Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Miracles!

Hey y'all!

What's up? This is Sister Fox!! Do you know what I've discovered over this past week? I've developed this random talent for whistling. I don't even know where it came from! I could never whistle in the past, and now all of a sudden I find myself whistling hymns with Sister Schwab. We even harmonize them! It's pretty cool. Yay for random talents!

So I have a couple quotes this week that I thought were pretty funny. Here it goes:

Sister Schwab: Is this even a Christmas song???
Me: . . . It's O Holy Night.

Note to self: Next time Sister Schwab accidentally takes Benadryll in the morning, don't offer her a whole caffeine pill to counter the effects. For the record I did offer to cut it in half. She wanted a whole one. I forgot to mention I only take it in fourths.

Anonymous Elder: Her name is Brinisha.
Me: Brinisha? Cool name! Does she go by Bri? 'Cuz that would be awesome!! I think Bri is one of the cutest nicknames a person could have, wouldn't you agree??
Elder: (Completely serious) Uh. . . no! All girls who go by Bri are the spawn of Satan!
Me: . . . Elder. That's my first name.
Elder: . . . Oh. All girls . . . except you.

Observation: Not knowing your fellow missionaries by their first names can get you into very awkward situations.

This week was so much better than last week! We saw a lot of miracles and tender mercies this week. I believe it's because of the Christmas season. I wish this season lasted 2 months instead of just one!! I love being a missionary around Christmastime. It really is the best! Here are some things we experienced this week:

Tuesday morning was really stressful because we were desperately trying to figure out rides for exchanges. We exchanged with Athens this week, and they are located almost 2 hours away. So we had to find a time that would fit in both of our schedules to meet up, a place to meet up halfway (which was difficult because I don't know Chattanooga very well), and a time that would fit into our members' schedules because we didn't have the miles to drive ourselves. So, kind of stressful. But! Christmas miracle. We figured it out. And it was a good exchange! I stayed the night in Athens with two of those sisters; they are in a trio. We had an awesome teaching appointment with a new investigator, David. He is really solid! He's agnostic, but his mind and heart are wide open to learning more. We taught him the Restoration and it was one of the best Restoration lessons I've had in a long time. We taught the Restoration 3 times this week! That felt so flipping good. After Elder Corbridge changed my teaching style I haven't had much opportunity to put it into practice. We had a ton of teaching opportunities this week and they were so good! Good lesson. The Athens sisters are solid teachers as well. It was awesome!

Wednesday morning we provided service to a few members and their non-member friends. It was a lot of fun! We were wrapping scarves for their coworkers. They even let us keep one! I got a white one with a brown "F" on it. It made me really excited. I have a thing for scarves. And pens. Missionaries start obsessing over the strangest things. Wednesday night we had another little Christmas miracle! At least it was in my book. I went on splits for the first time in my entire mission. Which is funny because I have been in a trio for over half my mission and we never once split up because there was never too much work to be done in a single area. Sister Schwab went to visit less-actives with the Relief Society president and I went with Sister McAbee to visit some more less actives. We found a less-active sister that neither of us knew; her name is Melissa. She was so excited to see us! She adores missionaries. She was a convert to the church about 25 years ago, but her work schedule and her crazy life has kept her from coming. But she still loves the church and has a really strong testimony. I really enjoyed that experience. It was cool to find someone who still loved the Church, and right now she needs help more than ever. It was no coincidence we found her! Awesome lesson. Awesome times. Missionary work is awesome.

Thursday was another really awesome day! It started out a little rough for Sister Schwab because she took Benadryll for an allergic reaction she had to nuts. She thought she was taking another kind of allergy medication. She got so drowsy she couldn't stay awake so I offered a caffeine pill. Almost the entire day she was feeling really kind of strange, but it was slightly funny. We had a really good District meeting and then put together our skit for Zone Meeting this Thursday. We're excited for it! It's really clever. I'll have to send a copy of the script sometime. Around dinner time the medicine wore off so Sister Schwab and I went out caroling. Oh my heavens. Best. Door approach. Ever. A lot of people in the South will still turn down a prayer, but we haven't had anyone turn down a Christmas carol. We have seen so many miracles from simply caroling. Music has a way of softening hearts. We drove to a less-active's house and offered to sing them a carol. The wife is Mormon, but the husband is not. They let us inside and we sang to them, made casual conversation, and simply told them how much we loved them. They weren't interested in us coming back and sharing more, but they appreciated our visit. Once we got to the car Sister Schwab turned to me and said, "I didn't want to tell you this before we saw them, but her husband is completely anti-Mormon and no one from the church has gotten into their house before." I was blown away. He didn't seem that happy to see us, but he was happy to invite us in and we had a pretty good conversation about faith after we sang. Hopefully now his heart has been a little more softened toward our faith. Yeah. Christmas Miracle.

That night we had another Christmas miracle while we were caroling! We caroled into another less-active's house, and Sister Schwab had absolutely no idea why they had left the church. We sang them a carol and then their daughter offered to sing us a song. Turns out she is a professional singer! It was gorgeous. After that they totally opened up to us and told us why they haven't been back to church in so many years. Just like that! We didn't even have to ask. They invited us back for next week! Hymns really do have a way of softening people's hearts!

And Friday we had another Christmas miracle!! From what you may ask? Caroling!! We went to see a potential investigator, Alice. Last time we saw her she wasn't that excited to see us and told us to come back some other time. This time we told her we were out caroling and wanted to sing a hymn. She seemed a little taken aback but let us sing. She was deeply touched that we came by to sing to her. She even called her sister on the phone and had us sing to her sister over the phone because she liked it so much. Then she started giving us requests of what songs to sing. She opened up to us about her family and what she's going through and told us she really appreciates what we do. We talked about the Gospel and offered her a Book of Mormon. She took it!!! It's a Christmas miracle!! Sister Schwab and Sister Crapo had offered her a Book of Mormon before and she wouldn't take it. She didn't want "things like that" inside her house. But this time she said she trusted us and she wanted to learn more about it!! It was amazing! And she apologized for shooing us away the last time we had seen her. And invited us by again for hot chocolate. Family and friends, caroling is the key to people's hearts.

Saturday was the biggest miracle of all. It was completely and perfectly miraculous. I wish I could describe it in detail, but that's too hard a feat. I'll try though. I talked about Tori in my last email. We have tried so hard to teach her the Restoration. There are always way too many distractions with her little kids running around. We saw her at 3:00 on Saturday and she said if we came back at 5:00 she would put the kids down for a nap so we could talk about the Church. We came back with a member at 5:00, and sure enough, her kids were asleep! We finally taught her the Restoration from start to finish. And it was the most incredible Restoration lesson I have ever taught, and one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had on my mission. As we testified of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, we invited her to read and pray to receive her own witness that this church is true. She said she already received her answer. She accepted a baptismal date for January 4th! After that we had her say a prayer and it was the most beautiful prayer I have ever been blessed enough to hear. There was not a single dry eye in the room. I wish I could explain further how incredible that experience was, but that's someting I want to save for Skype. Don't let me forget to go into more detail. It was perfectly miraculous.

Sunday we got a little scare when Tori said she had been in the hospital all night. She and her family wouldn't be able to make it to church that day, but we went by to see her Sunday night and she was doing a lot better. She has a lot of problems with her health. Next week we are hoping and praying and crossing our fingers that she and her whole family will make it to church, because she, her husband, and her two little boys really really want to come. She's in our prayers!!
Sunday was so fun! They needed someone to play the piano in primary, so I was able to do singing time with them! And it was so fun. There's nothing like being in a room with a ton of adorable children and singing primary Christmas songs with them. It was a blast! And Sunday afternoon we had another Christmas miracle!! A few weeks ago, before I got here, a woman named Kim and her daughter Raven came on a church tour and really enjoyed it. Since then we've been trying to set up a time when we could come by and teach the lessons. At first they were a bit hesitant, but a member finally convinced them to take the discussions!! So yesterday we had our first teaching appointment with them! It was so good. The Spirit was really strong. We taught the Restoration again. It's incredible that, even though I've taught the Restoration dozens and dozens of times, I teach it differently every time. The Spirit tailors every lesson to the needs of the investigator. After each lesson it's hard to remember what we even say. I do remember that the Spirit was strong and the lesson was incredible. Kim, Raven, and Raven's sister (sadly I didn't get her name) said they would be baptized! Don't have a date yet, but we'll get them with one! They want to be sure they receive a witness before they commit to a date. We promised them they would receive one as they read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Oh it was so good!! I love teaching the Restoration. I love teaching period. I love Christmas. I love being a missionary!!!

So this email is a bit shorter but that's really all I have time for. I just want to leave you all with my testimony that I know that this is the Lord's true church. I know the Priesthood authority has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that he was and is a true, living prophet of God. I know President Thomas S. Monson is God's mouthpiece on the earth today, and as we heed his direction, we will be blessed with protection and safety in this world of chaos. I know that God lives. He loves us. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through Him we can find more happiness and peace than by any other source. Let us remember Him this Christmas season and reflect on the incredible blessings He has given us. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all so much! Have a very Merry Christmas!!! Only a week and a half to go!!! Woohoo!!


-Sister Fox

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