This past Christmas was the BEST Christmas I have ever had in my entire life. Many people had warned me how hard it would be to be away from my family (which is true) but it was so easy to rejoice in the birth of our Savior and to spend this time of year with those who I am serving. Being with the Jefferies was one of the best parts of course. We ate croissants and hot chocolate :) (A Jameson Christmas morning tradition.) I still made the lion house rolls. I got to be with my beautiful companion and simpatizzanti. I got to talk to my ENTIRE family. It was amazing. :) Please thank all of the wonderful people who took part in the packages and wishes for Christmas.
I LOVED the letter full of all the little notes from people. That was probably my favorite part. :) Later Christmas evening we went to visit our Ward Mission Leader and his family! They gave us the most beautiful presents : oreos and a pen with our FULL name engraved on it. :) OH I LOVE FORLI!!!!
After Christmas there is another holiday that Italians celebrate called Santo Stefano. :) We celebrated it by visiting a part member family for a lunch (aka feast) with the Jefferies. Then we finished the evening with an inattivi family for dinner. This family (inattive si chiama famiglia Z) is sooooo precious and special to us. They are husband and wife without any children so they are like the "cool aunt and uncle" if you will. My heart overflows with joy when we are with them. If I had to move back to Forli for the rest of my life for any person, it would be for this family. (There are 100% invited to my wedding) There is a light and a special spirit about them that just makes them shine. :)
This week has been full of beautiful, little surprises. Some of the biggest occurred on Sunday. We had 5 non members in church on Sunday - 3 of which had come on their own or through the efforts of our members. Along with them came an inactive family that we have begun to visit (and whom we love with all of our hearts!!) The air in church was so full and beautiful. :) Later that evening we went to teach a simpatizzanti from Nigeria (si chiama K) who had a friend visiting him. This friend (si chiama F) had invited himself to listen to us and to learn of our message. It was a very interesting lesson due to the fact that F currently lives with a pastor but does not understand who Jesus is but the Spirit was sooooo powerful. (Really... it felt like a very fishy lesson. His questions were too perfect and thought out. I felt as if he were a SPY for the Pastor who was originally a member of our church) It was one of the most spiritual lessons I have ever experienced. F asked many deep and soul searching questions and we just tried to bare our testimonies with all of our might. We literally felt the power and authority of our calling (something that we both had just studied that week in chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel). F became a new simpatizzanti and we have a return appointment with him on Friday. We hope to bring some members with us and to help him discover our Savior, Jesus Christ.
To finish I just wanted to share a thought from the reading of the Book Of Mormon. Alma 8 is such a powerful chapter, especially revolved around missionary work. In verse 10 it explains how Alma "labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer..." I read in the Book Of Mormon institute manual regarding this verse, about the power and meaning of mighty prayer. Wirthlin asks simple yet powerful questions about how we pray to God. He asks whether our prayers are repeated without much thought, like from a machine or whether we take time to ponder the blessing. If there is not an effort on our part to pray, how much of an effort do we expect from God? He told us to take time to ponder the blessings in life and "struggle" if you will to pour out our heart to God. I KNOW that God answers prayers. It is up to us to do our part in the conversation and speak with Him, our loving Heavenly Father.
Vi voglio bene!!!
|This is a baked pasta dish. It had spinach, ham and cheese rolled up in homemade pasta. L made it and it was absolutely delicious. (Thank you Sorella Jefferies for helping us figure out exactly what this was!)|