I loved seeing everyone on Christmas Day! It was really great to be able to see and talk to you. It was a little difficult at the end but I am so, so glad that I got to see everyone. I think it would have been harder for me if I had been calling you on the phone. I'm glad I got to share something about Christmas with you! When you pick me up, I want to teach you a lesson before we leave my mission because it can be really powerful. I'll still be a set apart representative of Jesus Christ. Until we get home. That will be weird. Also, you should let President Clark know that that is the plan. They order plane tickets six months in advance so at least by May 21. Or I guess June 2.
God has blessed me this week with a lot of strength. He has been preparing me for what is to come for a while. We got our transfer call on Saturday. I told you transfers were on the 31, right? Well, on the 31st, I will be going to another area. I was really sad when I found out. But then not too long after, I felt this overwhelming peace and comfort just flow right over me. It was the greatest feeling ever. It was really cool to have a confirmation that everything at transfers is inspired of God. I have been feeling like I was going to get transferred for a while but I didn't want to believe it. God made me though. In my heart, I knew. In my head, I was oblivious, but in my heart I knew what was coming. And I was okay with it. I have been in this area--Alluvial--for seven and a half months. And I've been in Woodward Park for four and a half. I have spent a lot of time there and I am so grateful for the time I had. It was really amazing and I truly grew a lot from being in these wards. And I had a baptism! R means everything to me and it was worth every hard things I ever struggled with. I will be going to the Fresno East Stake in the Cedarwood ward. My companion will be Sister Russel who is actually here from the Nauvoo visitor's center. So that will be interesting. I guess God just likes putting me with visitor's center sisters. She'll be my third one! but I love her. I met her yesterday and I love her so much! Plus, a sister that I took out on open your mouth is in that stake in the Spanish ward. I'm excited to be with her too! AND an elder I came out with is my district leader: Elder Bean! I'm so excited! It almost makes up for my previous district leader going home on Wednesday. Almost. But I truly am excited. And you know how I am with change so I am taking this remarkably well. Which kind of makes me wonder if there is a lot to come, a lot of hard things. But if there is, I will push through because I have God on my side. I am truly grateful that I was able to serve in Alluvial and Woodward Park. And it will be hard to leave. Brother Rahn, the ward mission leader in Woodward Park, decided to talk about me in Gospel Principles. It was really interesting to hear people's comments. A lot of people said how outgoing I've become. How much louder I am. And how much bossier. Apparently, all I do now is boss Brother Rahn around. Which is true in a sense I guess. But we're going to their house for dinner tonight so I can see them one more time. It'll be really great!
We were able to see quite a few people this week, despite it being Christmas. On Tuesday we had a whole bunch of set appointments that fell through. It was really frustrating. But we realized there was a reason for it when we were able to see a few people. We were able to go see Sister White, an older lady who is just awesome. I love her and will miss her a lot. We also saw Ci and were able to talk to her for a while. She was really sweet and just let us in. We technically aren't teaching her anymore, but that's okay. One day she will come to know for herself that what we taught is true. We also did some service for a recent convert. She is really sweet but she has a lot of...stuff. I think I've talked about her before. We are really trying to help her organize everything so she will have the courage to just throw it out. We're not sure how it's going.
Christmas Eve was almost like another day of Christmas! It was really good! We made a ginger bread house that is super cute. Then we made cookies with Sherry. I love her and I'm going to miss her a lot. She and Charles took us to the farewell last night so that we could be there for Elder Grisenti, who was my district leader for four transfers. It was great! I love them both so much and I hope one day C's heart will be softened enough to accept the gospel. We also went to the Thacker's. They are so sweet. I got socks from them. We also got a stocking and a couple gifts. They were so sweet and I am so grateful for them. It made me feel almost like I was at our Christmas Eve party. It was really awesome. Then we went to the Gallis'. They are awesome. I played Away in a Manger for them on the piano while everyone sang...I messed up but at least I was brave and did it right? It was really cool.
On Christmas Day, we went to the Davis's for breakfast. Their grandson made hash browns in a waffle iron! It was so cool! They tasted really good. I'm glad I got to try them. They kept asking me how I eat potatoes since I'm from Idaho...it was interesting. But I love their family so much. They are great. Then we went to the Burts' to Skype. That was one of my favorite parts of the day! It was really great to see you. And Sister Burt afterward gave me a hug and told me it was okay to cry and be sad because you do miss your family as a missionary, especially on Christmas. She served in Boise. Crazy right? They gave us a Christmas present which was so sweet (but I have no idea how I'm going to transfer everything that I got on Christmas Day). We went to the Kuhns' next. They had a ton of presents for us. It was crazy! Our trunk was full of gifts from people by the end of the day. We watched Frozen and I loved it so much! I miss that movie. But it'll be there when I get back...as long as you didn't give it away because it is my movie :) We played Catch Phrase after that. With Melanie and a whole bunch of missionaries. It was so fun! I love that game so much!
The next day, we had dinner with an awesome family who has a son Hunter's age. He reminded me of a combination of me, because he's clumsy (he dropped a plate...it kind of just fell out of his hands, and then like five minutes later, he spilled water on his mom!), and Hunter because he's funny. He's a little more quiet than Hunter but it was really awesome! I love them. We are going to see them before I leave tomorrow. We also saw Sister Gonzalez who got a little shiatsu for Christmas. She is so cute!
Saturday we did this really cool role play with our dinner appointment. We asked each of them to think of a nonmember they know and then play them. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was one of the coolest role plays I have ever done. I loved it! And Sister Scribner has someone that we will probably start teaching! Well, Sister Isaksen and Sister West, her new companion. So that'll be really good. I'm excited for them! We also saw the Kuhns. It was right before our transfer call. Actually, we didn't get our call until about 10:27. It was terrible. We were all on conference call so that was really cool. We listened together. Only four of us are leaving. Some of my favorite people are leaving so I think it's good that I won't be here to miss them.
Sunday was the farewell and it was great! I love listening to missionaries bear testimony. A new assistant was called and he was my zone leader my first two transfers...it'll be weird seeing him a lot again.
Has Brittany had her baby yet?? Send me pictures when she has!
I love you, Dad. I miss you and think of you a lot, but I know that I am here for a purpose. I know that I am in the California Fresno Mission for a reason. For multiple reasons. And I'm grateful for that. I love you!
Sister Abigail Reese
PS Did you like your presents?
I had a great Christmas! It was a little difficult after I said good bye to you because I didn't want to have to say good bye. But it was awesome to see everyone and I'm really grateful that I was given that opportunity. It made my day and I will cherish that until Mother's Day! We went to the Davis's for breakfast. She is the relief society president in Woodward Park. They are great. Joseph, their grandson who is twelve, made hash browns using a waffle iron! Isn't that the coolest thing ever?? I want to learn how to do it! They were really good too. Then we went to the Burts, of course, and Skyped. They are so great. Sister Burt came and gave me a big hug after I was done talking to me and said it was okay to cry and to be sad for a little bit on Christmas Day. It was really sweet. I couldn't give Brother Burt a hug for you but I told him you told me to! They are the greatest members and I'm so grateful for them. They got a Christmas present--a scarf and a journal. It was cute! Then we went to the Kuhns'. that was a lot of fun. We played this game with some missionaries that Melanie made and then we had dinner. they gave us stockings. We also got a Christmas Santa hat to wear so Sister Isaksen and I were wearing ours. It was really cute! I'll send a picture if I have time. We watched Frozen for our Christmas movie and it was so good! I forgot how much I love that movie. I thought it would make me think of home but it didn't. I sang along to the songs. I still know them! It was great. Then we played Catch Phrase with Melanie and Elders Robertson, Perez, and Garbero. It was so much fun! It got really competitive but I loved it! Last time it was just Sister Lunddahl and I with Kurt and Melanie. But this time we had more people. It was great! At the end of the night, there were even more missionaries. It was really crazy. It was intense. You should play it for family home evening or something. But my Christmas was great. It really helps to have awesome members who treat us like family and who love us. The Lord knows what I needed and He knows that I needed to be in this area for five transfers.
We got our transfer call on Saturday. Transfers aren't until Wednesday but we found out what was happening on Saturday. I will be going to the Fresno East Stake to serve in the Cedarwood ward. When I first found out, I was really sad. I love this area so much and I am so grateful for it. I love these people and I will miss them all so, so much. But as I knelt down to pray that night, I was filled with this overwhelming sense of peace and comfort that all would work out and all would be okay. I accepted this change wholeheartedly. I was able to see the ways God prepared me for it. I had felt like I was going to be transferred but then I guess I got used to the feeling so I didn't think it would happen. I wanted to stay in this area and I wanted to be with Sister Isaksen. But that's not what God wants for me at this point. I spent seven and a half months here and I have grown so much. Not it's time to move on and to grow somewhere else and to help other people. The funny thing is, in my first transfer, I went on exchanges in Cedarwood (then Clovis 2) and I told the members that I was gong to serve there one day. And now I am! It's also the ward the assistants are in so it will be a little weird. But I'm excited! I'm sad to leave and I am sad that I have to say good bye to so many people. But I know this is what God wants. I can feel that there are people the Lord is preparing for me there. My new companion's name is Sister Russel. She's really sweet and she is a Nauvoo sister, meaning she is from the Nauvoo visitor's center. She'll be here for two more transfers. We are basically getting doubled into an area, which means we are both new to the area. It will be interesting. But at least we have the assistants. And, crazy story, guess who my new district leader is?? It's Elder Bean! The one I came out with. I had a dream a couple weeks ago that he was going to become my district leader...and now he has! I'm really relieved because it helps me a lot to know that my district leader is someone I already trust and love. I'm super excited about that. It's going to be a fun transfer...and maybe a little hard too. But I know I can do it and I now God wouldn't place anything in my path that I can't handle. I'm super grateful for the opportunity I have and I'm so excited to serve there!
We saw C this week. I think we basically dropped her, but she was really sweet. We just stopped by and she let us in and we talked to her and she gave us hot chocolate. She is great. I hope one day when missionaries knock on her door, she will let them in and accept the gospel because I know it will help her a lot.
On Christmas Eve, we saw a few people. We went to the Amsbary's and made a ginger bread house, which I showed you. I don't think I've ever done that before. We also went to see Sherry and made cookie with her which we ended up taking to a member who was having a hard time this Christmas. I loved doing it. It was fun! then we went to the Thacker family. They are so sweet. I love them. Santa literally came and gave them presents. That's when we got socks. We also got stockings. And they gave us a whole bunch of airplanes that we are going to make today and throw at the elders. It's going to be fun! We also went to the Gallis'. They are awesome members whom I love. That's where we talked to Nick. Or Sister Isaksen talked to Nick. They let us participate in their White Elephant exchange even though we didn't bring anything. It was a lot of fun. Our ward also put together a whole bunch of gifts for us. It was really sweet. We had so much stuff by the end of the Christmas day...I have no idea how I'm going to transfer all of it.
Oh...by the way, the red suitcase you let me use...well, the front wheels on it are messed up. The rubber on it is like broken through. It's like this rip right down the middle. I'm not really sure how to fix it. I'm sure there's a way but I know now what it is. I promise I'll try though! I don't want any transfers to be difficult because of a suitcase. I'm going to send home some stuff soon but not today. Brittany gave me ornaments for our tree which I won't need all year and the nativity Grandma sent me will be in that box too. So watch out for it! I'll write fragile on the box. It is really cute!
Speaking of Brittany, has she had her baby yet??? I've been waiting for a few days to see a picture but it doesn't look like I have one yet :P It's okay though. Next week right??
I love you, Mom and I am so grateful that I got to talk to you and everyone on Christmas Day. I hope you told Grandpa and Robin and Roger and Jess and Jamee that I said hi. I miss them all and hope they had a merry Christmas. I love you!
PS I'm glad you liked what I sent you!