Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy HOLLANDay's



First, it has been a crazy week. We have had TONS of lessons this week, the work is really progressing here in Athens. There is something cycling around on Facebook in Athens about our church giving out free bibles and so we have had tons of referrals for free bibles lately. But the great thing is that they also want to learn about the Book of Mormon! So yay, lots of new investigators!

Sister Bennion (mission presidents wife) is just super into music and caroling and so she is having us all go caroling every night and doing a "living Christmas card" which is basically just a Christmas hymn, reading the story of Christ's birth from the Bible and leaving a blessing on the home and at the end asking if they would like to send a living Christmas card to anyone else. I have loved this (after we got over the awkward "only us singing" thing.) So has everyone else. And it has resulted in a couple new investigators and really good friendships (: The relief society presidency also took us out caroling to a bunch of less actives which was so much fun... Even though everyone would end up laughing really hard in the middle of the song because we were awful. Just awful. and I was left to sing by myself...

The Assistants called and told me I'm training! Again. My third born in the wilderness. There is only ONE sister coming in and I get her. YAY. (: I'm super excited, even though I'm sad Sister Dowdle is leaving me... ): she has great things ahead of her in California.

CHARLIE WAS BAPTIZED. He was so excited. We had his baptism right before the Ward Christmas party so a lot of people would show up and it worked great. A ton of the Ward was involved and he just loves the Ward so much, and the Ward loves him. <3 He's the cutest old man.

Okay. Elder Holland first came to speak only to the sisters on Friday night. Not just the sister missionaries (that would be a dream) but to the sisters of the church in general. There was not a single dry eye in the audience. Here's a couple of notes from that.

-You're probably not perfect, and I know I'm not. But this is the church of God. This IS God's truth. 

-The church, the gospel, the priesthood, the principles, the ordinances. It's true. I am not following a fairytale! And if there's some potholes and freckles and zits, welcome to life.

- Whatever the question, my beloved sisters, the answer is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

- When you feel like your life, plans, dreams, etc are broken.. I remind you that God loves broken things.

- There are cycles in like and moments in life, there's a sequence in life that does require breaking and healing. This is life. There's a plan to it. And if we can hang on and see it for its progression and be patient and trust, then we can see the reason for these seasons, these moments. Everything has a purpose.

- God may love more than anything in the world, short of human beings, but the thing that he loves most, is a broken heart.

- Jesus Christ comes and changes sacrifice of blood and burnt offerings to a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Move away from the physical offerings of the lamb and move more celestial toward the sacrament. It is going to require some pain, some experience. If we say we are disciples of Jesus Christ what does that mean? It means that we have to be willing to walk where he walked, feel what he felt, cry the tears he shed. And Jesus Christ died of a broken heart.

- Maybe your broken heart is for someone else.

- There's plenty of chance and a world of opportunity to have a broken heart.

- Our offer is only symbolic. We aren't going to carry a cross to Calvert. We aren't going to be Jesus, we are going to be disciples. The road to salvation always goes towards Gethsemane. The road to salvation is always going to go a few steps towards Calvary.

And then he spoke to the missionaries. Saturday morning. The Georgia Atlanta and the Georgia Atlanta North Missions (: he shook our hands and looked into the very center of my soul. It was a surreal experience. (: all about teaching with power and continuing in the faith when we get home. His main message was to "Go and Astonish people." So that's what we are working on.

Sorry it's so long. Props to you if you read all this. "You get a gold
star and a chocolate cookie!" - Elder Holland.

Love y'all!     Sister Merritt

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