Well.. the subject kind of gives it all away eh?
I hope everybody took the time to contemplate and appreciate the gravity of the Saviour's Atonement in each of our lives on Christmas!!
Christmas on mission has proved to be VERY different than any other Christmas I've had before! Although I missed all of your beautiful, smiling faces -- I really loved celebrating with my mission family here! The members took good care of us!
Talking to the fam on Christmas was incredible!! However after the call I was feeling a little lonely and perhaps a little homesick.. BUT I was quickly uplifted as I read the letters that I have received from beloved friends and family; this is a universal "THANK YOU" to everybody that helped me feel loved and encouraged when I felt vulnerable!! My first Christmas on mission will not be remembered as lonely, but rather it will be remembered with peace and with love!! I am so grateful to bear the name of He whose birth we celebrate! I love being a missionary!!
As part of getting into the Christmas spirit, I was able to find a BUNCH of Christmas decorations in our boarding, SO naturally, I went ALL out decorating our boarding!! Elder Sixaba walked out about half way through my project and just said "woah" hahha! The boarding looks great!! We had a small Christmas tree with lights and all! I originally had intentions to take pictures... but I forgot... Whoops.
On Sunday I was also able to spend my first Birthday on mission! This, too, but unlike any other! instead of waking up to either: a) friends kidnapping me for breakfast at Kneaders (shout out to you guys. b) the smell of a delicious breakfast being made by mom, or c) with the thought of gifts and a celebration; I woke up, made myself a REAL NICE breakfast ("treat yo' self") and went to church! Upon our arrival I was asked to give a talk. AGAIN. So I prayed for inspiration and gave an impromtu talk on the different levels of Prayer, what a blessing it was to share my witness of the power of prayer and to share advice on how we can make our prayers more meaningful and more personal!!
From Preach My Gopspel the following is provided in guidance on how we can make our prayers more deeply personal and meaningful -- how we can develop a greater relationship to our Father in Heaven through frequent, fervent prayers:
1.Use the Correct Language of Prayer
2. Always express gratitude for your blessings
3. Pray specifically for the guidance of the Holy Ghost
4. Pray with love and charity
5. Pray with Real Intent
6. Recognise that Heavenly Father knows better than you!
I would encourage each of you to put each of these and more habits into practice as you strive to have more meaningful prayers!
Although a few members gave me sweets and sang "Happy Birthday", the greatest blessing was to be edified through teaching the gospel to my beloved brothers and sisters here in South Africa! We had two powerful lessons to end our Sunday -- in which I grew greater testimony and gratitude for the gifts of the spirit; specifically for the Spirit of Discernment and the Spirit filling our mouths with the words that are needed to be heard! In one lesson we spoke about how fixating our eyes upon the Celestial Kingdom and setting a goal to join our Father in Heaven there can and will influence every decision we make in our lives! I challenge each and every one of you to recommit yourselves to make it back to our Father in Heaven, to follow Jesus Christ, and to continually find way to make frequent habits ( church, partaking of the sacrament, studying the scriptures, and daily prayer) more spiritual and more central to your life! I testify that as we make consistent habits of making the gospel a priority, we will enjoy greater peace and happiness in living on this Earth, that our burdens will be lightened, and that we will find more love for ourselves, for our God, and for our brothers and sisters in the human family.
Regrettably, I didn't take any pictures this week (I don't know why??) But I will be sure to include photos of Elder Sixaba and I next week!