the Book of Mormon every day multiple times a day. A bunch of the people we are teaching are just at that point in the lesson process....and can I tell you that this week I realized (well I knew it before, I've known it forever and I've loved the book forever, but this week it hit me so hard!) how much I absolutely love the Book of Mormon. I love this little brown bound copy of the Book of Mormon that I got when I was 8 years old. It looks like I've turned the inside of it into a coloring book with all the revelation and insight I've received. The Gold on the edges is faded and gone and make-shift colorful tabs stick out each and every way to help me have quick access to important scriptures I use in teaching regularly. My name on the cover is becoming discolored from my thumb, where I grab it and hold it up as I testify about its truthfulness in strangers tiny living rooms over and over and over again.  The stories in the book are epic!(Go read Alma 47. It's a war chapter, and it's the most intense suspenseful action packed one...and it just so happens to give us super sneaky ways in which the adversary fights against us. Maybe read it for FHE. Teach the children to not come down off their mountain!) Also go online and find the Mormon Message Testimony of the Book of Mormon, with Jeffrey R Holland speaking. It is so good and we showed that to a few people this week. Super powerful.
     Also this week we had the opportunity to start teaching a less active named D. He was adopted from Kazakhstan when he was only 7 years old and fell away, but is now coming back. He sought us out and has been so prepared! He has a lot of questions, but has found already that he can study the pamphlets we give him and read from the Book of Mormon to find his answers. What a cool kid. We have a great time teaching him!
     Also this week we taught C again! And we put her on date for baptism next month!! She is doing great and already had a lot of great insight on doctrine and things. Her sister is getting baptized this next week in a different family ward, which is super exciting. 
     This week we had Zone Training meeting. And it was absolutely beautiful and amazing. Our zone leaders are both Named Elder Taylor haha! And then Sis Neaf and Sis Nielsen are our STL's. It was Sis Nielsen's last Zone training meeting which was really sad.  We talked about the new He is the Gift initiative a lot and they gave us all the opportunity to bare our testimony of the Savior. Can I just say that there is nothing more powerful than 20 full time missionaries all in the same room, all called of God to declare the divinity of Christ, all reading the Living Christ together, and then all standing and baring such bold and powerful witnesses and testimonies of our Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
     This last Sunday J didn't come to church which made us really sad because the testimony meeting in his ward was SO good! And guess what!? C. J. was made a priest in the Aaronic priesthood today and was called to Secretary in the Sunday School presidency! He is doing super well!!! We are hoping to get him to the temple soon for baptisms!
     This week had its ups and downs as always, but as Christmas draws nearer, and I've been acknowledging Christ's hand and atonement in every aspect of my life, I have been so grateful for His constant love, compassion, and patience towards me.
     I'm so grateful to see His hand in the lives of those I teach. I've told you all about R multiple times, right? Well I got a facebook message from her this week saying she has been told she is ready to go through the temple in the next month. I was so so happy.
     I love you all to the moon and back! Merry Christmas! Miss you and can't wait to talk to you all soon face to face on Christmas morning! :) 
Love Forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gratitude Attitude

Team Turkey Bowl
Dearest Family of mine!
Where on earth do I even begin.... 
This week was all sorts of normal for missionary life...intermingled with the random parts that are just never ever normal. Yup. 
     First off, thank you SO MUCH for the little package with the talks from grandpa's funeral in it and the music! I loved reading it! I'm so stoked for this Christmas season! It's going to be a blast! Everyone here goes all out for Christmas! Lights started popping up on people's houses all week before thanksgiving and we could see several Christmas trees in windows! Yay for the holidays!
      I don't know if you have heard about the new Christmas Initiative the church is doing this Christmas season but it is going to be epic! It is called He Is The Gift, and you can find out all about it on christmas.mormon.org and watch the video! The church is pulling out all the stops to spread this around! So check Youtube on Dec 7th to see He Is The Gift as the main masthead on there, and it will also be in Time Square and there will be a lot of push for it on social media sights, so look out for those! In the Ensign there will also be an article by Elder Nelson all about it. Discover the gift, embrace the gift, and share the gift! If you want I can send you some He is the Gift pass along cards to hand out to people! We have been handing them out like crazy!!!
      My companion (Sista G!) and I get along really well! We have a lot of fun together. We talk a lot and laugh a lot. This week I broke out my Pride and Prejudice CD to listen to in the car and she kept asking me what was going on in each song, and because she didn't know the story line, I ended up telling her the whole story. It was really funny to watch her get all excited over the different parts even though she wasn't even really watching it. When I asked her later this week what her favorite movie was, she answered with Pride and Prejudice! And I laughed and said "you haven't even seen it!" and she said "It's still my favorite!" haha! 
      Last Monday we had fun going to FHE in the Kolob ward. We played an epic game of mafia that was sooooo fun! Except it was different than normal Mafia. It was called Vampires and Werewolves and it was super fun because there were a lot more characters and nobody had to be a boring townsperson! Everyone kept accusing me of being the Vampire because I had thick tights on to hide the sunlight! And whenever they asked me what my defense was when they voted on me I always said "I am a servant of the Lord! I do not kill people!" haha! It was super fun! Me and Sis G have been talking about getting a copy of the rules and playing it for zone activity. 
      Tuesday was super busy! We had a lot of lessons! We met with J again, and he made some amazing comments on our lesson! He told us about how going to Chayanne's baptism last week was a huge spiritual experience for him and how our last lesson on the plan of salvation helped him out a lot! It was great! He is still progressing and we are hoping he gets to meet with one of the mission presidency soon!
      Tuesday night we met up with the STL's to start exchanges. Our STL's are Sis Nielsen (You all know Megan, right? :) ) and Sis Neaf (Sis Neaf is also from the Tri-Cities! she lives in Pasco and we rode the plane here together!)  We did a lot of catching up and we had a blast! She had a bad cold, that I'm pretty sure I caught from her, but mine isn't as bad. I've just had a slightly stuffy nose, but other than that I'm fine. We took some crazy pictures, and maybe I'll get her to send some to me! She goes home this next transfer, which is crazy!!! I think her release date is the 17th or something like that! CRAZY! Everyone I know is going home! AH! :( sad....
     So Thanksgiving....What a day!
      Thanksgiving on the mission is nothing like thanksgiving back at home! For starters we have 7 turkey bowls going on in our mission, zone against zone! Our zone is the Wasatch Zone and we got matching T-shirts with our names on the back, our number, and Utah Provo Mission. Super sweet! We had a blast playing! And I think I've finally figured out how football works....I'm not necessarily good at playing it...but I understand it now! President McCune, Stopped by to play with us a bit, but I felt really bad for him because he had a pinched nerve and couldn't run. So he just played the quarterback for both teams threw the ball. It was touch football, so it was pretty funny when the sisters got the ball and started running and the elders would all hesitate and not want to touch them! haha! So funny! It was really great! 
       Later we went with Sis Neaf and Sis Nielsen to a thanksgiving dinner with their senior couple who ran a catering business and they made some of the BEST food! They had these cheese balls and one of them was a chocolate and cream cheese ball that you dipped graham crackers in! It was so good! They also made pumpkin pie bars that were delicious! I will have to send you the recipe! They gave me a copy! It was so good! And then we had another dinner later. It was all left over thanksgiving food from earlier that day...haha but we had fun visiting with the family and sharing the He is the Gift video with them. We went to one of our less actives homes who lives waaay deep in the canyon, so we drove up there and shared a message with his family and played liars dice with them! Super fun game by the way! If you have never played it before, figure it out!  Then we had a lesson with another less active named S. It was a hard lesson because his dad and brother were playing very loud violent video games in the same room and refused to leave, which was really frustrating...so we are going to have to find a new place to meet with him. 

Turkey bowl
      Friday was pretty normal and busy. Friday night we at with a fun family who were from Canada so Sis G connected with them really good! They invited us over the next day to help them decorate for Christmas! So Saturday morning we were able to help decorate their Christmas tree! It was super fun! I haven't decorated a tree in 2 years! But their tree wasn't white trash Christmas like ours is...it was super fancy....I think I like our white trash tree better! It has more character and love put into it! Sunday we were busy with a lot of church! We teach this nonmember boyfriend and girlfriend who live together and they live with a member family. Their names are B and K, and they get so distracted. Somehow when one of the family prayed they prayed for stem cell research to be successful and then everyone got in a huge discussion about stem cell research and Sis G and I were looking at each other like "uh....what do we do?"  Crazy things that happen on missions. 
      I'm so thankful for the opportunity I get to serve. That's what I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for eternal families, and supportive family members who help me so much! I'm thankful for the chances God gives me every day to share this joy I have in my life. I'm so grateful for the gospel we have! Aren't you?? It is seriously the true source of happiness in our lives. It makes me so sad when we get rejected. It hurts to get rejected. And that makes me sad. But it makes me more sad that the people who reject us don't get the blessings. And then it makes me even more sad for my Savior who has atoned for them regardless of if they accept Him or not, and I mourn for the pain he goes through for their loss. I am so eternally grateful for a Savior who made eternal life possible for all of us. He really truly is the first and last and every gift we could ever need this Christmas season. Don't forget it. I love you all and miss you! I love the pictures you send and the videos! You are the best! I miss you and will talk to you in 24 days! :) (the last time I talk to you before I see you in person...)
Love Forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer!