FAMILY!!!!!! Guess who's coming home next week???? I may be a tiny bit over-excited to see you all.
I seriously can't believe it and I even said to one of the Sisters in my class yesterday that I think I need to have a good cry just to make it feel real! It still doesn't feel real.
Christmas for us was amazing, especially when I got to call home. That was so awesome! It seemed strange finishing off the conversations after an hour by saying, "See you in two weeks!" Weird! Christmas Eve was so much fun where we had dinner together as a mission to kick off the celebrations and then we watched the movie, "The Nativity" with Keisha Castle-Hughes acting as Mary. It was a little more graphic than I remembered but still good. Then we did our Pasada where the Sisters were put into zones and then walked to different stations on Temple Square and experienced a roving Nativity spectacular. My companion and I were based in the Assembly Hall balcony and we depicted the, "Angels" who came around the time of Christ's birth to announce the good tidings of great joy. It was really sweet and the Spirit was super strong. I had a whole new perspective on how those poor shepherds must've felt when the angels visited them. I'm positive for them it was an awesome experience. Well, as we continued with the Christmas theme we sang the song, "Angels we Have Heard on High" before the sisters headed off to their next station. Special times. That was a great way to start off Christmas. My companion and I had a neat experience prior to the Nativity. While inside the Assembly Hall we met a family who were in Salt Lake City because their three year old son was in the hospital. They had three other children and had brought them to the Square to see the Temple lights. This family was really incredible and had an awesome understanding about God's will and that if it was time for their sickly son to go then there was nothing they could do about, but if it wasn't his time then the Lord would take care of everything. They said there is no point worrying about something you have no control over. I loved their attitude, especially at a time when we are all reflecting on the birth of our Saviour and knowing what he went through. I gained an even greater appreciation for our Heavenly Father in following through with His great Plan of Happiness for us. For me, it was a very special and sacred experience to meet this family and then soon after go and be the angels who announced the Savior's birth.
Well, Christmas morning was awesome where we got to sleep in until 7:30 a.m. and then we all pitched in to make breakfast. I had bought some croissants so I filled each one with cheese, ham and tomatoes and put them in the oven to warm up just like I was told to by my sister. Our roommates had made french toast and Sister Magaoay and her companion made scrambled eggs. We had a feast and then we went down to the Square so my companion could call home to her family. After her phone call we went back home and chilled a little before returning to the Square. This Winter there hasn't been as much snow and there no snow fell on Christmas day so we had tons of people come to the Square wanting to take the tours. It was awesome! At 5:00 p.m. we closed the gates on the Square and headed off to have Christmas dinner with the rest of our Mission then we watched an LDS film, "Christmas for a Dollar!" It was really cute. After the film Santa came and spoiled us with more gifts and seriously, this year I could not believe what we got in our stockings! I will send you a picture but I am so grateful and humbled by all the kindness from those people who contributed. Oh and to my loving Porter family, "Thank you so much for the BYU hoodie, it is so awesome and I wore it to our Christmas party! It was so nice and warm!" I know I have been so blessed for serving a mission and I am so happy I chose to serve. I know that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the World and that we don't have to wait for a national holiday to celebrate his birth. I'm grateful we can celebrate it everyday in our hearts!
I am so happy that I have served in the best mission in the world. No one will ever be able to understand what an awesome mission this mission is unless you serve here but for those who have followed my blog I hope you have been able to recognize how true that statement is for me. This is a very unique mission but I'm so grateful for all the hardworking examples I've had during my mission. I'm also very thankful that I got to serve in the South Carolina Columbia Mission. That was the icing on the cake for my mission experiences. Nothing like a piece of humble pie when you experience being swarmed by gnats and chased by dogs. But truly, despite the gnats and the dogs I had so many tender mercy experiences like Kaitlyn and Brian getting baptized and more to come soon!
I love this Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Saviour will come and reign again soon and I'm excited to continue to spread His word no matter where I am.
I love you all heaps,
Be seeing you soon!
P.s. Pray for me, because this week is going to be crazy busy and I need my health and strength! Our musical number at church yesterday was really beautiful and we had class photos at the flag pole this morning. This is my class clinging to the pole protesting that we do not want to leave the Square. So crack up! I'm gonna miss these sisters terribly! Picture of me and then a picture of my presents in my stocking. Another picture of Sister Back and I with President and Sister Gillette. Oh and guess who found me this week? "Nat & Kevin Martin!" So awesome!!! Love you Nat xo