Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Joys (Bayley)

Hello yall!  hope yall had a very merry Christmas that was full of junk food and wearing pajamas all day, and then of course reflections upon the life and ministry of our Savior.  Over here in THE mission, our Christmas was a little different, but truly one of the best Christmases I've ever had.  Of course, as is missionary Christmas tradition, for Christmas we got to skype our families, which is truly the best gift we get for Christmas, and for me it was extra special because I got to skype my brothers as well, who are also both serving as missionaries.  It has been my favorite thing on my mission to know that I am serving side by side (except across the ocean) from my brothers in preaching the gospel and bringing others to Christ.  But then aside from our Christmas calls, our Christmas consisted of sharing Christmas dinner with our Bishop and his family, delivering treats and making visits to a number of recent converts, investigators, and members, and then, last of all, visiting a local nursing home and going room to room singing Christmas carols.  That last activity truly set apart Christmas to me as a very sacred celebration of our Savior's life.  After all, when he was here on earth he could always be found among the sick and needy, and so it was a very sacred experience to be doing the same.  And there was such a special spirit felt as Sister Mulivai and I knelt by the bedsides of so many of the aged and sickly, and sang "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" with them.  Often they would sing along, their voices sometimes barely audible or cracked and raspy, but full of love for their Savior.  When we returned home that night, our hearts were full of love for our Savior and for our Father and for His children.  There truly is nothing quite like service.  It brings joy like nothing else.

Lastly, we ended Christmas day by watching "On the Lord's Errand" which is the biography of President Thomas S. Monson, and seriously is one of the greatest movies ever.  In it, President Monson shares so many experiences he has had in receiving, recognizing, and acting upon promptings of the Holy Ghost.  And at the conclusion of the movie, he makes a comment that is something along the lines of this: "I want the Lord to know that if he ever needs an errand run, he can always count on Tommy Monson."  And I just thought that was so amazing, and was thinking a lot about that for the rest of the night and into the next day, wondering and praying about how I could be that same way.  And so I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me be able to recognize and respond to prompting like that - no matter what they were.  So the next day, Friday afternoon, we were driving down the street and I saw a woman waiting at the crosswalk.  And as I saw her, the thought crossed my mind that I wanted to talk to her.  And as soon as I thought that, the logical side of my brain was like "yes, that would be great, except you're in a car and she's walking on the opposite side of the street" and I was about to agree with that sensible thought when my own prayer came back to my mind - asking God to help me be about His business.  And I knew that I needed to talk to that woman.  So I told Sister Mulivai and she turned the car around and as we were driving back we saw that the woman had gone into a CVS pharmacy store.  "What do you want me to do?"  Sister Mulivai asked me.  I told her we should just go ahead and go into CVS because I needed to fill my water bottle up anyways.  Once in there, we went back to the drinking fountains as I said a silent prayer, telling God that I knew he wanted me to talk to this lady, but that I didn't know how to go about it or where she even was, so to please help me out.  And as we left the bathrooms, there she was right outside the door.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We were able to have an amazing discussion about the gospel and about how to draw closer to God, and we left her with a pamphlet and information to look up back in Missouri, where she was from and going back to the next day.  What will happen with her, I do not know, but I am immensely grateful for that opportunity the Lord gave me to run an errand for him.  Because obviously, though I may not ever know the reasons for why, he wanted me to talk to that woman that day, and even if it was just to test me and my willingness to act on promptings, I am grateful for that chance.

In addition to Christmas, this week was a week of miracles in itself.  Saturday morning we were able to go to the temple with our recent convert, Robin, to do baptisms.  There she was baptized for her mother, and a young man there did the work for her father.  Without fail, every time I have accompanied a convert on their first temple trip, they have made some comment about how the temple is what heaven is like.  And it is so true.  And at the Houston temple, whenever someone is coming for the first time, a member of the temple presidency comes to speak with them.  And as the member of the president sat with Robin and shared with her the significance of the work she had just done, she said "I can't believe I get to be part of something so important."  The spirit was so strong, and she expressed the urgency she feels to return often to the temple to do the work for so many of her family members.  I absolutely love Robin.  She has such a strong testimony of this work and as we drove home she told us all about how she wants to both serve a mission and be a temple worker.  She has truly been prepared by the Lord to accomplish great works here.  She also kept talking about her living relatives as people who "she'll be taking to the temple later on."  Haha!  Love her.

And then another miracle of the weekend was that our investigator Rose had her baby!  Little Harmony was born Saturday afternoon, andSunday we were able to go and visit her at the hospital  (though not able to hold her - agghh torture).  It was so amazing to see her and know that, less than 24 hours ago, she had been with Heavenly Father, preparing for her life in mortality.  We shared those same thoughts with Chris and Rose, and they agreed.  I am so excited for that little family, and for them to be able to go to the temple and be sealed together - because I know it is going to happen.  I know that Harmony truly has been sent here to help them as much as they are here to help her.

And then yesterday my dear convert Diane gave a talk in sacrament meeting.  She shared her testimony, and expressed how much joy she has found as she has come to know her Heavenly Father again.  She said something about how for so long she felt like he had abandoned her, but that in discovering the gospel of Jesus Christ she realized that he had always been there for her, she had just never sought him out until now.  As I sat there in the congregation grinning like an idiot (seriously, my face hurt by the end of her talk) I felt a confirmation of the importance of this work - *this* is what it is all about, bringing the gospel to others is not about increasing membership in the church or raising numbers, it is about those individual people finding the unique joy and sense of purpose that only a covenant relationship with their Heavenly Father can provide.  How great is our purpose - not just as missionaries, but as disciples of Christ, to bring others to Him.

I hope yall have a happy new year!  It is so exciting to be able to look forward and set goals and make plans for our futures, and envision what God can make of us in the next year.  This past year for me has been my missionary year - in which I was a full time missionary from beginning to end.  And though 2015 will not be that, I know without a doubt that the Lord has plans for me for this next year, and that through Him it can be just as rewarding as joy-filled as 2014.  And I hope the same for yall!

Love yall!
Sister Bayley Enright

 Christmas Skyping!

 ​With Robin at the temple :)

 Holly berries!

​baby harmony :)

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