Wednesday, January 5, 2011

December 31, 2010 (Happy New Year's Eve)

December 31, 2010

What an awesome/crazy weekend!

So updates since the last email: Our Christmas Eve devotional was handled by the MTC mission presidency. It wasn't anything super original, but still great for a change. Probably the best part was when Sister Brienholt had everyone sing "The 12 Days of Christmas: in the MTC." It may sound lame to you, but you'd be wrong. ;) It was crazy funny. =) After they wrapped up their talks, they handed out individual bags of kettle corn for each missionary. Count them: that's 2,000+ bags of popcorn! And we watched "Mr. Kruger's Christmas." Again, that may sound lame, but being that it was ever slightly Gentile made it awesome.

Christmas was kind of the bomb. We got to sleep in (sort of. Soeur Woodruff and I are always up well before 6:30. So sleeping until 6:30 on Saturday was sleeping in for us.) We opened presents with Soeur Scott and Soeur Reed and headed off to the MTC talent show. The MTC talent show: freaking hilarious! =D Where else in the world do you get to see eight Russians who are learning English sing: "I'm a missionary now" to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" - dancing included?! After a couple of hours in there, we ran to lunch. Ate, then picked up our sack lunch for dinner just in time to run back over for the first devotional of the day. Did you get to listen to an apostle for Christmas? Because I did! Russell M Nelson and his wife were our speakers. Wow! They are amazing.

The most shocking part for me about that whole experience: having grown up in Utah, I've been to plenty of events where general authorities have been present. So as cool as listening to him was going to be, I wasn't that worked up about it. However, the second he walked into the room, the spirit absolutely exploded. There's no other way to describe it. I've never doubted the truthfulness of the origin of his apostolic call, but after that experience, absolutely no one in that room could ever deny that he is called of God. Almost the entire room was in tears. So dang cool!

As for his wife, I'm basically in love with her. =) Quick couple comments she made:

"The Lord loves you. Isn't the truth of that stunning?!"
"As we go through life watch for the road signs." - she described a sign she saw inside and elevator, "Before entering the elevator, check if it is on this floor." Funny though that may have been she said, "Don't just laugh and say 'Well, duh.' It's the smart thing to do. Give credit to the obviously logical guidance we're given in life."

Quotes from Elder Nelson:

He told us that this year has been an extremely exciting time for missionary work. In the past three months, eight new countries have been dedicated for missionary service. I didn't get all of them written down, but the five I remembers: Croatia, Kosovo, Angola, Bosnia, and Albania. So cool, huh?!

"The doors of the nations are opening. And that's great for you because right now, your purpose is all about the gathering of Israel."
"We have a tradition in our family of reading the Christmas Story...I thought you might like to have a member of the twelve read it to you." How awesome is that?! ha ha
"Armed with the power of the Lord and the medium of prayer - nothing shall be impossible."
"Being called as missionaries, you are put in a position to bring about God's greatest desires. You are the peacemakers of the world." (Bring about God's greatest desires - but no pressure right? ;) )
And then my absolutely favorite part of the evening: "I invoke the powers of heaven which I hold and confer upon you, my dear missionaries, my friends, a blessing. I bless you that on your missions you will be safe, as well as your families. You will return to your families joyfully after what will feel like a very short time to you and them.You will powerfully share the gospel with people of all nations, kindreds and tongues. And you will come to feast upon the words of Christ." Is that not the COOLEST Christmas present ever?!?!

That evening we watched two men act out a shortened version of "A Christmas Carol." Elder and Wendy Nelson were there for that one too.

And THEN, they came back on Sunday and were the teachers in Relief Society and Priesthood. Best. Weekend. Ever. =D

I wish I had twice as long to write. So much more has happened , but there's only so much I can say in 30 minutes!

Love you all,