So.... this week was awesome! I know I say that every week but I mean it every week! I love this time of year and I feel like I love it even more this year because as a missionary I try to focus on Jesus Christ everyday but this is the time of year when other people step up their game and think about Jesus Christ everyday too! It's the neatest thing to watch the general attitude of people change!
Monday: P Day! We did the usual P Day things and it was great!
Tuesday: On Tuesday it was a great day because we had service at Baxter Retirement. We were serving lunch and this woman saw me and smiled and threw her arms up and gave me a hug and kissed my cheek and yelled "You're GORGEOUS!" and then walked away. I was very surprised and I laughed a little bit but it was a great start to my day! After service we played the piano and then we had to leave for a lesson with our investigator Craig. Craig has been investigating for a while and as had like 5 or 6 baptismal dates and he just is always "sick" and never comes to church. Well, we aren't going to baptize someone who is already not doing what they need to so we decided, a few weeks ago to drop him for a little while. Well, he started coming to church again after a couple weeks he called us and asked for a lesson. So we went to their house and they had made us fried chicken and they loaded a picnic lunch into their car and we followed them out to this lake and we had a picnic lunch and a lesson (because it's still warm enough here to do that). Well, we talked for a long time and had a really good heart to heart and at the end of the lesson he said he wanted to get baptized and that he was going to come to church every Sunday he could make it. So we set a baptismal date with him for the 16th of December and he is really excited about it and has come to church so we really think that he understands and is ready now which is so exciting!
Wednesday: On Wednesday we had a lesson with our other investigator who is scheduled to get baptized this month, John Harvey. We talked about the importance of C.P.R. (going to church, praying and reading your scriptures) and how this will keep you spiritually alive. It was a really good lesson and he is excited for his baptism on the 23rd! So are we. He has been taught by missionaries for a long time and is so ready to be baptized. On Wednesday we also helped the youth assemble personal hygiene kits for the salvation army. It was really cool to be able to help those who are less fortunate in that way with the youth of the ward. We put little scripture verses in each one to hopefully bring some light into their lives.
Thursday: On Thursday we did weekly planning which was not as boring as usual because we got to talk about LIGHT THE WORLD! We have been trying to plan little acts of service that we can do for the members of our ward every day for Light the World and it has been so fun to plan! We are really excited to serve our ward. We also did service for an older lady who isn't a member of the church. She was moving out of her house and needed to be out by the next day and when we got to her house we looked around and knew that there was no way we were going to be able to help her pack up all of this stuff. We could only stay for two hours but by the time we left we had all of the living room packed and a lot of the kitchen packed. We felt bad that we couldn't help more but we did what we could.
Friday: On Friday we had Zone Conference! So we got up at 5:00 am, hopped in the car at 6 and started driving to Springfield. It was a great Zone Conference. We talked about our culture as a mission and the thing that we ARE as a mission. We also talked about how to make our mission more of a Zion Community so that we are uplifting and encouraging each other and help each other to be better. It was really a great Zone Conference. Another fun thing was that we were having lunch and SANTA CAME. We all got to take pictures with Santa and that was super fun. Sister Loveland took them on her phone so I don't have it to attach to my email but it's on the Facebook Page for our mission. We all also got a Christmas card from the First Presidency which was REALLY cool. After Zone Conference we hopped in the car and drove home from Springfield. We finally got home about 6:00 so we had dinner and then worked on the Light the World lesson we are giving to families right now.
Saturday: On Saturday we did service at Baxter Retirement again and that was fun as always. After lunch Mikey came over to me and told me that "[He] loves Jesus Christ more and more everyday.... and Black Olives!" and it was honestly so cute and so funny. I hope that when I'm older I am that excited about Jesus and Black Olives. After that we put together a little hot chocolate packet to take to some of the members of our ward for Light the World because the scripture for that day was "I was thirsty and ye gave me drink" So... we gave them drink. That evening we went out and delivered the little hot chocolate packets to the members we had picked. It was honestly really fun! We got to visit some people we normally don't see and that was fun. We even went to visit one lady that neither of us knew and, apparently she is going to a different church now. But we gave her the hot chocolate and wished her a Merry Christmas anyway! I won't lie... she wasn't super happy to see us, haha. We went to visit one guy in our ward who is a fairly recent convert and he answered the door and I was still coming up the walkway and all I heard was him say to Sister Fife "I don't even have pants on! Hold on!" and then when I got there I could hear him laughing about how the missionaries came and saw him without any pants. Sister Fife and I couldn't stop laughing. But after words he showed us his pet turkey and all was good. He told us on Sunday that he had hot chocolate before he went to bed.
Sunday: On Sunday we had a really good day! We went to church and one of our Primary friends in the ward, Blake, was there a little early so we went to say hi to him and he asked us if we would sit by him. We said of course and sat by him for Sacrament meeting. He sat right in between us and held the hymn book for us. It was absolutely adorable. After that we went to Gospel Principles which was good as always. Then we had a Relief Society lesson about the new Relief Society curriculum and that was really interesting! After church we had a lesson cancel so we went to see our recent convert, Ethan. Who we hadn't heard from in a while and he wasn't at church. We got to his house and apparently he's engaged! So that's exciting. His girlfriend is really nice and we like her a lot and she is hopefully going to become an investigator soon! So we are really excited about that. We had a good lesson with him and then we went and had a lesson with a new investigator. It's a convert in our ward's mom. We taught the Restoration and it was really good until I invited her at the end to read the Book of Mormon and she said "I just don't understand why you want me to read it..." I was kind of confused because I had just explained why but my companion re explained and then she said she would read it. We left and kind of chuckled about it but we were just happy she said she would read. We are really excited to continue to teach her. That night we watched the Christmas broadcast which was AMAZING.
Well, this week I have just been thinking a lot about Christmas but something that I have been thinking a lot about was mentioned in one of the talks last night, about giving and serving even when it's not easy and loving even when it's not easy to love. I think this is amazing because, I can't imagine it was easy for Jesus Christ to love the people who nailed him to a cross. Or to love the people who spit on him and mocked him. He did it because, He's perfect. But I bet it wasn't as easy as it was to love his disciples or his mother or his friends. But he did it. Sometimes I don't want to love people because it's hard and it's time consuming. It takes effort to love someone and be a part of their life and sometimes I'm just not sure I have the time or energy to make that kind of commitment. I know it sounds dumb to say that but sometimes I do. BUT what a blessing if we can take the time and make the effort to befriend someone who ends up changing our life. Something we learned in Zone Conference is that sometimes "angels" that are sent to help us aren't heavenly beings. But the people who are placed around us in our everyday life. What if God is trying to send you and angel and you decide you don't have time and turn them away? This thought made me really sad. What if I turned away an angel God was trying to send me, or even worse what if I was supposed to be an angel for someone else and didn't think I had enough time? I am making a bigger effort to be an angel to those around me and to love them even when I'm short on time or energy or patience. God doesn't ask us to be perfect. He asks us to be willing to act. I love y'all and I hope that y'all have a great week! Don't ever forget how amazing you are and how much God loves you! I love y'all!
~Sister Madisen Lloyd
Picture 1: a little girl in our ward who wears a "future missionary" tag and wanted a picture with the missionaries