It's been forever since my last update I feel like I have so much to tell you all!
First and foremost, I've officially been a member now for 3 years! Sister Bambrough and I celebrated by... sharing the gospel! Haha, such an exciting time to be a missionary. We taught our one and only Chinese investigator last week the restoration and she prayed for the first time! At first she didn't want to, only leaders of the church can pray...so she thought, but with the help of our member James from Taiwan, he was able to help her pray. It was so amazing, I love being there for the first time when someone prays. We had a similar experience the following day when one of our 17 year old investigators prayed at the end of our lesson - she volunteered! We didn't even ask her to say it and it was a beautiful prayer. SO great.
We had our giant Christmas Conference a few days before Christmas. A few of us sisters traveled down to Sydney and we met with half of the mission. It was awesome! President and Sister Howes spoke as well as some missionaries, it was a great training! We watched the movie LUTHER, very interesting, talks about how the Lutheran Church came about. It was so great just being around other missionaries, sharing experiences, enjoying Christmas together. Our fleet Elders put on a funny skit, some missionaries made a video for president, it was a fun day. But also such a strong spirit was felt. How amazing is it to know that TRUTH HAS BEEN RESTORED!? We are a part of the true gospel on earth, the same gospel that Jesus Christ himself established when he was here on earth, and he lives today. SO amazing, I am very blessed to be a small part of this work.
After Christmas Conference, Sister Bambrough and I had the privilege to give tours at the Temple Lights in Sydney. We had a giant display of the Nativity, as well as an art exhibit of the Savior. I met so many wonderful people, we had over 1,700 people come through in just one night. The best part was there were TONS of Chinese people! All I had to do was ask where they were from in Chinese and they were amazed, haha, made me feel great. I love talking to Chinese people, so much nicer than Australians. Haha...I can say that because Australians would be the first to admit to it! Last Sunday, Sister Bambrough and I sang "Away in a Manger" in church. Our 1st counselor came up to us after and said we sounded like angels, and he was crying. BLESS him, it was all Sister Bambrough. :)
We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at our branch president's home, his 3 kids are so adorable. We put water for the reindeers on the roof, carrots included, obviously. Christmas morning came and Sister Bambrough and I made some gluten free pancakes! It was yummy..only thing missing was......gluten :/ oh well. Those days are over haha. We had a massive lunch at the A's home. I ate my first oyster...almost puked. First mistake was I started to chew it...Mr. A yelled at me..."no, don't chew it, swallow it!" It was like snotty sea water, so gross. NEVER again, haha. We also had prawns, I almost lost it again having to pull off all the legs and snapping the head off...disgusting. Especially after all the cockroaches I've seen, I just can't do antennas. Our dinner appointment cancelled, unfortunately, so we spent our night reading the scriptures and taking it easy. It was a great Christmas!
This week we took another trip down to Sydney so the mission could certify me to drive, we took the train this time. I LOVED riding the train, we got to talk to so many people. We met a man named Toby, he was OBSESSED with our accents, It's nice to be admired for your accent, haha, even though it's just an American accent, nothing special. We just about missed our stop though because he kept talking and talking and asking us deep questions, still talking as we are packing our things and then someone on the train yelled, "Sisters, the doors are closing, hurry!" We quite rudely just waved and ran off the train, we left him with our information though...he'll find us :) Training to drive was a BLAST! There was about 14 of us. Sister Stevens and I were the only sisters. We watched a bunch of cheesy training videos and then had to do a quick driving test...haha. While I was driving, one of the elders was like..."okay Sister Raitt, well why don't you go ahead and get in the left lane...since........you're already in it..." haha...it's WEIRD driving on the other side, alright!? I forget how much room I need, but it was funny. My first right hand turn, I turned on the windshield wipers...not the turn signal. haha...happens to everyone I've been told.
For New Years Eve, we went down to Stockton for the day, a really interesting town, but we met lots of people. We even met a woman named Valerie and she had lots of good questions about God and our purpose. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she even gave us her daughter's address in England so we can get missionaries to visit her! I love missionary work.
I'm about out of time, but I've included our BOM reading that we are doing together as a mission, you are all more than welcome to join us in reading the BOM together. The reading for this week will be from First Nephi chapters 1-12. Each week will work out to about 3 ½ pages per day, so hopefully it will not be too onerous for you. Your task is to take a fresh BOM and mark any reference to Christ or any of his names.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true, there is a difference between accepting the Book of Mormon and having a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I invite everyone if they haven't already, or even if they have, to pray and ask Heavenly Father again for a witness to know the Book of Mormon is true. He hears us and answers our prayers, I know this to be true. Heavenly Father has great things in store for His children this year, it is an exciting time!
I love you all! Have an amazing first week of 2013!