Monday, December 30, 2013

The true Christmas Message is not seasonal, it is eternal :)‏

30 December 2013

Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Family, it was so nice to talk to you all on Christmas! That was the fastest hour of my LIFE! haha. Like I told you, I hadn't slept for the past 2 nights, because I was excited, and nervous to talk to you. I really do love all of you so much! I am sorry I cried the whole time!!!! I really turned into an emotional mess since we were able to see each other for the first time since I saw you all as I rode the elevator down at the airport and I saw all of you goofballs waving at me and making silly faces.

Christmas Eve and Christmas really was a unique and unforgettable experience. We had a little Christmas miracle, when we got a call a couple of days before from a lady that we met our FIRST day here in Alcobendas almost four months ago. We hadn't heard anything from her for months, even after she had agreed to be baptized, but she called us again, because she walked past the church and thought of us! What a blessing that she remembered us, thought to call us, and invited us to visit with her again! So, on Christmas Eve (it was POURING rain all day) we rode a bus out to Algete and caught up on all of the difficult things that has passed in the last few months, how she had been reading the Book of Mormon, and she has time to meet with us again and change her life. A little tender mercy miracle!

The night of Christmas Eve, all of the missionaries in Madrid got together for a wonderful devotional where President and Sister Jackson talked to us and their friends that are in charge of the Jerusalem center came and spoke to us about the holy land too! As missionaries, we felt very special, and even though it is hard to be away from home, we know that we are supposed to be here, and next to home, this is the best place to be! And everyone is experiencing the same thing! It was incredible to hear about their insights of Jerusalem, where our Savior was born. I loved what one of them said, that the true Christmas story is of covenants and promises, the promise God gave to us to send His son and gave us the Plan of Salvation. And we have a chance to talk about it every day! Also, Hermana Jackson gave us a picture frame of many of the names of Christ, which was really neat, because I just finished reading the entire Book of Mormon, highlighting each time Christ is mentioned. I love the extra emphasis we are able to have of Christ as missionaries this time of year especially. We have really enjoyed warming up members and investigators lives by giving them simple gifts for Christmas and reading The Living Christ with them.

Christmas Eve night was fun! Sister Aagard and I set up our beds on the floor the sleep by the heater (almost as good as the fire and a big Christmas tree!) and we woke up, still did exercises in between opening little presents that we bought for each other!! Good memories. My favorite part of Christmas morning finishing the section of Jesus the Christ about His birth, and reading The Living Christ. WOW. We cried through the entire companionship study... I felt the Spirit strongly testify to me that Christ is my Savior, and that he came to earth to suffer for my sins. Then, we had the incredible opportunity to eat breakfast at President Jackson´s house, and lunch at the Bishop´s house next door! These are the only houses I have ever been to in Spain (the rest are all little apartments) and it was so homey and felt like being with family. The bishop was sweet to give all of us missionaries gifts and we played games like Pictionary while the turkey cooked. My favorite part of the day was what followed... TALKING TO FAMILY!! Oh goodness it was so great to see all of you and catch up a little bit. 

This Saturday was also Pablo´s baptism!!! Oh I love this man. It is incredible to see the change in these people as they accept the gospel, and it happened so fast. This man has had 8 lessons from us total. We simply were instruments in the Lord´s hands that found this man when we had searching for the truth for much of his life – the perfect example of a prepared man. There were 5 baptisms total from our ward this day. INCREDIBLE! There were so many people in white. I will hopefully get some pictures sent to you. Our investigator Agostina came and is excited to be baptized in 2 weeks (she is 67 years old and her dad told her over 50 years ago that one day she would listen to our message... how cool!). We have seen so many miracles here in Alcobendas, and I feel so blessed. I know this gospel is true. I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon in my life and in the lives of so many others!! I love you all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather :) 

Our district with the ward mission leader… SEGUNDO!!!

Pablo´s Baptism!!  Hermana Mather, Alcobendas Bishop, Pablo, Hermana Aagard  :)

Below: we love eating a Rosa´s house. She is like my Bolivian mother here!
She is the one closest to me, and the other is her sister Maria

Cool grafitti. Sanse [your city] is short for Sansebastian de los Reyes, where we serve!!

Christmas day at Bishop´s house!!!

Pablo, Hermana Mather, Hermana Aagard, Mervin

Last day of baptisms at Alcobendas!
What a great day. Mervin, our recent convert, baptized someone for his first time,
one of the people that the Elders had been teaching!

The Chapples! The new senior couple here that work in the office. Sister Chapple knows [Aunt] Sandy and [Uncle] Noel. She is from near Spanish fork. I love feeling like I have grandparents here in Spain :)

Mayte, who I told you about a few weeks ago, who had waited a year to be baptized, and finally was!

Breakfast at [the Mission] President's house!

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