The lights on Temple Square... uh I mean Temple Hill :)
One of our favorite regulars, Barbara Dodge, in concert
Merry Christmas! We love the things the Spanish Ward brings to the Visitors' Center
Family and friends,
I can't believe that Christmas is coming so soon! I don't know if it's just because I'm on a mission or the palm trees and lack of snow, but even with all the lights and our Christmas exhibit it doesn't quite feel like Christmas. I did get a couple of wonderful Christmas packages from aunt Lisa and Jake Potter this week though (thank you!) so it does feel more cheery than an other week would. I'm so excited to call in 8 days! I feel like there is so much to talk about! Much more than can be said in 40 minutes, but we'll do our best I suppose.
It's been a great week! We had an epic ward party on Saturday night. It was our ward combined with the Mt. Olive Baptist church so as you can imagine was a lively party. Our table was an interesting potpourri of people. It was us, Richard and Janet, Stephanie(our less active who is honestly one of our best friends now and has come to church 8 weeks in a row), Joe (a former investigator we contacted and invited), and an active member whose wife was home with sick kids. No one knew each other and it was fun to watch everyone get acquainted. At the table next to us was the boisterous pastor who would periodically shout "hallelujah" or burst into song throughout the program. Eventually everyone from their church took the stage and led us in some good ole gospel tunes. I loved it! Don't worry, I have a video and the answer is "Yes Richard sang along even though he didn't know any of the words." From what we could tell Janet enjoyed herself and I think it was good that we had the other church there and a non-member with us because she didn't feel so out of place.
The next day was stupendous, marvelous, fantastic, superb, etc. Richard was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting and again his entire family came. They left immediately following Sacrament Meeting, but the Bishop gave him a beautiful blessing and the spirit was strong as the ward indicated our support and excitement to have him as the newest member of our ward. Richard commented later on what a powerful experience it was for him and that he must have chosen the right people to stand in his circle because he could feel their priesthood. When he stood up he even had to shake it off a little and everyone giggled. Later he received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of priest and received the calling to administer the sacrament to the people unable to make it to church. Again, Sister Jones and I were grinning from ear to ear all day. You may not believe this, but it gets better. After church Richard attended a lesson with us as a member present!! He told as that he wanted to be a ward missionary, but was a little surprised that we took him up on it so soon. It was a man we met tracting, his wife, and two daughters. The lesson started out alright. We taught about the Restoration, invited Richard to share how it has impacted his life (nailed it), and watched the 20 minute video with them. After the video, Clevin (the husband), completely took over the lesson and preached to us for thirty minutes about how any added scripture is false, there is no added revelation, there are no prophets after Christ, you know Bible bashing basically. We couldn't get a word in edgewise and as far as we could tell was just trying to convince us how idiotic our beliefs were. Finally he paused to come up for air and I cut him off to politely ask him why, if he felt he had nothing to learn, he had invited us back in the first place. He said something about hearing what we had to say and sharing with us what he knew to be the true doctrine of Christ. Ok... I'm not usually the boldest one in the bunch, but I was not about to walk out of there with him thinking he had convinced us of any portion of his falsehoods. Anyway, almost without breathing (for fear of being interrupted) I shared what the Book of Mormon was for me and how I knew without a doubt that it was true. He was looking at me like I had escaped a nuthouse so I broke eye contact briefly to glance at Sister Jones and then Richard who were both just grinning at me and I felt the courage to go on. I bore about the most powerful testimony I think I have the ability to muster in one minute and then told them we had to be on our way. Clevin closed with a prayer all about how we would come to see the truth and as we left he told us to take our books with us. *Ouch* Don't worry though. As we walked out his oldest teenage daughter said "actually can I have one of those?" and then the other one piped up and said, "Ya I would like on too." I thought their dad might have a stroke or something, but we happily obliged. Alright, so at this point I'm worried about Richard because the last thing we want is for his first member-missionary experience to be discouraging. On the contrary! The first thing he said when we walked out was, "I am so stoked right now!" Ha ha, I was a little exhausted and let out a half frustrated half relieved sigh, but Richard was on cloud nine. He was like, "Did you feel that? Did you feel the spirit with us in there?!" I was pleased and amused by his reaction, but I guess still looked a little flustered because Richard grabbed my hand, shook it until I thought it might fall off and said, "What's the matter? You don't even realize what you just did in there do you? We are planting seeds here!!" Ha ha Ohmahgoodness... Dear Richard, Can you please come with us to every lesson?
Long story short? Big day yesterday :) Angel and Enrique came to church again and participated a lot in gospel principles. Angel is still set for the 30 and Enrique will hopefully follow in January.
I'm out of time. We have to finish early for a rehearsal. Who would have thought I would rehearse on my mission? Nice :)
Love you all! Merry Christmas!