So before you come out on a mission, there are countless welcome home talks and missionary stories that you hear, right? You hear about the person they knocked into who was hoping somebody would come by. Or the person that feels the spirit so strong they commit to baptism right on the street. Or getting a whole family to be baptized. Everybody knows these stories well!
But there's a whole collection of stories that NOBODY tells you about before you leave! Like this thing called weekly planning where you spend 3 hours every week sitting in your desk planning for the next week. Or the baptism that gets cancelled because of parents fighting. Or the days where you walk outside and find a bike tire totally deflated. There have been COUNTLESS experiences on my mission that I just was not expecting. Like hearing somebody pray for the first time...
One of my favorite surprises the last 16 months, is hearing somebody pray for the first time! There is such a special, strong spirit that comes as a person takes that step and shows their faith. I love how genuine they are. I love how simple and open they can be. This year we knelt and prayed with a man who hadn't prayed in over 20 years. He opened up a little bit about his son who passed away unexpectedly and how hard that's been for him. It was AMAZING to see him push through all of that enough to say a prayer for the blessings he's received. I loved it! The spirit was so strong and it was easy to feel the love Heavenly Father had for finally hearing from him :)
Baptisms are great, don't get me wrong. But I LOVE the prayers and testimonies of those people where the gospel is starting to mean something to them. They say a missionary is happiest at a baptism but I think I disagree.
Thanks for all the Christmas cards and letters and packages! Crazy that this is my last Christmas out here but it has definitely been a good one. I love this time of year and I hope to keep the spirit of Christmas with me a lot stronger through 2015. LOVE YOU ALL WHOLE HEAPS!
With faith in every footstep,