Saturday, January 3, 2015

2nd Christmas as a missionary!

Always grateful for yummy meals - even Roast
twice in one day.
Dearest Family of Mine,
     Seeing you all this week was seriously THE BEST! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas. I counted after I got off facetime with you and realized that I was trying to concentrate on 15 different people all trying to talk to me and watch me on the big screen! Haha! I'm sorry if I was a little scattered and distracted. I was watching little children play on slides and with basketball hoops while Leisha made puppets out of her hands in front of the camera and Kelsy made weird faces at me...not to mention the pregnant belly contest that went down! haha! I still can't believe that both Leisha and Kayla went hunting this last week while guys are nuts! 
           This week has been absolute chaos! Haha. It was a fun and spiritual week, but seriously so slow when it comes to teaching. All the YSA went home for Christmas and we had so many people call and cancel on us...Over Christmas eve and Christmas day we only had one lesson....which was pretty frustrating. Spending Christmas over YSA is nothing like doing it in a family ward. It's the opposite of being fed 7 meals like I did last Christmas. Everybody was very busy and didn't want to see us, so we wandered around a lot and it finally snowed buckets and buckets...It is snowing as I type right now. I can see it out the library window. It just won't stop...And I have to drive in it.... 
      Monday was just really busy. We got all our shopping and stuff done, and then we had a zone activity to practice for our talent for the multi-zone Christmas conference the next day. 
Pretty fancy decorations!

     Tuesday was super fun and such an amazing day!!!! We had a blast at the Christmas zone conference. We had a guest speaker named Chad Hawkins come and visit us. He is an LDS artist who draws/paints pictures of temples and always has secret hidden pictures inside them. He was amazing and gave such a good talk on the sacredness of temples and different symbolism in each one. He talked a lot about being like a temple and fortifying ourselves. It was really neat when he put a picture up of my favorite temple, and I realized I had seen the picture before. It was the exact same picture of the Portland temple I had been given my senior year as a gift from my Young Women leaders that hung on my bedroom wall above my bed for the longest time! I hadn't realized he was the artist and it was really cool to meet him and hear of his experiences! Our mission president and his wife then stood up and gave a little message of their own. They put up this beautiful painting that Simon Dewey had created specifically for the Utah Provo mission (I can't remember if I told you, but our mission is getting split this upcoming summer and they are making an Orem mission) It is a gorgeous painting of the New Provo City Center temple, with the Utah mountains in it and a wheat field and a beautiful sunrise and the Savior Standing with his arm outstretched to the temple. I'll have to send you a picture of it. It is gorgeous! They gave us each temple recommend holders with a copy of the painting on it and it was so cool! It was funny because as President McCune was talking he said something along the lines of "when you go out tonight and invite someone to be baptized..." Sis Gulbranson and I turned and smiled at each other because we had a lesson with Jordan that night and neither of us thought he was ready to try to take that step again. We've been working with him for a long time, and we both believed him to still be seeking his answer. After the fireside we had lunch which was really fun to meet up with Sisters I haven't seen in a while. Sis Child and I sat next to each other and spent the whole time laughing and joking. We were probably the loudest table because apparently I said something really funny that made everyone laugh really hard and president leaned over from his table and said "What on earth is so funny!" and I was so embarrassed and Sis Child was just like "Oh Sister Volmer, I haven't seen her in forever and I forgot how funny she was!" hahaha! Sometimes I just say stupid things...and others interpret them as funny....I have no idea why ;) haha. We then had a talent show! Our zone did our act, which was a little ditty to the song Be a Man from Mulan, only we had rewritten the words to "Be Elders!" It was hilarious! I sent the video to my mom, so if you want to see it, message her! I'm pretty sure we won! Even though it wasn't a competition. I also sang the Girl in 14G...which I hadn't sung in over a year, so it was a little hard to dust off my vocal cords after not having sung a song that strenuous in so long. But I think it went okay. Everyone keeps telling me I need to study vocal performance in college...but I'm still debating...who knows. It's a hard career path to pursue...Sis Child also sung a funny rendition of "I'll be home for Christmas!" only she changed the words to "I'll call home this Christmas! You can count on me. There's no snow....or mistletoe....Don't even have a tree....Christmas eve will find me...wandering the streets...I'll call home this Christma
Christmas eve tradition.....
s....and then be home by spring!!!" haha we came out together and would sing together all the time in the MTC. I love that girl!

      After the zone conference we had a wonderful dinner with our High councilman over missionary work. We had an excellent discussion with them on Christmas spirit and also talked alot about how people aren't very friendly generally anymore. We talked about civility experiments, and people reactions when you are actually kind to them! Like actually sincerely asking how a grocery clerk's day is, or sincerely thanking a waitress for their help and service. We need a little more warmth and kindness in this world. pajamas - sewn by Mom
     Then....we had our lesson with J....and I can say that it was probably one of the best experiences of my whole mission. We were teaching him about the importance of making covenants, and we read with him from Mosiah 18:8-10. He read verse 10 and when he read the phrase "What have ye against being baptized" he stopped and was quiet for a long time. We asked him what his thoughts were and he said "That question just really hit me....because all the answers I have for it aren't good enough...." We sat there shocked for a little while. We taught him some more about the priesthood and temple covenants and then Sis Gulbranson bore super powerful testimony of the importance of covenants, and then powerful testimony of all the times he had said he had felt the spirit really strongly during our lessons, or during Chayanne's baptism, and then she said "If you aren't ready to answer this question, you don't have to. But, will you follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God?" He sat there in silence for a long moment...and then he gave the absolute best answer every missionary wants to hear. He said ".....Yes.....Yes of course....Yes of course I will Sis Gulbranson! You are so right. I never thought of those experiences but the way you put it, I have received my answer. It's just like Sis Volmer said last lesson, this life is like a cross country race. I may not know where the finish line is and it may be out of site...but I'll never get there if I stop running. I need to move forward. so...Yes." Sis G and I were probably smiling like idiots as we invited him to meet with Pres. Farnsworth for an interview...He was just glowing after he said yes. Like Light beams were shooting out of him, I swear! It was the best moment ever! We've been praying and fasting for him so much and worrying and stressing...and for him to say yes....when we finally walked out of his house and he closed the door we started jumping up and down and hugging each other!!! It was soooooo GREAT! Man I love this Gospel! The Lord is so aware of us! Christmas miracle if I do say so myself! That was all I really wanted for Christmas. And I got it. I'm so happy with J,

Opening gifts
        The next morning we were up and opening gifts and having breakfast! We had lunch with Jeff's family when it finally started snowing! It snowed a lot...haha. We then went home and that's when I got to talk to all of you! Afterwards we went to this girls house named Sadie and had dinner with her family. It was super fun but we felt really unproductive because we weren't teaching anybody....which was discouraging even though it was Christmas. When you are a missionary all you want to do is teach! and when you can't you kinda wanna go bonkers! The next day was better for teaching and this weekend went so much better. Sunday we spoke in the stake combined sacrament meeting...and then got called up to the pulpit by one of the stake presidency and asked in front of everyone if we would teach an impromptu Sunday school class because one of the teachers had do you say no? GAH! So scary! We taught the Restoration off the top of our heads and had a really great discussion with a lot of RMs in our class.  If we put Jesus first and then Others first, and then spells J.O.Y. That is the key to true happiness everyone. I love you all and hope you have a great new years! I will be sending out thank you cards soon! Love you all the moon and back and miss you!
Love Forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer


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