Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Week 61: Weeeee wish you a Merry Christmas!

Christmas comes fast around here, doesn't it?!
Thank you so much everyone for your prayers! Sister Blankenship and I are both back on top of life, totally organized and healthy and attacking the world. Yesterday we received four referrals for families who are ready to hear the gospel, and we'll be contacting them today! Miracles happen every day! The Stake has been fasting together and you can just see the miracles fall into their laps.

How has it been watching He is the Gift? Did you see YouTube yesterday?!
I just love the gospel :)
And the Christmas devotional last night. Incredible.
I love the inspiration, upliftment, and general spirit of love that is just everywhere at Christmastime.
It's the BEST! :)

The new place we live is AMAZING. We live in the basement of a member's home.  The ward is SO EXCITED to have us. The ward mission leader lives down the street. We live right behind the apartments so we ALWAYS have people to visit. It's amazing. We are so blessed. We are finally organized and settled as of Saturday.
We are doing an open house on the 18th!! We're super excited and advertising it to everyone! 
We are reading the Book of Mormon as a mission looking for the attributes of Christ. It is INCREDIBLE. I love the Savior. I also read the Christmas story this past week and was just amazed at the exact obedience of Joseph and Mary. I am so grateful for their examples and their character.
As for the video, I saw it on Monday. Pres Hollingshead (our stake pres) saw it on Tues. He enjoyed it and wants to use it for missionary work here! Just not sure how. But the stake is quickly finding out about my health history. ha ha

Study thought of the week:
When Andrew heard the testimony of John the Baptist, he immediately left John to follow the Savior. That is the miracle of this work - seeing people rely on their own faith and testimonies to follow Christ in all things. THEN Andrew, after spending time with Christ and gaining his own witness that He was the Messiah, goes and brings his brother to Christ. That brother was Simon Peter, the president of the church after Christ had been resurrected. 
Who will we bring to Christ? We do not know their future, but we can know that the gospel will bless their lives more than anything else in the world!

We had Zone Conference this week! The mission is just flying by - I only have one left! Crazy stuff. Bullet point thoughts from that:
  • We do only one thing in this Church: shepherd people to the temple.
  • Read Mosiah 23-Alma 40 and BE ALMA. We now refer to each other as "Alma" instead of "Elder" or "Sister" on occasion.
  • "My religion is to know the will of God and do it." Brigham Young
  • We are in the business of saving souls, not increasing numbers.
  • Unity with leaders and members is the only way we will ever accomplish anything in this work.
  • The Lord is pleased with our efforts. But He is not satisfied. There are people to find that we are not finding. They are His children. He knows where they are, and He knows who He has prepared. We must exhaust every resource and turn every corner until every person has the opportunity to receive the restored gospel. 
  • Senior couple missionaries are just the best. True story.
  • Steady progression and fire in the bones!
Other highlights:
  • Exchanges with Sister Silva (my MTC companion)! It was so fun to reminisce and see ho much we've both grown on our missions.
  • Our recent convert family is going to start teaching (well, they think it's quizzing) us on the lessons. It should be a blast!
  • FIVE out of eleven ward Christmas parties down! Mom received several texts of the two of us in our Santa hats :) 
  • Little Samuel after a meeting with our ward mission leader gave the closing prayer. He asked for the ward to have experiences in sharing the gospel. It was so sweet to see this little 4 year old praying with such great faith for the ward members to have missionary experiences. Do we realize the faith of these children and how simple this gospel truly is?
  • Lots of gift wrapping with one of the families we are working with. And talking about the gospel too :)
We had a fun lesson with Tom - an older gentleman who has been coming back to church for about a year now and really wants to strengthen his testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He has such great faith, but has a very analytical mind, so he doesn't give his faith much credit. He is willing to keep every commitment and comes to church every week. He's this adorable, slightly grumpy man who just wants to know that his Heavenly Father loves him, and that the Plan of Salvation is real. We testified and were talking for a bit, and he said to see our confidence in our faith was comforting for him. He knows he can gain a witness for himself and wants to work towards that. 

I love when people choose to truly exercise their faith by keeping commitments and obeying the commandments of God. We will not receive a witness until we live His gospel.

I love you all. I hope you all are feeling the spirit of this Christmas season. If we will choose to look past all the commercial hustle and bustle of this time of year and really focus on the why of all of this, the power of the love of the Savior will fill our hearts and homes.

Remember to smile and #sharethegift!

Sister Holbrook

Fluffing a Christmas tree!! 

Best. Mission. President. Ever. For real though. We have to have all of our skills in the same bag if we ever hope to be successful in the "game" of the Lord's work. We can't just focus on finding or planning - they all must work together

Cute Christmas Nativities :)

With the most epic gingerbread house ever at one of our ward Christmas parties.

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