It's kind of sad that I only get one Christmas in the mission field, it has been so much fun! We had a all mission Christmas conference on Friday which was a blast! I'm so grateful for all of the friends I have made here in NJ. As I get "older" in the mission, more and more of my friends are finishing up their missions and going home, which is sad, but I am so grateful to have gotten to know them in the first place! The Lord puts us in the places we need to be to meet the people that we need to meet and I am so grateful for all the incredible people he has placed in my life! Not just here in the mission field, but throughout my whole life I have been blessed with so many wonderful influences and friends whether they be from my ward, school, teammates, YSA ward, college, or here on the mission. I have been immeasurably blessed and I want to thank all of you for your influence in my life!
Our Christmas miracle of the week was a guy named Ben coming to church! We had contacted him a couple weeks ago while tracting with a member of the ward, but after our conversation with him we didn't think he had any real interest. We didn't even push to set up a return appointment with him because we thought he would either juke or just be wasting our time. So we just gave him a restoration pamphlet with our number and the church's address and invited him to come to church sometime and check it out. Weak invitation I know. But yesterday during sacrament meeting he showed up! I couldn't believe it! And then he stayed all 3 hours! A couple members of the ward got a little over excited and kind of ambushed him with attention. For example, the gospel principles teacher focused the whole lesson on him and made him answer every question, but when we talked to him after he said he had a good experience! He asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon, and when we tried to set up an appointment with him he said "what about just doing it next Sunday after church?" Meaning he is planning to come again! It was a huge reminder to me that we never know who is prepared and we need to invite EVERYONE.
I'll be attaching a picture that Ben is in, which I know is weird. Why did we take a picture with someone their first time coming to church? Haha let me explain. The picture was just supposed to be with Cecilia. She is the member that was with us when we contacted Ben. She recently got back from her mission in Chile and is also the ward mission leader's daughter and so she has helped us a lot the last two weeks. Unfortunately yesterday she left to go to Cali for Christmas and then she will be starting back into school at BYU, so we wanted to take a picture with her before she left. Ben happened to be standing there when we wanted to take the picture, and Cecilia's dad (who was taking the picture) roped Ben into getting in the picture with us.
Funny story of the week. We stopped by a media referral's house to deliver a Book of Mormon that he had requested. When he opened the door I saw that he happened to be watching the BYU vs. Utah game, so that was slightly distracting for me...but we delivered the BoM and ended up talking to him for a little while. The problem was that he has fairly intoxicated. He was asking questions about stuff like polygamy, but was actually very respectful for a drunk guy haha but needless to say our attempts to explain things didn't go very well! Hopefully we will be able to come back at a better time!
Merry Christmas everyone!