The mission starts to get weird when you're now on email basis with a bunch of your companions who aren't missionaries anymore. Almost two weeks ago my trainer, Sister Despain, and one of my best friends on the mission, Sister Woodbury, both left their missions and went back to real life again. They've been telling me how weird it feels to not be a missionary anymore. I'm definitely not looking forward to that point. Glad I have at least 3 and a half months left and I hope it goes by slower than the last 15 months! Sister Woodbury even went to Germany which is not technically her original home. She just sent me pictures of cool German castles.
This past week we found a new investigator named Shelly who was living at the same address as one of our former potential investigators a few months ago. A young mom of two of the cutest little girls I've ever seen. When we talked to her she said it was weird we stopped by because she was thinking about God earlier that day and had a lot of question about life, death and what happens to us after. I know that God sent us to her door that day. When we taught her the Restoration lesson on Thursday and read the account of the first vision of Joseph Smith we asked her if she thought it could really happen and she said "Oh Yeah!" We then asked her if she had any questions for us about it and she just said "I don't know, I'm just mind blown right now! I've never heard this before!" We are praying that we can still meet with her and teach her more about the plan of Salvation and invite her to baptism. We haven't had a progressing investigator to teach in the longest time and we are both really excited for Shelly. It's hard to find people living in Dubuque who care to listen to our message.
On Friday this past week, we drove all the way to Nauvoo for our Christmas Zone Conference meeting at the Stake Center there. We woke up at 3, left by 4 am from Dubuque, met up with the Clinton sisters an hour and a half away by 5:30 and drove from there to Nauvoo by 9 am. The meeting went until around 5 pm and then we repeated the drive back home and got home close to 10. We were both really exhausted! But it was a good day. Spent the drives singing Christmas songs and other songs we liked before the mission and talking about whatever. At Zone Conference we heard some good talks from our leaders, we were then fed the equivalent of a Thanksgiving Dinner for our Lunch with fancy place settings, then we had all the Districts do their skits on the stage, followed by a showing of Ephraim's Rescue at the end of the day. The skits were all very clever. Ours involved the Brother of Jared barges and what that would have been like, including the smell inside, stow-away "Gentile friends"- the Marshallese Elders, and one of the Elders had an Elk, goose and a duck call that he used throughout for the animals. It ended up being really funny. Just a time for younger missionaries to goof around and laugh and not have to work.
Saturday night both Dubuque wards put on the Christmas Cantata show for members and non-members. There weren't as many non-members as we hoped would come that we invited, but that's usually how church events go anyways. The choir and orchestra did really well and the Hart family was a live nativity set up during the refreshments. They did a really great job setting it all up.
I can't believe Christmas is in almost a week or so. Then I realize that I spent the entire year of 2014 in Iowa on my mission and it's kind of weird. It doesn't feel like it has been an entire year. Maybe 6 months tops. Time really flies by on the mission. Sister Roberts has about 9 weeks left and once she goes home I only have 6 weeks left! Scary!
If you haven't heard of the HUGE Initiative going on right now in the Church go to:
Mormon.org/Christmas and watch "HE IS THE GIFT." This is a big missionary effort and it's large scale including an ad that has a month long residence on the mega-tron on Time Square in New York City and ads on YouTube. Please share this link with everyone you know, especially people who do not know about the restored Gospel! Refer them to missionaries! It will only be available for a short time.
I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas and being able to spend this time of year enjoying yourself and being around good friends and good people. Remember to express your gratitude for the Savior Jesus Christ as well as for all the people in your life who have been there for you.
p.s. AND if you go to the store and the food or item you want to buy specifically have two different visual options to pick from: (1) Happy Holidays, or (2) Merry Christmas. LOL! Please pick the Merry Christmas one! I can't stand Happy Holidays. Ridikilus! I was at Aldi's today getting groceries and each brand of Christmas chocolates had two different packaging so people could pick if theirs had Christ on it or not. So Silly.