MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! We're starting to say that now, and I LOVE it!!!!! :D
mormon.org/Christmas is up and hopping, and it's AWESOME!!! Go use it! They have ads all over New York City. Busses, cabs, billboards on Times Square, it's awesome!!!
You'll never guess what I found out here the other day. We were riding around out of zone (lots can happen on bikes when you're new to an area) and we found a HUGE Target!!!! It was ginormous!!! Like 5 stories tall! and I'm pretty sure there are roads inside of it, because I saw a car driving on the 4th floor!!! It was pretty amazing....
Thanks for the package! We got pictures with the Santa hats for ya. haha. Somebody was just talking to us the other day, and asked if we had Christmas decorations, and I told them: "knowing my mom, they're in the mail." Then we got this 6 foot Christmas tree!!!! haha it was hysterical. (For those who are shocked, it was a huge tapestry, it was awesome) Thanks so much!
So, this week, we took a family we're working with to the Temple Visitors Center to see the lights and a Sandra Turley Concert, and lo and behold, Elder Kyle Fletcher is there!!! haha. It was awesome to see him. He's very smiley and high in spirits; it seems like he's doing fantastic. The concert was great too. Sandra Turley is about 8 months pregnant, so she made some good jokes about songs about Mary and method acting. She also had her kids sing a number, which was hysterical when her 4 year old son made a "child noise" in the microphone, and her 6 and 3 year old daughters started smacking him. She also showed a home video of her siblings and parents singing together one Christmas, and in the video she totally picked her nose and ate it. I can now say I've seen Sandra Turley do that...
Some news from this week is interviews. I went first with President, and he at first asked how my testimony was doing, what I was doing to keep it growing, and what 3 things I KNOW about the gospel. He then shared why: We NEED to know those. He said to imagine how Satan must be feeling now. For the first time in history, the Lord's prophet is no longer praying for more time. Rather, he is hastening the work. He is calling for more laborers. Satan must be irate! Our testimonies are suddenly becoming even more dear to us, as his strategies will soon become more pointed. He also committed me to scripture study every morning of my life, with emphasis on post-mission life. He then looked me in the eye and shared with me how much he trusted me, and how valuable that trust is to him. After interviews, we went to get my glasses, which turned out pretty schnazzy.
The other day, I heard a song from White Christmas (very likely the best Christmas movie of all time) and I thought I'd try something from it. "When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. I fall asleep counting my blessings." I tried it that night, because I had a lot on my mind. (mission life can be stressful. Lots of things up in the air, and all these worries of things you want people to do, yet they still have agency, etc.) So, I fell asleep counting my blessings, and not only was I able to fall asleep before I hit the end of the list (not hard), I found myself waking up with the best nights rest I'd had in weeks. It was a great reminder to me of the blessings that come from gratitude. Just stop for a moment and think of everything that's going RIGHT rather than what's going wrong, and all will be well.
Last night. We had just a little time left in the day, but not enough to really do anything. So, we followed President’s advice from interviews. We knelt and prayed, then went where we were directed. We rode to A's house. We tracted into Ana last week . As we rode up her driveway, she walked outside. "Hi Ana!" we said. "We just got up off our knees from praying, and God has brought us here to your home. Do you know why He would send us here?" “…because my husband is sick?" We didn't take much time, but explained that maybe God had led us here so we knew to pray for her husband and that we would do that for her. In talking to her, she'd also read a page of the BofM and was looking forward to meeting with us. When we left, she said that we were "very special boys" and that the world would be better. We told her that that's why we share our message, and she said she'd love to hear it :) It was so cool to see that inspiration from President Riggs :)
Have fun decking the Halls,
Elder Matthew Hodgson