Holidays in Holladay

Dear Family and Friends,

     This has been such a wonderful week. I love serving a mission on Christmas. Good thing I will have two of them 🙂 I am so grateful to serve the Lord, especially when everyone is focused on the birth of Christ. There is a wonderful spirit around the holidays, but more on that later. Let me just summarize the days leading up to and following Christmas.
     Tuesday – Our district leader gave us all the challenge of meeting 10 new people each day. Sister Tonga and I took the challenge very seriously and we have met 10 or more new people everyday this week. We were going down streets, looking up lists of people and knocking doors that we knew were not members. One family let us in because they were so worried we were freezing in the snow (which we were.) The kids were hiding from us on the couch and the mom called them in to meet us. “These are the lady Mormon Missionaries. Mom doesn’t normally let them in but it is cold. It is okay if they come in, because they teach about Jesus.” It was a tender mercy, although the family is not interested, they were still kind. After we left that house, we knocked on another door, where we met a nice lady who let us in. She is a Christian and was willing to watch A Savior is Born with us. Right before we started, the commercial break on her show finished and she herded us into the living room to watch HGTV with her. It was one of those awkward moments, when we had no idea what to do so we stood there and watched until the commercial break, then we showed the video and left.
     Wednesday- A lady in our stake has been helping us make cookies for the families that we visit. She could not take us to deliver the cookies because she had errands to run, so we borrowed her red wagon and pulled it all over our area, delivering cookies to people. Later that evening, we went with the same lady and helped her deliver her Christmas gifts, since she does not know the area very well. The members here are very kind. So many people offered to give us rides and let us in their houses to warm up. Sister Tonga likes the snow, but it is so cold, we have to take breaks inside to defrost.
     Thursday- We had our district meeting a day early. It was a wonderful meeting, the Spirit was so strong. We talked about the power we have as missionaries, and the responsibility we have to teach the people the Savior has sent us to. I love district meetings, because we can learn so much from the other missionaries, who are having the same struggles as us. Sister Tonga got to call home today, because her family is in Tonga. She called, and I read all the Christmas cards. Thank you to everyone who sent me a card, it means a lot to me. After she finished calling, we hurried down to an old folks home in our district leaders area to sing Christmas carols to the residents there. It was a sweet moment to see how excited they were to have people there to sing to them. Then, we hurried to our dinner. We ate with the Taylor family, and they asked us to give a message at their Christmas program. Since the dad was on the team that made A Savior is Born, we didn’t feel like we could share that. So, Sister Tonga volunteered us to sing a Christmas song to them. That was awkward 🙂 We then hurried over to a less active lady’s house to spend the rest of the evening with her. Shelley is a wonderful lady, and it is always peaceful in her home.
     Friday – I loved getting the chance to Skype home, we were at a relief society presidents house. Her son just got home from his mission, so it was fun to listen to some of his stories. Afterwards, we went down to another less active lady’s house. She made so much food for us, and then made us eat almost all of it. It is a humbling experience to eat with members who give us all they have. Stephanie had helped us make puppets for Primary Children’s Hospital, but we weren’t able to go with her to deliver them, so she showed us all the pictures. After spending some time with her, we went up to our dinner. The other sisters in our zone had wanted us to come with them to a Tongan family for dinner but we had other arrangements. Towards the end of our dinner, the sisters texted us and told us they were coming to get us. So, we had two very very large dinners that night. The food was delicious, I now love Tongan food, but it was struggle to eat so much.
     Saturday – We taught our investigator Carolina. We were reading from the Book of Mormon when she asked us what the Holy Ghost was. We had both thought she already knew what it was, since she had been taught before. It was one of those moments when we were being taught along with her. The Spirit was so strong, and had completely taken over the lesson. She is finally starting to get there, to have the desire to understand and to know. After we taught her, we went to another less active lady’s house. As we talked to Marie about coming back to church, we were able to get her to bear her testimony to us. She had a hard time coming to church because she is in a wheel chair. She does not want to be a burden on anyone. The Spirit was also very strong as she told us about her concerns, and we were able to talk about them. It was wonderful.
     Sunday – We went and talked at the old folks home in our area. They have two meetings, one for Alzheimer patients and one for everyone else. We spoke at both of them. In the first meeting, right after the sacrament song, an old lady stands up and says, “I have had enough church,” and walked out. It was so cute, because one of the nurses explained it wasn’t over yet and she sat back down until she got the bread and then left again 🙂 We spent the rest of the day going from meeting to meeting until after our Book of Mormon class. We then went back to Shelley’s and were able to teach her. We showed her the Mountains to Climb Mormon message, which brought the Spirit so strongly to the lesson. It was wonderful.
     Happy New Year! I love you all!!
     Sister Andrus

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