Thanksgiving is over (we didn't celebrate it here.. was going to... but then forgot!) and the CHRISTmas season is upon us! It is exciting! I don't know if you saw but the church apparently bought out the home screen of YouTube for the day to advertise their new video: "He is the Gift!" It is good. A lot like the #Because of Him Video. I think you would all benefit from it! I think everyone would.. ha. Well Elder Nathan has been in the mission 1 whole transfer! A new transfer starts today and we are staying together as one would anticipate! We are happy about it. Elder Lonitenisi is leaving though! Sad.. we will miss him in our district! One of my favorite missionaries, so fun to be with. ha. There is other good news though, The other Elders in Dural are staying! SO that will be good. I feel like we have a good sense of unity and want to keep the love here. It makes the work so much easier! So since CHRISTmas is coming up I decided to spend a bit of money and get some souvenirs! Ha All kinds of stuff... Mostly decorative. and a little noisy too.. ha I think Andy will be excited. ha. That is about all the "fun" or worldly news...
My core experience with God this week came from Sacrament meeting. Invitation Sunday was great the chapel tour went alright, the members were happy, non-members came, but the biggest impact for me was receiving personal revelation in sacrament meeting. I was sitting, listening to great and very well constructed talks by ward members all focused on the Savior and his great power and Atonement. As we know, it usually is not what the speakers actually say but the spirit that they bring that inspires us. Brought back into my memory was something I had TOTALLY forgotten about. I remembered WAY back to my 9th grade gym class. I do not remember what caused this but I remembered the experience briefly. As a struggling youth learning my way through life often feeling lost and confused, I remember breaking down and sitting on the gymnasium floor crying. I remember pulling shirt over my face embarrassed. But that was about all I remembered. I did not remember the cause or what happened a moment after. I saw all the youth standing on the stage singing with smiles. I, for a moment, remembered what it was like to be in their shoes. I felt for them.. however that was not the core experience. I was trying to understand why I had remembered that. When the it hit me. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can take away ALL our pains, fears, and sorrows. A very traumatic moment from my past had been completely forgotten about. None of those circumstances mattered. The people the situation. I understand that is partially due to time as well. But I do not feel guilty or sad about it anymore. I truly believe because of my faith at THAT time and because of my service now... that memory and those feelings were erased. The Atonement had healed me. I always find it difficult to understand the Atonement and how it works... But I understand and feel more and more of my Saviors love Each day. I do not think we can ever fully comprehend this great gift that has been given to us freely. The Gift which we have the blessing of celebrating this month... He is the Gift!
I am striving to teach as Jesus taught by taking more time preparing and practicing. We practiced our chapel tours and went to clean and prepare the Chapel the night before the big "Invitation Sunday!" I find it obviously helps dramatically! ha. I companion and 12-week study, in District Training, in investigators appointments, as well as the much appreciated Dinner appointments with members! Putting together and then reviewing and going over just to ensure your Audience receives personal revelation makes it SO much easier. It really helped us have a good chapel tour and is something we are applying to more and more phases of our learning!
I feel my companions love often. But I would say the most, usually the night before Transfers when one of us is leaving. Bags are packed just waiting. Remembering and reminiscing the good times we'd had, the success and miracles we'd seen, and all the love we had felt. From Members, investigators, missionaries, and each other. I have always been told growing up, "It's all about the memories." As time moves on, we can prepare for the future and remember what we learned and the good times that were had.
Thank you to all of you! I love you! I Hope you are all doing fantastically!