Monday, December 16, 2013

Final week before Christmas!

Good Morning :)
The time goes too quickly. I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner, it doesn't feel quite like Christmas without family and snow, but It's close enough :) 

We traveled to Eastwood to go on trade-offs with the sisters serving in the Mandarin ward. I always love coming to Eastwood. We were able to see many miracles - I'll share a few. 

Sister Chen and I were just on our way to the train station in the morning. Starting off the day, we bought our train tickets and we saw a woman behind us who looked somewhat lost. We could see she didn't speak much English so we offered to help her buy her ticket (those machines can be a little confusing even for me). She was so grateful and we walked together to the platform. Turns out we were both waiting for the same train. She told us that she absolutely loves church. She travels nearly 45 minutes every Sunday to attend a church with her friend in another city. She's been looking for a church in Eastwood and asked if we happen to know a good one. Well, our church happens to be located right in the heart of Eastwood! How convenient! She was thrilled, we exchanged numbers and information. She was so sweet and grateful to meet us, you could say she was a golden find :) It was a great start off for the day. 

Later on the train again, there was an older Chinese man who walked past where we were sitting making his way to get off the train and we extended a simple "Ni Hao."  He smiled and kept walking. Then we looked back and he's looking back as well and he asks, "Do I know you?" Sister Chen said, "No, we were just saying hello." He smiled again and continued walking. When we got off at our train stop I looked over and I see the same elderly man sitting on a bench waiting for the next train. I nudge Sister Chen and I'm like, "C'mon, lets go talk to him again." So we walk over and start talking to him. He was just so happy to meet us and of course, we all were waiting for the same train. We talked to him for quite awhile and he asked if we happen to know a place where they offer an English class. We said, "We do that!" haha... We also exchanged information and he's planning to come to English class in Eastwood next week. 

Another miracle...keep in mind it was a very hot couple of the 30's...and we're on our way to an appointment. The original plan was to meet at the park where we always meet. We weren't TOO excited seeing as it was pretty hot outside but we traveled to the park.  We got a call from our investigator saying, "My wife and I will come and pick you up and we can meet in our home today." :D MIRACLE! haha... So this sweet couple come and take us to their home with their 5 children. This family comes from Egypt! How amazing, right!? They were the nicest family ever! The father, ________, he is so sincere and LOVES Jesus Christ and is truly seeking for truth. Their current religion is Catholic but he's very interested to come to church and learn more about this "new book" - The Book of Mormon. He has begun to read it and he said to us, "This book is beautiful...tell me more about it.." They dropped us back off at the train station after our lesson, we were very grateful :) 

Currently we've added a new sister to our companionship so there are three of us together. It's just temporary but we've been loving it! A little awkward when teaching trying to teach with three instead of two but it's been fun. Sister Stanburry is from England and I've been working on my accent. 

We're getting things in order for another baptism on Saturday, ________! He has successfully quit smoking and is so excited to be baptized, we are too! Such a wonderful Christmas gift to us :) Our ward Christmas party on Saturday night was a success, lots of non-members came and had a great time, lots of fun.  Tomorrow is our Christmas Conference, really looking forward to it. Sister Campbell is giving a talk and they've asked me to sing. It will be half of the mission all together! It's really exciting!  Word on the street is we'll get to watch a movie but I'm not getting my hopes too high. Last year we watched, "Luther," a movie of the story of Martin Luther - haha. It was actually pretty interesting. 

The Christmas Devotional from the first presidency was wonderful, we were able to attend and watch it last night. This time of year is truly the time to not rush around and be stressed getting presents and planning parties but to slow down and remember why we celebrate Christmas, to remember the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. "Away in a Manger" is one of my favorite hymns if not my favorite, I nearly cry every time I hear it or sing it. It's so beautiful and I love when we sing, "be near me Lord Jesus I ask thee to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray." He is always near us...if that is one thing I have learned on my mission it is that. 

I love you all very much and my prayer is that you will have a wonderful Christmas, talk to you soon.
Sister Raitt

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