Oh my goodness! Where do I start? So much to say and so little time. I'll start with today. I crossed off a mission bucket list item and made it up to Grand Forks, B.C.! It was so beautiful! We left at 7am and drove 2 hours to get up there. The further we got north of Spokane, the less and less houses we saw.. and more trees. I thought Spokane was dense. No. There were so many! And it had just snowed so everything was just magical looking! We met up with the sisters who serve up there (they never get to hang out with other missionaries on pday because they're so far from everything else) And we had brunch and walked around downtown and in little shops. It was great- but so cold! Then we went and walked around Christina Lake for a bit. It was absolutely gorgeous! I took off my jacket and boots and put my toes in the water. Bad idea! Afterwards I didn't want to get my socks/shoes wet so I ran back through the snow to the car. I now have a lot more respect for the pioneers. I don't know how they crossed the plains in the winter. It was so much fun! Elise McLaughlin from our ward drove us up and it was just a great day!
The week was pretty dead in terms of meeting with people. We actually saw a ton of active members! But only a few less actives. We went caroling on Christmas Eve... and on Christmas day. It was really good to cheer people up with Christmas hymns. Christmas Day itself was a little hectic. Our lunch appointment was running behind, so everything else was delayed (like Skyping...) but we made it to see everyone. We ended up having about 5 meal appointments and we made it up to Riverside in the Colville stake to visit a few families. It was so great seeing everyone! It got me pretty excited to see you all in a few weeks :) It still doesn't feel real though. It feels like in a few weeks I'll be getting another call and going to another area. Well, I guess I'll be transferred back to my 1st area, right? Anyways. I loved seeing everyone! And a cool thing was that I've been reading through the New Testament backwards and on Christmas Day it perfectly lined up that I read Luke chapters 1 & 2. It was great. I love learning more about the Savior.
We went on exchanges this week and I went out to Colbert. Sometimes exchanges feel like a break from your area, but this one was all work. These sisters just swept into the area and haven't done much (at least their area book and whiteboard were organized for them from all of mine and Sister McCabe's hard work last transfer). They've been there for 2 weeks and haven't even met any of their investigators. They've only been seeing less actives. So I wanted to show her that great things would happen if they started trying non members and less actives. That day we had 6 key indicator lessons (the only six they had all week). And I put one of their investigators (who I got to teach while we were in a trio last transfer) on date to be baptized. I organized their planners and showed her what she needed to do. It was hard work, but so rewarding! When I got back, my companion had nothing to show for their day and had driven 75 miles. We had a chat about that. It was pretty discouraging to have worked that hard and have my own area be neglected. Oh well. More work for me to do, right? I've actually been learning so much about patience. I feel like I'm practically a monk by now! But what I've been focusing on a lot is my own pride. I really need to be more humble about so many things. Praying is helping and the now that I'm recognizing it and asking for help, the Lord is really helping me to improve (I think...). Though that sounds like an unhumble statement. So I clearly need to keep working on it.
We had a good lesson with Lau. We got him to come to church last week but he didn't come yesterday. He's had a hard time overcoming his past addictions with marijuana. He smoked last week and when I asked him why he said because it was free. So I taught a mini D.A.R.E. lesson to him about just saying no. I even did a role play with him where I offered him some weed and he told me no. We practiced 3 times! It may sound ridiculous- I definitely laughed about it after. But I really think it helped. Poor kid. He just comes from such a rough past. We taught him about the priesthood and he's starting to grasp it. Speaking of priesthood. Josh Nay's lesson last night was on the duties of the priesthood. The spirit was so strong. I don't even know how to describe his lessons. They're just great! At the end, I testified about the power and restoration of it and I don't even recall what I said because the spirit just supplied me with the words. But it was amazing! I need to take a picture with him to send home...
Oh! Another miracle! We've been working with Aly and Justin since I got here. They've been becoming more and more active. They just got engaged and have a goal for the temple (though they're not ready yet, so they'll be sealed a year after). Justin has improved leaps and bounds! He's about ready to be ordained. They have a New Year's resolution to go to all 3 hours of church next year. They've only been coming for sacrament the last 2 months. And apparently Justin watched the Mormon message about the guy who wanted to commit suicide, but heard about fasting and tried it, etc. (I think Breanne sent it as a link one day). Anyways, he decided on his own to fast for 24 hours about the church. He's just on fire! Gosh I love watching the gospel change lives! It makes all of the hard times worth it :) How many times have I said that over the course of my mission??
Well, I've got to get going. This was a fast week! I hope you have a great week and wonderful New Year! I love you all!