This past week we got to once again help out at Humble Area Assistance Ministries (H.A.A.M) with their seasonal food (and this time toy) drive. It is definitely my favorite thing ever to be involved in service, especially around Christmastime. Sister Mulivai and I were in the storage room sorting toys, and by the end of several hours Sister Mulivai exclaimed that she would be perfectly happy never seeing a Barbie again, haha. I was kind enough to let her sort the dolls and Barbies and all sorts of various glittery, pink-packaged toys while I sorted through Lego sets and dart guns. So many people we are visiting at this time of year have expressed to us just how much they can't stand Christmas and can't wait for it to be over, and it just makes me so sad to see how a celebration of our Savior has been transformed into a celebration of shopping and reminder of financial setbacks and shortcomings. Many of the families we serviced at HAAM were so worried about having enough toys for their kids, and the kids worried about other kids having more toys than them, and it just made me so grateful for the way in which a mission completely shields you from the world and all you can think about on Christmas is your Savior and His life and His Atonement. Granted, that is largely because that is all you think about *all* the time...but you get the point.
The Humble Ward has been just top notch though in keeping with the true Spirit of Christmas. For our Ward Christmas Party just this past, instead of Santa and gifts and turkeys, we had a "Night in Bethlehem" in which we all dressed up in Bethlehem garb and sat around in the gym on blankets and ate food from various marketplace "stalls" - the one thing that differed from Bethlehem tradition was the food, since our Bethlehem was blessed with chocolate chip cookies and roast beef sandwiches. But let's be honest, that just improves the whole scene. You can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. It was pretty neat. And then there was a live nativity acted out at the end, in which yours truly got to be the angel and mostly I just botched up my line but tried to remain elegant looking even though I was wrapped in sheets and scarves. Nailed it. And then because the ward Christmas party wasn't enough, we had a Christmas program in church yesterday that basically was the best Christmas program I've ever seen in a sacrament meeting EVER. The primary children stole the scene (as usual) when they sang a song that I think was called "Heavenly Choirs" and was all about how Jesus loves the little children, and so of course they sang at his birth, and our primary president who is a top notch vocalist was the soloist with all the primary children around her as the choir and it was absolutely incredible. The Spirit was just so strong, and I'm grateful that I've never exactly been a church-crier because if I was I probably would've been bawling. It seriously was an AMAZING celebration of the love of our Savior. And then Sister Mulivai and I got to teach Sharing Time yesterday. I just love the primary children, and love being in Primary, and feeling their sweet spirits and seeing them acquire those righteous habits and testimonies that I know are going to develop into their most precious possessions, as mine has.
Another blessing this past week has been our continuous work with a part member couple, Chris and Rose. Rose is due to have a baby basically any day now, so every time we set up a lesson with them it is with the understanding that, should Rose go into labor, it probably won't happen. But as we have been teaching them, they have expressed just how much they want their baby girl to have a strong relationship with Heavenly Father, and in one particular lesson with them this last week, Bishop bore powerful testimony to them of how much God wants their family to be eternal, and wants them all to be together and to all be close to Him, and in that moment I received such a powerful confirmation of the love our Father in Heaven has for this family. It was such an amazing reminder of a reality of this work. Hands down, one of my favorite things I have experienced out here in the mission is being able to feel the love God has for His children. I wish everyone could feel that and recognize that - not just the love God has for them, but for all around us as well. If we knew how much God cared about those people, especially those people like the slow driver or slow cashier or loud neighbor, I think it would greatly affect our behavior and our reactions towards everyone, especially in their weaknesses.
Most importantly today, in this season of Christ, I want to share with yall my testimony of my Savior. He truly is our Redeemer, the Son of God, our perfect exemplar, our eldest brother, and my dearest friend. There is nothing in this life so sacred to me as my testimony of my Savior. I know that He is the only way for us to not only be redeemed from our mistakes and transgressions, but changed and refined of our weaknesses and shortcomings. I love Him, and I am forever indebted to Him. What a blessing to know that through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel which He gave us, we can develop within ourselves those attributes of godliness that He so perfectly demonstrated, and through that gospel we can prepare ourselves to enter into His presence, and feel at home there. How grateful I am not only for that sacred night in Bethlehem so many years ago, but for the matchless life that followed.
Merry Christmas yall,
Sister Bayley Enright
our haam group! from left to right back row, elders combrink, young, martinez, huff, hna hull, elders knebel, mccown, sarchet, dean - in the middle sisters crump, turpin, moi, and elder six, with sis mulivai, elder nonu, and hna carling in the front
missionaries are weird