Sunday, May 6, 2018

"And on earth peace, good will toward men" (December 25, 2017)

Merry Christmas! 

I have no time today, so just a few thoughts.

We have had a really fun week before Christmas. We gave service at the veterans home, and have been fed more than a healthy amount, and our apartment is filled with Christmas goodies people have given us. Yesterday we had a musical sacrament meeting and the primary kids sang, and we sang, and we had 4 investigators come which was a miracle because many people told is they couldn't come because they would be with their families. And the high today here is -1, yes that's one degree below zero, and we've been sitting at -14 most of the day. Minnesota is just a little chilly.
And this morning, the area seventy, Elde

r Stacey and his family had our district over for Christmas breakfast, and it was fantastic. You should always spend Christmas with a member of the seventy. We performed music, and sang songs, and shared our testimonies of Jesus Christ, and it was a special Christmas morning I will never forget. 

Ok, so I've been having this really specific thought and I hope my words can sufficiently describe it. Being away from home for Christmas isn't easy. And this week, as miracle filled and amazing it has been, it's been strange because it doesn't quite feel like Christmas should and how it always has. Then yesterday in church, one of our members was bearing his testimony about Christmas. At one point he said "And many of you know how hard it is to be away from home on Christmas." I immediately thought about the missionaries, about myself, and all the other missionaries I know who are far from home this Christmas season, and how hard it is. Then as he kept talking, I realized he was talking about all of our members. Almost everyone in our congregation, their families are back home in Mexico, in Ecuador, in Peru, in Honduras, in El Salvador, and he was talking about how they all miss Christmas in their own countries and with their own families. I immediately felt so guilty, when everyone we work with is experiencing many of the exact same feelings and until that moment I had been so selfishly thinking of myself. And many of them have it so much harder than we do, many of their families don't approve of their membership in the church, many of them have no financial or legal means to ever go back and visit their families. I am so grateful for each and everyone of them and all that they had taught me. I can't even imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't met all these amazing people I have come to love in the last 10 months. Because they really have nothing, but they give everything they have to the gospel. They take hard callings when they're already working two jobs, they invite the missionaries into their homes, and make us part of their families. They pay tithing when they don't have two dimes to rub together, and they do it all and never, ever complain. And I know it is hard, but they do it joyfully. Because they have found hope in the gospel. They find hope in the message of Christmas, in the message of the gospel, that because of Christ we all have hope. This has been the most amazing Christmas, because I have spent it with my family here in Minnesota, with these wonderful people whom I love so dearly, who have taught me so much. 

Merry Christmas!
Thank you for all you do!

Hermana Meredith

1. Landon, the son of one of our recent converts, looks just like the little boy from Home Alone, so we took a Christmas picture with him. Ah, isn't he just the cutest?
2. We walked out of church to a white Christmas! 
3. Service at the veterans home
4. You've got to sing for your supper - we ate and sang about 3 different times on Christmas eve
5. We tried to make our apartment look like Christmas 🎄🎄

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