This week was pretty good. I lost my voice and still don't have it but I have faith that I will have it when we Skype on Christmas day. I love Christmas time. It is the one time of year where people actually expect you to talk of the Savior. I am so very grateful for that. I love my Savior and I love His Atonement. It was really cool to go to church yesterday and to feel of the Christmas spirit that was there. I loved it.
On Monday we ate dinner with a part member family. I know that she--the nonmember--wants to be a member but she is waiting for her husband to make that choice too. He's less active. We are trying to help them but I am not sure if we're doing much. I love them so much and I want their family to be eternal. they have a three year old and an eight month old. they are the cutest and I just want them to have the blessings of the gospel. We also saw other investigators. They asked a lot of questions about Sister Isaksen since they hadn't met yet. I love them both and I hope that he will one day want to take the step of faith this gospel requires.
On Tuesday, we saw Sister C. She is a really strong woman but she and her family struggle with a lot of different things. We are going over there a couple days before Christmas to meet with their family and see what we can do to help. I hope we will be able to help them in some way. We ate with the Kuhns whom I love. They are some of the greatest members ever. We are eating dinner at their house on Christmas Day and we are watching Frozen there too! I'm so excited! I haven't watched Frozen for seven months! Can you believe it has been seven months since I came out? I can't believe I said good bye to you seven months ago. It's crazy how time flies! In just another transfer, I will be at my halfway mark. It is really strange and a little sad to think about. But I know that every moment is worth it and I need to make sure of that.
On Wednesday we went on exchanges. We had a really good district meeting this week. they talked about using Preach My Gospel. It was really good. I needed it. I was in a Spanish area that day. It was fun! I love Spanish people. they are so loving and kind. And I was able to speak English this time. We saw a recent convert who speaks English. We talked about patriarchal blessings with them and it was powerful. I shared my experience with mine--when the patriarch said I would serve a full time missionary for the church. It wasn't something any of us expected and yet we have seen it come to pass this year. It's crazy to see what blessings have come to pass in my blessing. We also saw a less active member who had the cutest little boy ever. I tried to entertain him because I didn't understand what was going on. They were speaking Spanish. It was fun!
Thursday, we met with a less active man who we have been meeting with for a while. He has a lot of different struggles but we are trying to get him to see the blessings. he came to the Christmas party! It was really awesome because we didn't expect him to. He left early but at least he was there! We also saw this less active family who have cute kids. Sister Isaksen was good with them. We talked about Christ since it is the Christmas season. We have been trying to come up with different Christ centered scriptures to share with people. It's kind of hard yet easy at the same time. They are a great family and I hope we will be able to help them. We ate with the Burts. they told us their proposal story which took forever and a day but it was so cute! Sister Burt literally ran away when Brother Burt started to propose! It was so funny when they told the story. They also told us their dating history the time before and I'm sure they will have another story to tell when we go over there for Christmas. We are Skyping at their house between ten and noon our time so eleven and one your time. His skype name is jpb2u1987 so add him on Skype! I'm not sure which one of us will Skype first--Sister Isaksen's family is nine hours ahead of us so it will be seven when we Skype anyway.
Friday we did some service for a recent convert who has a lot of stuff. We did dishes for her and we shared a message with her. We were finally able to get in her house. It was nice to be able to talk to her as we worked. She needs a lot of help. I'm not sure we will be able to completely clean her house. but we have made a small dent at least. The bright side is, it makes me want to get rid of more stuff when I get home (but don't do it for me please). I'll have to anyway, I guess, when I go to school. We also visited some former investigators and we were able to meet with one named Lucy. She opened the door and immediately let us in. We talked about religion with her and all this stuff. It was great! We also went to a baptism for two eight year old twins. They were so cute. It was a powerful baptism. their dad, who baptized them, if a convert of a year and a half and he was able to confirm them too. We ate dinner with the Standings who are awesome. they have a lot of kids but they are super sweet. I love them.
Saturday we had our Christmas party in Woodward Park. It was fun! There were a lot of people there but by the end of the night they still had 23 lasagnas left. We took one home plus a whole chocolate cake that we can't eat on our own. So we brought it to the stake center to share with elders! We also had president interviews. He was so sweet. He helped me to remember that God called me here for a reason and didn't ask me to be anyone else. I am so very grateful for that.
This week we also put together plates of treats for some families that have been struggling. We left them on the porch and then knocked and ran. It was fun! I miss doing that! I think I'll do more of it when I come home. It will be a fun family activity!
Sunday we ate with the Agars who are some of the best members. I love them. Sister Agar is a ward missionary and she has done so much good for us. I love her and her husband. They are wonderful people. And they love us. We also met with the Fujimotos who just lost their oldest daughter. It was so sad. But the spirit was there.
I am so excited to see you on Christmas! I can't wait to say hi to everyone! If you can, you should see if Brittany can conference Skype with us or something. I want to talk to her and if she has had the baby by then that would be awesome! The weather has been cooler but it still doesn't feel like Christmas. It's weird.
I love you and can't wait to see you! Say hi to everyone for me!
Sister Abigail Reese
We didn't end up emailing until later anyway. The family history center is closed but there were some elders that opened it for us and are here now. I miss wrapping presents! It was one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I guess it's a good thing I am only missing one Christmas away from home. I go back and forth on that thought though.
Brother D is inactive but he comes when people ask him to do things. He's a nice man. We got the pictures too. I'm glad you liked them. The ward is a great one and I am so incredible lucky to be serving here! This week was good. Except I lost my voice on Saturday and it hasn't come back yet. I have been coughing all week and my voice went on Saturday. It's really frustrating because I can't teach without my voice. The medical person in the mission told me to rest and that it would come back soon. Pray that it comes back before Christmas. I need my voice to talk to y'all! Speaking of, we are going to skype around ten so it could be anywhere between 10 and 12 our time so 11 and 1 your time. I know that's sort of late but it's the best we could do. The Skype name you will need to add is jpb2u1987. It's the Burts! Maybe you'll get to meet them. they are great!
On Monday, we were finally able to get into this house I have been dying to see since I got here! I love them. they are so awesome and they are great missionaries. They have two missionaries out right now--one in Italy and one in Bolivia. Two completely different ends of the world. But they are both great and I love hearing how they are doing. We also saw S and C. We are still trying to get C to convert...
OH big news! They are splitting the California Fresno Mission! they are creating a California Modesto mission. It will consist of the three most northern parts of our mission and the three most southern parts of the California Sacramento Mission. This will take effect on July 1, 2015. They are calling a new mission president on January 10, 2015. President Clark said they already called him but they haven't announced it yet. President knows him, I guess, so he should be a good one. I'm not sure how they will call missionaries to the California Modesto Mission. I don't know if they will rely on transfer boards or if they will send all of our papers back to the Quorum of the Twelve. that would be a lot of missionaries to sort through between our mission and the Sacramento mission. I guess it will be inspired. I know it's a possibility that I could spend my last five months in the California Modesto Mission...I don't know how I feel about that right now but luckily I don't have to worry about it for another few months. Which is good. I can focus on being here. Part of me feels like I'm going to get transferred this transfer but I'm trying not to focus on that either. I need to give my all to my mission this week as it is the last week of the year.
Tuesday, we were able to do some service for a recent convert. We were able to share a message with her before hand and then we helped her. She's sweet but she has a lot of stuff. It makes me want to get rid of more when I come home (but please don't do it for me). We also saw the W. I don't know if I mentioned to you that Brother W had a heart attack a few weeks ago. He recovered and he is doing great now! So we went over there and we helped them clean up a bit then we shared a message with them. I love them so much. there are some members who give Sister W a hard time but she is one of the sweetest, most loving sisters I have ever met. I love her so much.
We went on exchanges on Wednesday. We had a district meeting first and then we exchanged. I was in a Spanish area with Sister Campos. She's so awesome. I love her. She is still in training but she only has a week and a half left. She's excited! She feels like she will stay in Echo, but we'll see what happens a little less than a week from now. She did so good. We went to a couple less actives and talked to them about different things. We taught this fifteen year old girl who is a member but who doesn't have a testimony. We asked her to read her scriptures daily and to find a scripture she likes and write it in her journal. It's actually something I think I might do. I like it a lot. I can just find a scripture that I like during my studies in the morning and then write it in at night.
Thursday, we ate lunch with a part member family. They are so awesome. I love them so much. I want M to progress. She has opened up so much since I first met her and she is so sweet. I hope we can help her. We also saw R. I love her! She is so solid. I think she got her temple recommend for baptisms yesterday so she is doing great. She loves us and it's awesome to know that I helped her come unto Christ. We both miss Sister Lunddahl but she gets to talk to her! So I'm kind of jealous. But she's great. We ate dinner with the Burts who are letting us skype at their house. I'm excited to see everyone! Hopefully it'll all work well! If not, we'll call I guess. When are you going to Grandma's? And when will you be at Grandpa's?? Tell everyone I love them and miss them!
Friday we went to a baptism for eight year olds. Bishop asked us to be there so we went. Sister Walburger spoke on the gift of the Holy Ghost. She brought out this tray thing with a mouse trap on one side and Twix on the other. Then she asked the twins to pick someone they trusted to come up and tell them which side to choose (it was covered). They were going to pick their mom but then the little girl, Emerson, whispered to Sister Walburger and she looked up at me and said that I was trustworthy. It testified to me that Heavenly Father knows what we need when we need it. I had been struggling at that moment with thoughts of inadequacy and insecurity and then this little girl picked me. It touched my heart.
We had president interviews on Saturday which I really needed. He told me that God called me to be me and that there were people only I could touch. He really helped me to see what I could do better as a missionary. He also told me how great I was doing. It really helped me to see how much I have changed and progressed since my first interview with him in July.
We met with a family that lost their oldest daughter recently yesterday. the spirit was there and so was the daughter. I know she was. I hope we will be able to help them.
Thank you for your support. I hope you have a merry Christmas and I am so excited to see you and everyone else! I love you and pray for you!
PS I am glad you did well in school. we got rain this week too! It was great!