Happy Christmas everybody!
This week my email is entitled, "Good Tidings of Great Joy" because its the season to be jolly and boy, am I jolly! I have witnessed so many miracles and received so many blessings this past week and I am very grateful for the continued love of my Heavenly Father.
I am going to share a few of the miracles with you all:
Monday night we finished our P-Day and went to work and we kept meeting up with so many adorable children. They would see our badges and point and say, "Wow, those are missionaries!" I had a little girl come up to me and say, "One day I want to be a missionary. How can I be a missionary now?" So cute! We got lots of hugs from the children and it was the sweetest thing ever. I felt soooo loved. That night we ran into the parents of one my companion's from the South Carolina Columbia Mission - Sister Walker. Her parents and younger sister Lexi were looking for one of the Thai Sister missionaries because they wanted to give her a warm coat. They'd found the sister missionary and when we were talking to them they invited my companion and I to have lunch with them the next day.
So, on Tuesday, after receiving permission from President Gillette we went to lunch with the Walker's at the Blue Lemon Restaurant which was awesome. I love Sister Walker because she has such a bubbly personality just like her daughter and it was cool to be at lunch with them. She even brought me the biggest bag of Peanut M&M's that I have ever seen! We shared it with our fellow sister missionaries and still have lots left.
Wednesday we were in the office when a man by the name of Brother Westergaard - he drives people from the airport to bring them for a tour on Temple Square - came and handed me an envelope with my name on it. He just gave it to me and left. I had met him a week before and he'd asked me if I had a copy of the Articles of Faith in Maori. I learnt during that visit that he had served his mission in New Zealand. Well, I told him that I didn't have a copy of the articles of faith in Maori so inside the envelope today was, "The Articles of Faith in Maori" along with a sweet experience that he had written about from his mission days. In his experience he shared a story about how when he was on his mission he was to be transferred but had no money for transportation. A humble Maori member of the church gave him $11.00 because this member felt lthat this missionary needed it. Well, inside this envelope Brother Westergaard had also enclosed a ten dollar bill and a magnet with a NZ Tiki on it. Wow! If I didn't already feel so loved I certainly felt it now. I was so humbled by his kindness and kept wondering, "What have I done to deserve all these blessings?"
Thursday I was surprised to see a package addressed to me sitting on our Mail table. It was from Kellyville 1st Ward! So excited! I laughed so hard when I opened the package because there was a huge photo of me inside the box. I have to take a picture of it and send it to you. I was so grateful to everyone that contributed to my package. Thank you so much for making my day Kellyville family!!! Bishop Leota had written about all the missionary work that is happening back home in Kellyville 1st Ward and it made me so happy to hear of how everyone is working together to hasten the work and they have also witnessed baptisms! That is awesome!!!! Thanks so much everyone.
Friday night my companion went to the Latino Concert and I was on exchanges with Sister Magaoay - my little MTC companion. We found a man on the Square who had been attending church and contemplating baptism. He wants to be baptized for the right reasons so we told him we would be happy to phone him so he gave us his contact details. I had the chance to call one of my other investigators in South Carolina whom I hadn't been able to get a hold of for a few weeks and she was the one who we gave the large print copy of the Book of Mormon too. We'd also shared the Mormon Message about, "Mountains to Climb" and was surprised by everything that she had learnt. She said she had still been reading the Book of Mormon and even downloaded it onto her kindle to read. She asked why the missionaries hadn't come back to visit her? I'd talked to Sister Walker who said that they went to visit her and she believes the Book of Mormon is true but that she wasn't able to make it to church but will make it soon.
I am excited to share my biggest miracle of the week which happened on Saturday. You may remember my investigator Brian back in the South Carolina Columbia Mission. I had called Brian a week ago and he said he wasn't going to get baptized because he wanted to be able to quit smoking and drinking for two consecutive weeks before he was baptized. In doing so, this meant that he could be baptized on December 7th. I called him around his 4:00 p.m. and we were making small talk and then I said, "So Brian, when are you getting baptized?" He then said to me, " You mean, "When am I getting confirmed?" OHHHHHHH, I was soooooo happy! He had been baptized that morning and that was the biggest tender mercy of my life! He was so happy and sounded like a whole new man because thats exactly what he is. The first time I met Brian he wasn't very sober and also smoking and now he is sober and clean every whit. I love this gospel. I love how it can change people's lives for the better and all they have to do is be obedient to God's commandments. I'm so proud of him!
Sunday we continued to receive more blessings. "Guess who came to our early morning sacrament meeting?" " Elder Quentin. L. Cook!" He met President Gillette in the elevator after church last week and asked if he wouldn't mind if he joined us so he could partake of the Sacrament and then go and attend all of his other meetings in the day. It was so cool to have an apostle sitting with us in our Sunday meetings. It was a wonderful sacrament meeting. The day was filled with lots of wonderful experiences - we went to Music and the Spoken Word Christmas special which was fun, had our staff meeting after where I was asked to give the spiritual thought. Later on in the day the whole mission was to attend the Christmas devotional and because of this a BYU YSA Ward was invited to cover the Square for us while we went. Guess who was asked to train up the YSA? Yup! My companion and I were asked to do the training and we had almost 200 YSA volunteers turn up with about 6-8 returned Temple Square missionaries who had also come to help out. It was really awesome to have the RM's back on the Square to help. They were Sister Jardine, Sister McKay, Sister Hinton, Sister Yazzie, Sister Aranda, Sister Ibarra, Sister Palmer, Sister Christensen and Sister Fredrickson. It was more like a fun mini reunion with many of these sisters having been my leaders at the start of my mission. We got through the training and knew that the Square was going to be in safe hands for an hour!
Well, I've had a wonderful week and my companion and I are certainly feeling strengthened beyond doubt as we've witnessed the Lord's hand where in carrying us during those times where we've almost had no energy left to continue on. We slept well last night and attended the temple this morning. It has been such a wonderful week. I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit and recognize the Lord's hand in everything.
I love you all and pray that you may continue to recognize the miracles in your life and have good tidings and experience great joy just like I have this past week.
Love Sister Chadderton