Monday, December 22, 2014

How Badly I Wanted A Christmas Tree - Week 47

Dear family,

I'm so happy that it's Christmas and I'm also so happy to be a
missionary! Festival of Lights is so crazy and I'm super tired and I'm
spending Christmas away from home but I am so happy.

Christmas as a missionary is so fun! I'm with all of my friends every
day teaching and working hard and there are some great Christmas
activities planned for this week and it's different. Halloween as a
missionary wasn't fun at all and neither was Thanksgiving, but
Christmas is so unique and fun. It's just one Christmas away with
these interesting, fun experiences and then I'll be back for it next

On Friday my companion and I were going across the street to the
temple senior couples apartments to do laundry while doing our
studies. While there, a brother who works in the office there told us
he's going out of town and asked if we wanted his Christmas tree so it
doesn't just sit there. Yeah we do! After doing laundry, we came back
to pick it up. He came out and said a Christmas tree isn't complete
without presents and so around his little Martha Stewart tree he had a
tin of popcorn, cookies, bread pudding, and a pre seasoned chicken. We
were astounded at his generosity and so excited. We loaded it into a
wagon and pulled it home. As we walked into our apartment where the
other two sisters were, I felt like Santa Claus and I announced,
"Merry Christmas!" as I waltzed in. After a couple seconds confusion,
they realized what was going on and they jumped up and we all started
jumping around in glee. We then spent the next little while cleaning
our apartment. We found a crate to put the tree on and we hung up
stockings that Sister Lewis had left from her mom and a nativity
scene. We also cleaned up all the clutter around the living room and
dejunked and hung up pictures that had been sitting on the floor.
Santa doesn't come to a dirty house. We were so happy and full of the
Christmas spirit and we were singing Christmas carols the whole time
and now it really looks and feels like Christmas. Just the night
before I was thinking about how badly I wanted a Christmas tree and I
was debating tearing down our green shower curtain to fashion into one
but this is even better. It was a huge tender mercy and Christmas
miracle. All of our presents are around the tree. And I got the
packages from mom, dad, and Ash. Thank you (:

There's a quote that we recite during district meetings and
companionships studies. There are four and we rotate through them
every transfer. This transfer the quote says, "Work, work, work. I
have often said one of the greatest secrets in missionary work is
work. If a missionary works, she will get the spirit. If she gets the
spirit, she will teach by the spirit. And if she teaches by the
spirit, she will touch the hearts of the people and she will be happy.
There will be no homesickness, no worrying about family, for all time,
talents, and interests are focused on the work of the ministry. Work,
work, work, there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in
missionary work." That has been so true this transfer. I've been so
incredibly happy this transfer and a big chunk of it is because I'm
working so hard. It's Christmas and I'm not even homesick which is a
huge blessing.

Festival has been insane. We had Thursday off but other than that we
have been at the VC every day from 3:30 to 10:15. Yesterday we were
there from 1 to 10:30. On Saturday we had over 7,000 people come in
and yesterday probably more because I could barely move through the
huge crowd that was infesting the place. I have had some cool
experiences this week which I would like to share with you. So we give
everyone a referral card and on the upperbox they can write their name
and address to have missionaries visit them. The lower box is the
refer a friend. So whenever someone agrees to have the missionaries
visit them, we call it an upperbox. We have a goal of 800 upperboxes
for Festival and right now we have about 350 which is already more
than last year. We have a super tight schedule in fifteen minute
increments where we are on the floor teaching people and seeing if
they would like missionaries to visit, playing videos, greeting
people, talking to people outside, ticket taking, and ushering the
performances. It's slightly overwhelming when you're on the floor and
there are hundreds of people surrounding you and you need to decide
who you need to talk to. It's daunting but the spirit always has led
me to those who need and want to learn more. All of us sisters get fed
dinner every night at either 4 or 5 for half an hour then for the
other 5 hours we are running around and teaching people. It's super
tiring but exhilarating.

So last Tuesday I was on splits with an older member. It was towards
the end of the night and the crowd was disappearing. I stood on floor
and watched as an Indian Hindu family came in. A sister greeted them
and answered their questions and directed them to the crèche exhibit.
They then asked her if they could get a tour and she said no because
it's all interactive. WHAT?! You NEVER turn down a tour. I casually
went up to her and asked why she didn't take the tour and she said she
doesn't really like doing that stuff. I'm pretty sure all the prophets
and Jesus Christ didn't enjoy doing most of what they were asked to do
but it's what you do! I walked away, super angry at this sister. My
companion was downstairs and my member just went home so I grabbed
another sister and followed the family into the crèche room. I asked
them if they'd like a tour and they said yes after they're done. When
they came out of the exhibit, Sister Huddleston had again joined me.
We showed them around and I spent a few minutes introducing the Book
of Mormon to them and I gave them a Family Proclamation and explained
that we had a prophet today. We were gonna show them the movie in the
back but someone else was in there. They went up front and I nudged
some other sisters to talk to them a little bit. Then a few minutes
later, they approached me and asked if they could watch the video.
YES. We took them in the room and I introduced the 10 minute video and
bore testimony. We then played it and waited outside. I have Sister
Huddleston the card and told her to follow up. When it was done, we
went in and she bore her testimony and gave them the card with the
invitation to learn more. The mom and dad looked at each other and
said, "let's do it" and grabbed the card and filled out their
information. I was stunned. I had faith but I didn't expect them to
want to learn more. Now missionaries are going to be sent to this cute
family and they will get to learn more about the gospel! And that is
why you never turn down a tour. Tours are golden opportunities to

On Saturday we got two upperboxes during the night. We had one hour
left and we were feeling super tired and done. One of the sisters came
up to us and told us if we got two more upperboxes in the next hour
then we will each get a ten minute back massage. Sufficiently
motivated, we went out and taught. We got two more upperboxes in
thirty minutes. Boom. Massage here I come.

Last night was cool. I was with a really cool member who is in her
40s. We went around and talked to people and she was doing so well.
She would point people out to me and then I went up and initiated the
conversation since she felt awkward about it but then she was so good
at talking to them and giving out cards. She pointed out one family
and we approached them. It was a mom and dad and their 25ish year old
son. We ended up talking to them for 30 minutes. They aren't members
but they have tons of friends who are. After a while we asked them why
they haven't been investigating or what's stopping them. The member
ended up teaching their son and husband about reading the Book of
Mormon and praying to know it's true and committed him to it while I
taught the wife. It was super cool and the member was so happy and
excited. At 7 I was with a cute 14 year old and we were able to get
two upperboxes. Also, I totally got the gift of tongues and talked to
two Chinese women for 20 minutes in Chinese last night at the VC.
Usually I have a hard time understanding when people speak it to me
but we were able to communicate well. It was super cool.

That's been my week! I'm excited for this week. On Christmas morning
the whole mission is getting together and we are going to watch a
movie and have a talent show and have lunch and be festive. Then all
the sisters have to be to the VC at 2pm to rehearse for the concert
that night. I'm in three numbers for the sisters Christmas concert so
that will be fun. For the talent show I made an animated cartoon with
a fellow aspiring animator and an elder who has his degree in
filmmaking and I'm also doing a hula dance. Fun stuff.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and remember to keep Christ
at the center! I love you all and I'm excited to talk to you this
week! Make sure you all go watch "He Is The Gift" on YouTube or

Alma 7:10-12 (:

Love, Sister Black

No comments:

Post a Comment