MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Oh boy oh boy, I love Christmas. This was my first Christmas ever away from home... That was strange. But it wasn't hard until I hung up the skype call to my family. There's no snow here, we didn't have a real tree nor any real decorations, and we didn't do half the things I normally do on Christmas, so it really didn't feel like the Holidays much at all. But as soon as I talked to my family and they were all in their Christmas pajamas sitting in my family room opening presents and what not, it suddenly felt like Christmas and I felt like I was missing out on it for the first time. So that was a little bit sad, but it's okay. I am where I need to be right now, and I am grateful I have been able to invite people to come closer to Christ during the season that celebrates His birth. :)
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with Christmas Eve! That day, we went around delivering Christmas presents and companionship carols to as many people as we could. The sky was super pretty and it was freezing cold and we had a great time. Singing duets was fun, and helped us to feel the Christmas spirit as well as bringing it to others through music. That was nice. I only got one picture with the pretty sky, but you can't really tell. Oh well!
That night, we ate dinner with the Steinegal's! I adore them. They had a bunch of friends over who are nonmembers, so it was fun to talk to them about the true meaning of Christmas while we were there. One of them even sewed us each some cute little ornaments while we there and gave them to us when we left! It was so sweet of her. We did a service project while we were there too! We made a candy house for a Battered Women's shelter nearby. It was super fun!
It was wonderful. :) When we got home that night, we had our own mini celebration with Apple Cider Martinelli's and Ghirardelli chocolates. It was yummy. We also took one present each from our "stash" and opened a Christmas Eve gift. I found decorations in mine! Pretty snowflake lights that added just the right touch to my snowflake papers in our bedroom. It looked lovely.
Christmas morning, we woke up, arranged our presents, finished our advent calendars, and opened our gifts. I got a lot of wonderful things that I needed, and a few extra things that were nice little surprises. Thank you for making my Christmas wonderful! It sure was a good one. The best part of the day though, was when I got to skype mi familia! Oh man, I am so glad we got to talk on Christmas. I miss the fam so so much! There was no better way to celebrate Christmas than talking with family.
It was definitely a Christmas morning to remember. So was the rest of our day... And our weekend... Our dinner appointment for Christmas night had told us the night before that they all had the flu and didn't think it'd be a good idea to have us over, but then called on Christmas Day claiming a "Christmas Miracle" and saying they all magically felt better, so we ate dinner at their house. Saturday night, it hit me and I've been throwing up ever since. My companion caught it yesterday. Lovely, right? What a nice Christmas gift! Haha we are finally starting to feel better though, so we are okay.
Besides Christmas and Christmas Eve, we had a few cool things happen. The first was on Monday night after we had spent some of our Pday at Erica's house hanging out and stuff. They were leaving for Maryland the next morning for Christmas, so we said goodbye and went to work. However, when we left, we both felt frustrated because we didn't know where to go. We were heading downtown to go visit some people, but neither of us felt good about it, so we pulled over and said a prayer. The answer we got was to go back to Erica's... But we are ALWAYS there and we just came from there, so we figured that couldn't be right. However, the longer we pondered, the more we thought of going back. So eventually we did, and it turned out to be exactly where we needed to be. We helped Erica pack and chatted and watched some uplifting videos. It was great.
The other cool story happened on Friday, after we went to the mission office to pick up a package and drop some referral information off. We were in the office with all the office missionaries, just chatting about our Christmas and having a good old time, when Sister Borchardt and I both stopped and looked at each other, then announced that we had to go. We didn't even really say goodbye, we sort of just left, but we didn't know why. As we walked out of the mission office, we got a text from an investigator saying, "Hey girls, I'm in a really low point right now, so please pray for me. I need to get out of this hole I'm in." We told her we had just left the office and had nothing planned and could be there in 15 minutes. It was so cool that the spirit touched both of us and told us we needed to leave so we could go visit with our investigator! God is so aware of His children, and He will always send help when He knows they need it. Whether it be missionaries, neighbors, or simply an answer to your prayer found in scripture, He will always answer us. :)
This Christmas was different for sure, but wonderful. I'm so grateful I have had the opportunity to be serving God full time, especially during the Christmas season. I am so excited for the New Year and the chance to improve my quality of missionary work. I'm definitely gonna step it up! And I know that 2015 will bring many a miracle! Time to forget myself and go to work! I love you!!!
Sister Nicole Guilott
P.S. We take ugly selfies sometimes.