Quote compliments of Sis. Ludwig last night when we drove down to the Mississippi after zone conf and came home a little later than expected. We said, “hope you weren’t waiting up” and she reminded us that of course she was and then promptly made us hot chocolate and popcorn. :) They really are our parents this weekend. Love them!
HOMECOMING BEFORE COMING HOME
Ok, so I always knew Nauvoo missionaries are spoiled (there’s really no arguing that) but now I’m officially among the most spoiled. I don’t think the other sisters get this email, so I can spill the beans. We came back to Nauvoo Sat around noon (after spending the night at the mission home in Peoria with the Ericksons). We then had lunch with the Ludwigs then went to the temple. It was amazing because afterwards we had nowhere to go so just sat in the Celestial Room for almost an hour reading scriptures and praying and pondering. Way cool! The first time in a LONG time where I didn’t have someplace to be immediately so it was so good to have the extra pondering time. :) From then on, just ridiculous spoiling. We’re staying at the Ludwigs house (in the general authority suite) and getting fed yummy food every time we turn around (in case we needed help gaining ALL our mission weight before we go home) and being hugged and doted upon by senior missionaries every time we’re out in public. Anyway, good, good times! The best part is that this isn’t how I necessarily would’ve scheduled the end of my mission. I would’ve had appts til the last minute. So I was worried I’d feel a lot of anxiety having all this “down time” and be a little resentful of getting pulled out of Peoria so soon, but I really have felt so peaceful about everything. It feels so fun to come “home” before we go home.
POWER OUTAGE ADVENTURE
K, so Sun AM we woke up and it was dark and there were candles lit. The power had gone out in all of Nauvoo at 4:30 AM. The coolest part was that there was a beautiful thin layer of snow everywhere. So we were all in our PJs in the living room by the Christmas tree snuggling up and waiting to see what would happen with plans for church and stuff. We said a prayer and thankfully the power came back on pretty quick after that. It was a glowing blue from the snowy dawn outside. So gorgeous! Anyway, we had church later in the day. We did a fairly impromptu musical # (wouldn’t be Nauvoo without one) and bore our testimonies in sacrament mtg. That was unplanned too but cool cause it really gave me a chance to reflect. So cool to see the city in snow! We ran up to the temple this AM and took pics in it.
TURKEY TROT TROT
So we got to volunteer at the YMCA 5 mile turkey trot on Thanksgiving. Next best thing to running in it. It was way fun. We hung out a lot of the time with the kid dressed up as a turkey and got to talk with him a little about the Church at the end so it was cool to be able to say we shared the gospel with a turkey. We got to be at the finish line the whole time and cheer people on as they came in. It was a dream.
SMALL, SMALL WORLD
So while cheering on participants, one crossed the finish line and looked up and said, “Andrea, what are you doing here?” What the? It was a kid from Poway, Aaron Young. He’s going to the chiropractic school out there. Then later than night I met someone at a member’s house who asked what part of SD I was from then asked if I knew Kathleen Muir. I was like “What?! Yes, she’s like my 2nd mom!” Turns out one of the ward members is her cousin. Then tracting on my last day we met people in their garage. They didn’t want to hear too much of our message. On the way out Sis. Montgomery who I was with was like, “Oh, who in your family plays hockey?” I told them my cousins play hockey. Turns out their kid is good buddies with Peter from Anchorage. The Currys. And we found them in a random garage in Bettendorf, Iowa. So they were a little more interested in getting to know us after that. :) Haha! Seriously, what are the odds?
Our last lesson with Kayla (the 12-yr old) we went over the Plan of Salvation. We got to the part about the Atonement and as I explained it in little kid terms, it was suddenly so powerful to me. I asked her “have you ever felt sad or lonely or frustrated or mad? Have you ever felt like no one else knows what you’re feeling.” She’s a pretty quiet girl but she of course, had felt all of these things (she’s gone through tougher stuff at 12 then I have at 26). I got to explain that all of those yucky feelings she felt, Christ did too. And just for her. He knew her and loved her before she was born. She had faith in Him when she chose to come to the earth and He knew that she could pass this test successfully. He will be there every time she goes to Him with concerns, fears, or thanksgiving.
I’m so grateful for this gospel. I feel so privileged to have served the Lord and to have become a stronger disciple through experiencing greater resistance. I love the Lord and am excited to work this Christmas to feel a deeper connection with Him than ever before through study and prayer.
“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” –D&C 58:42. Don’t know why I put this quote. Not really related, but it just stuck out to me, so I hope it helps someone. This is the power of the Atonement.
Love you all!