(Read with English Accent) MERRY CHRISTMAS HARRY!! Oh how I miss the holiday seasons in America... but they are quite lovely here in the beautiful French alps!! I feel so blessed to be here. We were able to take a trip to Lyon this past week for a 5 zone Christmas Conference!! We got the coolest mission watch from the Roney family! I will attach a picture. One of the elders dressed up as Santa and distributed the gifts :) hahaha, they passed out all of the presents that have been sent in from around the world for missionaries. It was quite magical to say the least. Some missionaries walked away with too many packages to carry by themselves and their companion! It was so much fun. Us four sisters decided we wanted to save our gifts for Christmas morning, so we didn't open them. We opened our companions packages and wrapped them for each other! Our tree is surrounded by news paper wrapped gifts :) oh the life of a poor missionary! Haha, its very cute. We are ecstatic!! Anyway, the conference was beautiful. President focused on how one birth can change the world! It was, as always, centered on the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have never had such a spiritual experience yet on my mission. Soeur Richardson and I were brought to tears for a majority of the conference. They also revealed our objective for 2014 as well!! They told us that we wouldn't be baptizing anymore... but that we would be baptizing FAMILIES!! Soeur Richardson and I were overjoyed by this idea seeing as we have felt like there has been a family waiting for us since we arrived here... well gosh darn it are we pumped now!! We have felt the love of the Savior during this season, and we have been trying our best to share this love with all those around us.
So last PDay we actually took 3 hours more of Missionary work so that we could stay in Lyon for a few more hours and venture around!! We were able to ride the HUGE ferris wheel there and had a BLAST! It was magical to say the least. We took some beautiful pictures around all of the lights. I hope I get to serve in Lyon one day, cause dang. It's so full of life!! It was a fun experience for us.
We had a rough week numbers wise because most of our amis are out of town for the holidays! We dropped Lucien this week because he is not making time for us, even when we know he most definitely could. Its always sad to drop an ami, but I know that he will recognize the absence of the
We ended up having a RDV with Yves and I've at the same time because we got our schedule mixed up... its hard having two amis with the same name! So the RDV wasn't very productive because they had never met, and they instantly hit it off! But they both committed to live the Word of Wisdom. They are making BEAUTIFUL progress. We also set there baptismal dates for January 18th. We are very excited and ready to continue to help them to progress towards this first beautiful covenant they need. They will both be out of town for quite some time as well. YIKES! So pray for all of our amis to be wise during their holiday seasons and to read and pray everyday so they can stay strong in their paths!
We may not have been able to see many amis, but we were able to see lots of members and many less actives. We made the cutest cookie bags and went caroling to the members! We were able to SPARK them like crazy. They have really come to love us. We touched their hearts, that is for sure. We went to Pont de Beauvoisin one morning this week to hit three less active families with our glorious harmonies of Angles We have Heard on High. We were so lucky, and we knew the Lord was helping us, because all three of the families were home, and they invited us in. We felt so lucky to get to know them and share just a little bit of the Christmas Spirit with them. We focused on reading Luke 2:8-20 with them. We discussed the sign of the angel and the humble state of the shepherds and their exceeding joy in sharing their knowledge of the new born king with everyone they met. We must do the same!! The less active families in our branch are so sweet... and they just need a little love.
We went to eat with the Menet family, a couple that has been inactive for a year now. We felt very impressed to talk about the atonement and forgiveness with them, because President told me that we always need to invite the members to repent and be happy. So we talked about it after a delicious couscous meal, and I was brought to tears. The Spirit dwelt with us as we discussed the love and sacrifice of the Savior. Frere Menet told us that he was holding a grudge against a couple of members in the Branch and that he had finally understood the atonement enough to forgive these men and return to church with his wife, where they belonged. I was so touched and they both personally thanked me yesterday at church me for the spirit we brought into their home. It is so homey to see all of the less actives at church... we may not have had many amis at church yesterday, but there were 9 less/inactives. We felt like we did some good this week.
In between caroling to members, we also caroled to random homes; we usually choose HUGE houses that look like mini castles that could have families. There was this gorgeous gothic house in the middle of nowhere with a heavenly gate in front of it... it looked deserted, but we decided to try anyway. Almost immediately after we rang the sonnerie, the huge gates began to open... CREEPY!! We looked at each other, but didn't know what to do, but we went inside. A family lives there. Only one of the sons was there, but he let us sing to him and then we left him our card and headed on our way. It was a dream come true. We spread some Christmas cheer this week.
We went to Aix les Bains to visit our awesome re-activated member Frere Naccaro. As we were walking to the café, a cute Christmas parade came dancing through the streets! We also had a couple of funny instances where I fell... Twice that is. Once on a bus where I was trying to take off my jacket and totally biffed it as we took a corner. And then last night I jumped into my desk chair with a little too much force and it fell over in the middle of the living room... my chair landed on the garbage can, and I smooshed it. It was too funny! My clumsiness was a source of laughter this week... as always.
Our Christmas day will be spent at the church with a few amis and members who would otherwise be alone this year... at first we were a little bummed not to be in the warmth of a members home, but we know that the Lord has truly blessed us with this opportunity. We are overjoyed at the idea of being with those people and helping them feel surrounded by the love of the Savior as we celebrate His birth. What a beautiful occasion. I invite you all to help those that may feel alone, feel the love of the Savior during the Christmas holiday. After all, is that not what the season is about? Remember Him and do as He would do. You will be changed and you will feel His love for you as you show His love for them.
I love you all and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. He Lives.