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

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