Monday, December 7, 2015

Does The Journey Seem Long?

I love the Christmas season, so, so, so much!!! One night, after we were dropped unexpectedly by one of our investigators, we blasted our Christmas music in our apartment and had a marvelous dance party. It definitely got us cheered up, and incredibly exhausted. But it was well needed, for sure.

We also have started CAROLING!!! Of which, I absolutely love! I LOVE singing, and I love Christmas, and I love remembering my Savior. And so, Sister Eckley and I wrapped some copies of the Book of Mormon in some lovely Christmas/snowflake wrapping paper, tied a ribbon around it, and stuck a "A Savior is Born" pass along card on the outside. The Elders, Sister Eckley, and I then went out caroling. We knocked on doors and sang (naturally..) and then said something along the lines of, "We hope you have a Merry Christmas. Christmas is all about our Savior, Jesus Christ. And we have this gift for you. It is a book that is all about Christ and helps you to grow closer to Him." We invited them also to go to (which you should all check out). It was such a great time to be able to remind people of what the true meaning of Christmas is! Also, I love it here in the south because cashiers at stores and everywhere else all say "Merry Christmas". It's just simply beautiful. I love this time of the year. It makes it a lot easier to share our message about the Savior, as well.

We met a spectacular family in our ward and had dinner with them the other night. Oh, how we loved being in their home. The Spirit was so strong and it was simply filled with love. We felt loved. The family asked about us, wanting to know all about our lives. For the first time, I actually willingly shared my entire story pertaining to my mission. I'm not too sure how many people know everything that's gone on. But it was a grand time and Sister Eckley and I truly did not want to leave! We hinted (well, my hints aren't much of hints, I basically boldly said it...) that we didn't have dinner for Christmas Eve yet, and they offered to have us over! Sister Eckley and I are way excited because we just both felt so much at home being there. It definitely made me miss my family, however, at least I get a home away from home, for a time.

This week went by super quick, but also incredibly slowly! I can't believe how little that we did this week! We reported our key indicator numbers yesterday, and they were quite unimpressive. The work here is just moving suuuuper slowly. We are doing all we can, but it's been difficult, for sure!

I MET AN ELDER THAT GOT INJURED, WAS SENT HOME, HOME FOR A TIME, AND RETURNED TO THE MISSION! Holy! Hallelujah! It was no coincidence that we met. He actually returned to the mission the same day that I left the mission (the first time around, back in Sept 2014). We were able to talk quite a bit after Zone Meeting, as well as texting the next day. He helped me A LOT. It was reeeeally great to see someone that experienced the same things as me and has gotten through it. I'm still at the beginning, and sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it was very helpful to hear words of encouragement from someone who has been where I am at currently. He was truly able to empathize and it made me no longer feel so alone. People have tried to uplift me, strengthen me, help me, and tell me that everything will be okay, but often, those feel like empty words because they don't really understand what it feels like. The people trying to encourage me don't know what I've truly gone through. However, to hear someone else say that he felt the same things I felt and am feeling? That was exactly what I needed. He definitely provided me with strength to endure. He reminded me to look upwards with a smile and to rely on my Savior to give me the courage, strength, and comfort that I need. At times I may feel alone, discouraged, disappointed, angry, and frustrated. Those are all common feelings. However, as I remember that my Savior, my Redeemer is there to heal me, I can withstand all that may come my way!
"...Will ye not return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if you will come unto to ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." 3 Nephi 9:13-14
Sister Jessica Ann Smith

(We had Zone Meeting this last week with the Searcy Zone!)
(I was having a rough day and so I became a unicorn (:)