I can't believe the whole family is going to be together in just twelve days! Is Christmas already that soon? Dad, you are such a sweetie for going around and taking pictures of everyone at Thanksgiving and sending them to me. It was so thoughtful. Houston has a son??
Sounds like the home is all Christmas lighted and festive as usual. Remember when we lived on Horseshoe Circle, and we had extrmemly outlandish Chirstmas lights, that we forced Dad into putting-up every year? Ya I remember. Esp. when Mom forced Josh on the roof to hang-up the star, which almost costed Josh's life. Yay for loving Christmas! Speaking of which, what would be a good time for me to call you all? Let me know. It will need to be pretty early in the morning, or pretty late in the evening on either Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve.
As for my decision.........
I've decided to stay. I really hope that is okay with you all. In fact, it breaks my heart to write and say that I won't be seeing you for so long, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't feel it was right. I will be the first to admit that it would be a lot easier for me to come home than to stay, but I feel like I need to stay. I feel like Heavenly Father would be eqully pleased with me staying or going, but I know that I would always regret or wonder what might have happened had I stayed longer. I have a lot of faith that things will work out as they should. In fact, my stay has been approved by the First Presidency. There are five sisters in the same situation as me (all the sisters I was with in the MTC) and all five, without us being able to discuss with one another, decided to stay, which is truly remarkable. Even more remarkable, SLC gave us the okay to have us all stay, supposedly that is somewhat unusual? Our decision had to be approved by them I guess. I'd appreciate your support in this, because, it was a very difficult decision for me to make. And, I made it. It wasn't the Mission President or anything. Don't worry Mom, I'll still try to come home healthy, physically and mentally, and not just spiritually : ) I haven't forgotten about those things, I promise. I feel like the Lord will bless me more in every way and in every thing for my decision to stay. Plus, I really have no emergency reason for going home. No school, pending job, etc. So, my going home would only be because I wanted to, and I don't feel comfortable with that being the only reason.
I do have a request: I need to get readmitted to BYU for the upcoming Fall semester. I can't do all of that from here. Mom, could you call them for me and get that process started for me? President Allcott says I can do what I need to from here, but if you could at least let me know what I need to do to readmit, I would appreciate it. Thanks!
Miracle(s) of the week:
We decided to fast as a mission this Sunday (5th) to find more families to teach the Gospel. I've never taught a full family. Friday, at District Meeting, we talked as a zone as to how we can better find families to teach the Gospel. Friday night, we get a call from the Assistants (they're in our zone) saying they found a family that lives in our area! Crazy! Never in my mission have I been able to teach a family, then as soon as we plan and decide to fast for it, we get a family to teach. They are pretty cool and we have a planned Family Home Evening with them on Wednesday. So excited!
Brat Arkaidi is still active for the most part, and he got us a new investigator. A 17 year old kid named Sasha that is his neighbor. Arkaidi has been telling us "I vant to be an elderrr," since I first came to botanika. He finally did it! He loves missionary work, and has such a jolly, infectious attitude that, once he gets super strong, he will be such an asset to the Church here.
Eugene, an investigator we found through English club, told us that we need to start meeting more often, and he came to Church on Sunday. He translated for the Senior couple in our branch, and he is their new best friend. He loves English and enjoyed the meeting so much. It was a little miracle that we thought to invite him to Church as a trnslator, otherwise, I'm not sure he would've ever come. But, point is, he came, and he enjoyed it! He wants to start meeting with us and the Hassell's more regularly.
We found Vladimir's concern! He is the guy we always talked to over the phone, but now meet in person. He is probably the most indecisive person I have ever met, so it is very difficult to find out how he feels or thinks about anything we teach. However, our last meeting, he suddenly opened-up. He said out of nowhere "you two have everything." I was kind of taken off gaurd, and wondered where is this coming from? I know he is poor and he works shoveling snow on the streets, but I didn't think he ever resented us. He clarified, "You have everything because you have felt the Holg Ghost. I've never felt it before." He then bowed his head all distruaght-like. Sad, but so sweet! So, he is doing better now.
I contacted a guy on the bus about three weeks ago, and on the bus he had told me that we were "angels from God" because we offered a free English class. He is from Uzbekistan, but lives here to help his family back home have a better life. He rarely sees his family, but feels like if he learned English it would help him a lot career-wise. Anyways, he took a BOM at English Club Saturday, and we have a mtg set up for next week. Yay for new investigators that already believe we're messengers from God!
We had leadership training last week at the Mission home with all the Zone Leaders again. Because I seem to be a perpetual trainer, I got to go and it was way fun (as usual). We practiced extending commitments, and following-up. President Allcott chose the Law of Chastity as the committment we had to practice teaching, and we had a five minute time limit. To demeonstrate the point of being able to teach clearly and quickly, he randomly called Sister Muhlestein and I to the front of the group to demonstrate. The task was to teach the Law of Chastity to the MIssion President in front of all the ZLs in two minutes or less. Haha it was super awkward, and it was definitely a "learning experience." What was even more awkward, was that we were the only Sisters there, so all the Elders had to practice teaching us, and I had to play the role of an investigator that had not lived the Law of Chastity during the past week. Haha there were some definite funny moments, and it was a bonding moment. Yay for the always uncomfortable Elder-Sister relations!
Love you all and talk to you soon!
P.S. Just imagine that I am coming home in February 17th as planned, but that, last minute, I ended-up staying six weeks longer. That will make the time go more swiftly, at least I hope, because that is what I am planning on doing : )