Happy Birthday to my sweet little Holland! (I know, belated, I didn't know I wouldn't be writing for 2 weeks). And just in case, Happy Birthday Nana and Julie!!
Transfers were last week. I have a new companion, Sister Timoteo. She was born and raised in American Samoa, aaand is also from Washington state. She's a powerhouse, and very purpose focused, which is awesome. This is her last transfer, so we will be working very hard. Like we would any other transfer, of course. But I feel like missionaries feel an extra sense of urgency when the end starts drawing near. She has a beautiful voice, and I quite enjoy just listening to her sing. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot (jk, I never forget, because I see her literally all day long) she is a complete Barbie doll. Like, legit, Miss American Samoa. Okay, well, she could have been, at least. Because she's gorgeous.
New Preparation day... Monday... at least, for the next month. Christmas is getting set up all over the place, it's so much fun. Just today one of the nativity scenes, over by the reflection pool went up. Yay for the Christmas season! (Christmas a comin and the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat... Muppets? Anyone?).
So, this last week or so has been interesting, to say the least, here at Church Headquarters. Many of you, I'm sure, are aware of the recent changes (additions, really) to Handbook 1 regarding church discipline and the baptism of children being raised in homes of people in a homosexual relationship. There have been quite a few gatherings, or protests, if you will, around the Square (though not ON it... private property, yo). And it has been a big ball of mixed emotions. I've gotta say, misunderstanding has got to be the biggest reason for so many problems in the world. And it has been heartbreaking to meet members of the church (even some returned missionaries) asking about how they could have their names removed from the records. Either 1)they never understood the doctrine correctly or 2)they don't understand the new policy. And now they're making a HUGE decision, that will affect their eternal salvation, and it just breaks my heart. For those of you who aren't aware of this policy, just go to LDS.org, it's all over the main page.
I am so grateful that we have living, modern prophets and apostles through whom Christ directs His church. These men just have so much love, for EVERYONE in the world, it is incredible. I just wish people could see, that if everyone were living the gospel of Christ, we could all live in peace and prosperity. It's taught in the Book of Mormon, like in Alma 50. Yet people keep trying to do things their own way. It's so frustrating, but I know it's all part of God's great plan- men are free to choose liberty and eternal life, or captivity and death. The choice is ours. And how blessed we are to have leaders chosen by God to help us in our choosing :)
Last week we had the special opportunity to skype one of our investigator's baptism! Not my favorite way to view a baptismal service, but it was cool. The local missionaries were very kind to allow us to participate :) And we are so excited for our boy, Cliff. Well, man. He's a man, haha. It has been such a joy teaching him over the phone, and getting to be involved as he progressed towards baptism, and now of course to the temple!
Oh, I'm not at the Beehive House anymore. So, once a week I'll be serving at Welfare Square. I'm excited- lots to learn about it, but it is just incredible, the work that members of the church do to help and serve their fellowmen. The 3 principles at Welfare Square are the same as at the Humanitarian Center... help the poor and needy, foster self reliance, and encourage service to others. So... that's cool.
Keep reading the Book of Mormon. I often hear Ben's voice in my head... "If you know the Book of Mormon is true, what do you know?" Through that book, we can anchor our testimonies in Christ. And like it says in Helaman 5:12, if we build on the rock of our redeemer, no storm can tear us down (yeah yeah, not a direct quote. go read it for yourself). Our testimony of the gospel MUST be based in Christ, or will so easily to caught up in the winds of the times.
I love you all so very much. Keep doing the things that draw you closer to your Savior. He is the Light, the Life, and the Way.
Make good, and choose happiness. God is so good. What a blessing we've been given, to have our eyes open to it.
All the Love from Temple Square,