Monday, December 28, 2015

Joy to the World!

(Christmas Brunch at the Duncan's home)
I hope y'all had a Merry Christmas!!

My gift of Christmas to my Savior this year is my heart. I love my Savior. He has given me everything. I am giving Him these 18 months. This is my gift to Him. This is all I have to offer. It was great this year because it wasn't all about presents, but it was about what I could give to others.

I was able to go to a member's house for Christmas Eve. It was quite eventful. All the food did not get heated up all the way. We think the oven is broken... So, we finished heating up the ham (it was pre-cooked...thank goodness) and the funeral potatoes (the family, obviously, is from Utah) in the microwave. I don't think I ever fully appreciated Grandpa's skills in the kitchen where he manages to get everything done all at the same time. Thank you, Grandpa! It was a great meal, except I was missing my olives.

We were able to Skype home, and that was an eventful time, as well. None of the computers were working for Skype and my password was being bonkers, too. Finally, I was able to get on using their iPad. I had a great visit with my family that was all at my Grandparents' house for Christmas Eve dinner. I was able to talk with my parents and brother, grandparents, and my aunt and uncle and their family. It was great. I love you and miss you all!

Christmas Day was quite great, as well! We had brunch at the Duncan's (Ward Mission Leader) and then dinner at President Busbea's (Counselor in the ALRM Presidency). If I knew a southern Christmas family dinner, then this was it! The Busbea's had family over from both sides (his and hers). There was shooting, camo, singing, loud-talkin, cowboy boots, and unshaven faces. The Busbea's were born and raised in Arkansas so they are the purest of the pure Arkansan southern people I've met thus far.

Sister Eckley and I remained on the outside watching everyone's interactions. It was pretty great. For a good couple hours, we talked with President Busbea about the work in Cabot and how it is nonexistent. He had some suggestions for us. Apparently, they were going to CLOSE Cabot 2 (our area) and only leave Cabot 1 (we have two sets of missionaries in the Cabot Ward). However, they obviously didn't close it and decided to put me and Sister Eckley here. We are unsure as to why this happened. But, we are continuing to do all that we can to get the work alive! Our focus right now is on the members and trying to get them excited about missionary work!

GUESS WHAT!!! We FINALLY had our first lesson!!! President Busbea's son, Jon is engaged to a lovely gal named Halle. Get this... They are both in high school still. That's how they do it in the south! Anyways, they just got engaged Christmas morning. As we were there for dinner, President was telling us about her and how she already has a desire to be baptized because she wants what their family has. Once all the family had left, we were able to have a lesson with Halle. We introduced her more properly to the Book of Mormon, encouraged her to read, and to pray. We have another lesson with her this coming week!

So, with one evening, we received a referral, contacted a referral, taught a lesson with a member present, and have a new investigator! It was all quite exciting!! We've been here six weeks, and now we've taught one lesson! We will invite her to be baptized this next visit. (:

Last thing! Well. A couple last things. We had a tornado this past week. No big deal. As we were driving, we literally were in the middle of the storm and there was less than a second in between the thunder and lightning. It was epic. The rain was dumping hardcore and we could hardly see anything. This happened while we were on exchanges and attempting to get back to our assigned areas. By late afternoon, it had cleared up and all was good. But get this... While we were on exchanges, I was in Searcy and one of the STLs (Sister Training Leaders) was in Cabot with Sister Eckley, they met a DEAF LADY! She wants to come to church and wants to meet with us!!! Her husband (hearing) is not interested in church, and he's her interpreter, and so they never went. When they met her, they told her that I know sign language and could interpret and she was way excited! We tried going back the next day so that I could meet her, but she wasn't home. I am suuuuper stoked to meet her and to potentially interpret for her so that she could come to church. It's gonna be way neat!! (: (:

Much love,
Sister Jessica Ann Smith

Oh! Sweet thing.... This dog decided to chase us for an entire mile (we were in the car). When we realized that it wasn't going home, we turned the car around. The dog was waiting for us to return and it recognized our car and followed us back to its house. It was running 35mph! Holy heck! We were finally able to get it back home safe. It was quite terrifying at times because it ran out in the middle of the road.