Monday, December 19, 2016

Lighting Mutare

Hello family and friends!

Highlights from Queensdale:

1. Sister Mpiyakhe and I have a new friend named Bricks. He apparently is a gospel reggae music artist & kept inviting us to the studio to make a track with him. We told him we couldn't go to the studio with him but we could teach him. So, we taught him the Plan of Salvation and told him he should make a track about it. He agreed. Oh the interesting moments on mission. I have stories for dayysss.
2. This week I have really learned to talk with everyone. Normally I get slightly irritated with some of the men here because they sometimes just want to joke around with you and whistle and holler at you to preach to them. My companion and I really took the time to sit and listen to this guy named Keith and he told us, "Every time I talk with you guys I feel hope in my life. I want to stop doing drugs. Sometimes I just want to give up. I need help." I could see the sincerity in his eyes and it cut me to the core of my heart. The Savior Jesus Christ talked with everyone, even those clearly labeled as sinners. So should we. We should try our best to have compassion and listen with an open heart-even those who irritate us.

Early Friday morning the Harare missionaries piled up into vans and drove about 4 hours away to Mutare. We had our Christmas devotional in Mutare which was wonderful. That isn't all that we did in Mutare though. We also contacted like crazy on Friday after the devotional and all day Saturday. President Mkhabela said, "I know He will be happy, we are supposed to be here." While contacting we looked for many acts of service. Some were plowing fields (I'm practically a farmer now), Christmas caroling, and dancing with a group of about 20 little kids.... it was a blast! Definitely feeling the Christmas spirit. At one point we invited this man to church and he didn't seem too thrilled. He told us he belonged to a different church. We told him a little bit about what we believe in as Latter Day Saints and he goes, "Oh! You see this clinic down the road, your church donated some medicines and equipment. I'm a teacher and some of my less fortunate students received rice & beans donated. The water we use in this area is even from your church!" We then explained to him that we follow the example of Jesus Christ & serve others. I think it's cool that even though we may not realize the good our tithing and fast offerings do, others do and are so blessed by it. 

On December first, I was walking home in the heat of the sun. I thought to myself, this feels so weird. There aren't any Christmas lights at night, it's too hot to drink hot chocolate or wear sweaters and where is the Christmas music? I used to miss those seasonal activities back at home and it's not that I don't anymore, but I have really been able to focus on the real meaning of Christmas which has been a blessing. I loved what Douglas D. Holmes said at the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional, "Our gifts to each other will never compare to the gift of His Son." Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ to watch Him be spit upon, beaten, ridiculed all to die for our sins and it's all because He loves us. This Christmas season, let us not forget our Redeemer, Savior and Prince of Peace. Let us not forget what Christmas is truly about. "Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortal life comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When, Isaiah speaking mesianically wanted to convey Jehovah's love, he involved the image of a mother's devotion, "Can a woman forget her sucking child?" he asks. How absurd he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us." -Jeffrey R. Holland. I love being a missionary. I love this gospel and I know it to be true. I appreciate what our Savior, Jesus Christ did for us. That is why I am here. I will never be able to fully pay Him back, but I can do my best to emulate His life & teachings and continue to #LIGHTtheWORLD with His love.

December 12: Shared my favorite stories of Jesus Christ with others. 
December 13: Bragged about my companion all day. She even did the same!
December 14: Donated some clothes to "I was a stranger".
December 15: Listened to Christmas hymns.
December 16: Gave someone sad ice cream.
December 17: Took time to think about my mom and appreciate all the good she does.
December 18: Went to church.

I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas! I am so excited to skype my family! :)

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