The Christmas season gives us an opportunity to reflect on the gift our Heavenly Father gave to each of us – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). For me, December is full of days shopping for friends and family, wrapping and baking. In the December Ensign, Thomas S. Monson suggested that we might profit by asking ourselves, “What gifts would the Lord have me give to Him or to others at this precious season of the year?” What a great question! When we slow down to really ponder on the meaning of Christmas, isn’t that what each of us wants to know? President Monson suggests that “Heavenly Father would want each of us to render to Him and to His Son the gift of obedience.” He goes on to say that the opportunities to love and give to others are limitless, but they are also perishable but there are” hearts to gladden, kind words to say, deeds to be done, and souls to save”, which is of course, obedience to His commandments. I hope each of you feel our Heavenly Father’s love as we celebrate the birth of our Savor.
Nathan got a new companion: “Elder Dylan Hyer is from Boise, Idaho (keeping my streak of non-Utah companions to 3 in a row) and we are quite a young companionship. He has been out 9 months and we are both 19. He has never been a senior companion so we don’t really have a solid idea of what’s going on but we are learning as we go! We get along really well. He grew up in the church, is the youngest of 7 and actually served his first 6 months in this same stake, in a ward that touches the ones we are in now. He is excited to be back. Funny story – he was just barely serving in the old folks ward where Adam technically should have been baptized in, and he definitely feels like we poached him. He isn’t bitter about it at all though. We have a ton of fun though, and I am looking forward to however long we serve together.”
We were hoping to FaceTime Nathan on Christmas but . . . “I hate to rain on the whole FaceTime or Skype parade, but I won’t be able to do that. In the white handbook it says we allowed a 30 to 40 minute phone call twice a year. Other missions allow it, but President Taylor makes sure we follow the rules and strive for exact obedience, and that is how we do it in this mission. I wish we could, but a phone call is it.” (How can a mother argue with a son who want to be obedient to his leaders?) And a few more peeks in to Christmas for those serving in Phoenix: “It is really fun getting to open a present everyday, I really like that idea! I am saving presents from Grandparents so I have something to open on Christmas – haha. I am going to try to write them each a letter today, but handwriting letters takes up some time. There is no mission Christmas party, but there is a mission conference on Friday and we get to go to the Temple. This next P day is going to be the best one ever, because we don’t proselyte past 6 on holidays, so we have P day until 6 and then stay home for the rest of the night. We don’t work on Christmas either unless we have an appointment.
And for the mission news: “We had one of the biggest disappointments I have faced so far this week. We had an investigator who called the church and asked for us to come by. He went to church and read the Book of Mormon daily. But when we stopped by for an appointment with him it was a different lady who had moved into his apartment. He won’t answer his phone or call us back. It is like he has fallen off the face of the earth. Things were going to well, I don’t know what happened. I hope that it was something out of his control that has lost his contact with us. At the same time that was going on, an investigator we have been teaching for several months told us he was getting evicted from his apartment. He lost contact with the agency that helps him out financially. He was going to be homeless, was thinking way too much about suicide, and was turning his back on God – saying he couldn’t help him out with this one. We made him realize that suicide was not a good solution, and said a prayer with him and encouraged him to keep praying and studying the scriptures. We went back the next morning, hoping to find him there and still alive, and he was! He told us he had been reading the Book of Mormon a lot that night, and he had prayed a lot too. He found out that he was going to be able to keep his apartment. It was such an incredible way to show him the power of prayer, and how keeping the commandments brings blessings. He should be baptized on the 29th. And as far as enjoying the warm weather, I don’t think so. It has been raining all weekend and I think we got as wet as we are allowed to without baptizing someone. I was completely drenched from biking so much and I am glad that my last sweater held up to the water. It is supposed to get down to about 34 tonight too. Who knew it got cold here? Thanks for all of the updates it is good to hear from everybody. I always look forward to hearing from everyone.”