Who is getting pumped for Christmas? We sure are!
Except for the fact that all the students are going home for the holidays so we are slowly or well quickly running out of people to teach.
And they are also stressed with exams so those we do have to teach feel too busy to meet with us.
But other than that- woooo Christmas!
It really was another great week here in London. The Christmas initiative of #LIGHTtheWORLD has been a ton of fun. We also have the live nativity outside, and some couples acting out Mary and Joseph have brought their own baby to be baby Jesus. It attracts a lot of attention and people’s hearts are much softer. Though I must admit, I’m coming to find English people are a bit more closed off. But we love them and are trying to light their world a little more each day.
Francis is fantastic. Turns out he’s a master piano player. He also taught me about computer programming and other stuff that was too smart for my brain. We tried to teach him a few things too and I think it went alright! Really though, he’s doing great and his faith is truly growing. Whenever we ask him to commit to something, most of the time he will first flat out say no. He’s quite stubborn. But his heart softens and he always says, “Let’s try it!” As he has accepted our invitations to act, he’s noticed how he feels more hope and peace. His prayers are sincere and he said he feels really happy. It’s fun stuff!
Boya is back stronger than ever. She’s preparing for baptism on January 15. Ready to crush it with her! Jacque is incredible and preparing for baptism on January 15 as well. Her faith is so pure. And our girl Laure is preparing for the 15th of January too! So it should be a pretty great day. These gals are from China, Mongolia, and Rwanda. Am I really in England?
And to continue about great days- Sunday was one of them. I think Sister Gregson is still in shock from the day. My past area, Hyde Park 2, had all of our awesome friends there! Black Michael came, Newbury Michael was visiting, Mina brought a friend again, and James (I know you’re reading this James) was visiting from Guernsey! Mark and Ahmed passed the sacrament and Otis blessed it. It was a big day for Hyde Park 2. I wish you all could know all of these amazing people! I love them so much.
The rest of Sunday was filled with running back and forth and was way fun. Taught Jacque, Laure, Sharon and Boya, had church, went to Bamboo’s baptism, and had a Christmas devotional that Sister Gregson and I conducted. Never a dull moment!
I know I just threw out a bunch of names, but I want each of you to know how special these people are to me. We pray, cry and fast for them. Every ounce of my heart is being spread among them. They are all beautiful children of God and I cannot express how blessed I am to know them. I found it interesting this week that in my prayers, Heavenly Father continued to say to me, “Remember they are my children.” What a glorious truth that we are each children of a divine Eternal Father!
Now I have to admit something. Despite having a loving Father in Heaven, I hardcore miss my mom and dad. You can blame it on the holidays or that the last time I spoke to them was seven months ago. But I really, really miss them and some weeks it hits me more than others. It also didn’t help that running through my mind all week was the line, “I’ll be home for Christmas, but only in my dreams.”
This week I had many unique experiences coming to know my parents more without even communicating with them. To be clear, I have the coolest parents ever and I realize that more and more each day. I know many of my friends even thought my parents were the coolest ever. However, growing up I had my rebellious teenage moments in which I believed some of their “rules” were just too strict. In all reality, they were quite chill. But I’m starting to get to know them more each day, even from across an ocean and without communication.
I’ve noticed their faith and true desire to put God first. Their relationship is centered on Jesus Christ and the celestial promise they made together. My mom is on some sort of telepathy with me and my dad gives me incredible advice. When I feel like I just cannot continue, that my faith is too weak or that I am not qualified enough, their love and support keeps me going. They know this is hard. It’s been a sacrifice for us all. However, my mom always said, “God gave me you for 19 years and so the least I can do is give you to Him for 18 months.”
I am thankful for them more than words can explain. But they are not with me. When I moved away from home to college, I could text, call or video-chat them whenever I pleased. When I had exciting news to share, I called my mom and dad. When things got difficult, I called my mom and dad. Though I couldn’t jump on a plane to go see them and missed them greatly, I still very much depended on them. Now on my mission, I cannot depend on them. There are no texts, calls or video-chats. Just prayers. And so I found who I must be entirely dependent on for the rest of eternity.
As I prayed and cried to my Heavenly Father one night, I told him, “I really just want my mom and dad.” He simply responded, “I am your Father.”
Not to go all Star Wars on you, but I felt an overwhelming amount of peace and comfort as I cried unto Him. I need to depend on Him. He truly is our Father and He listens to us. He speaks back as our hearts are open to Him as well.
I continued to notice the little things which reminded me that He is my father. We were teaching our friend Hellen and asked her why she thought Jesus Christ got baptized. With her little English she said, “Because He believed His Father.”
Do we believe our Father? Do we trust Him? Do we reach out to Him? Do we depend on Him?
Another experience that hit me this week was when we were watching the video, The Restoration. I would invite each of you to watch it (just twenty minutes and I promise it’s a good one: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2008-06-01-the-restoration?lang=eng). What hit me was when Joseph’s father gave one of his son’s a little horse. The simplicity and love of that action follows with the lines that have been running through my mind ever since: “If ye then know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him.”
May we remember during this beautiful Christmas season the most glorious gift our Father has given to us, His son Jesus Christ. For those who may be away from home or without their parents, we can always remember we have our dear Father with us. We can always depend on Him.
I am grateful to have such loving parents but especially for my loving Heavenly Father. My parents noble example of parenthood has given me a glimpse of our divine parents in Heaven. My mom and dad are protectors and gentle friends. They are my mother and father, but they are also a daughter and a son. Their example of knowing that all that they are and all that they have is because God is a father to them, brings me to a greater knowledge of my role as a daughter and a future mother. They are far, but they are close. When I don’t have them, I always have Him. We are His children. I know that He answers our prayers in His own way, and in His own time. But He does answer. And He will always be our Father 🙂
PS- Watch this one too. You’ll love it 🙂 https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/earthly-father-heavenly-father