Monday, December 22, 2014

A New Decade

Woah! "I'm old! Oh, I'm like the crypt keeper!" Name that movie. ;) I can't believe that I turned 20 this week. That feels so old! I still remember wanting my 16th birthday to come faster, and now I'm 4 years past that. So crazy! It was my only birthday on the mission, and it was a pretty good one! Thank you to all who sent me messages, posts, and cards. It made me feel absolutely wonderful. :) People couldn't have been kinder to me, so I'm very grateful. 
The day before my birthday, we had District meeting. It was a dang good one too! We learned about being able to recognize the spirit, and how we can help teach others how to recognize it as well. Very powerful meeting. Our district is pretty cool if I do say so myself. After the meeting, we all decided to just stay and eat lunch there at the mission office, so as we were all pulling out lunches out, my District Leader, Elder Rankin, pulled out a red velvet cake from out of nowhere and had us all go outside to light the candles and sin happy birthday to me and Sister Hutchison (her birthday was on Sunday). It was so sweet of him! I didn't think they even knew about our birthdays, so it was a pleasant surprise. 
Isn't that nice? I sure thought so. On my actual birthday, we ate dinner with the Bristow's, then went over to Erica's (and they had presents for me! It was so sweet), then came home to find a cute package from home and a present left at the house from a family at lives in Camas but used to be in my homeward in Pleasant Grove? It was the nicest surprise! 
Over all, I had an absolutely phenomenal birthday. It felt very special because of all the people who showed me love and expressed their appreciation for me. So thank you to all! :) On Thursday, we had kind of a fun experience... Haha. A lady had called me and Sister Borchardt a few months ago and asked us if we could come sing Christmas carols to her residents. She works at an assisted living home, and I guess the missionaries came and sang at their Christmas party last year, and they liked us so they wanted us to come sing again! We thought it would be a wonderful way to do some Christmas service, so we invited the whole zone to come along and carol. When we showed up originally, there was just us two and four elders.  We have a zone of 26 missionaries, so we were disappointed and worried we wouldn't be able to be heard in front of all the residents of this home. When we got inside however, there were only 4 people there at the party... It was so awkward. But we got singing anyway! Over time, all 26 of us showed up and sang to those 4 people. I can not express how terribly awkward it was for all of us. They dished up some food and were eating while chatting amongst themselves, every once in a while looking over at us and listening to our "choir." Oh man, it was hilarious. Definitely one of those stories to tell my children when they ask for mission stories. It was dang funny. 

On Saturday, we went on exchanges. I went to Salmon Creek with Sister Fitt, while Sister Borchardt stayed here with Sister Schmoekel. It was a good exchange! We had a good time learning together, and we had one lesson in particular that was notable. We were tracting, and the 8th person we talked to invited us in to discuss our beliefs. We thought it would be a new investigator for sure, but he and his wife were only interested in converting us while still learning everything they could about our religion. He said that he had studied Mormonism thoroughly and he had found many "inconsistencies" between the Bible and he Book of Mormon, but he had never read the Book of Mormon, and he reads a different version of the Bible. All in all, it was a very interesting lesson, and they want to know more so we are exchanging again on Tuesday so we can both teach them. That will probably be the only time we go back, but we sure learned a lot about other people's beliefs. It definitely made me even more grateful that we have the complete truth. Being able to know that God is our Heavenly Father and always has been, that He has a body and is separate from Christ and the Holy Ghost, and that God still speaks to us today is such a blessing! I would feel... Incomplete if I didn't believe in those things. I mean, why would God only choose to talk to His children during biblical times? He loves ALL of us, so of course He communicates with us today! I'm just very grateful to have that knowledge and to have a close relationship with Him and with Christ. :) 

Yesterday, we had the Christmas program at church. A few days ago, a member of the bishopric called and asked if I would be in charge of the music, so I said yes and he gave me the program. I guess when he said music, he meant THE WHOLE PROGRAM. I had to call and make sure someone was willing to play the piano, someone was narrating, the primary kids were singing, etc. I thought I was going to die. We didn't have the music for one of the songs, so Sister Borchardt and I sang a primary song accapella instead. That was scary. The good news is, the whole program went pretty smoothly. At the end of it, another member of the bishopric got up and shared a thought he had as the program was going on that I thought was kind of cool. Christ was born in very humble circumstances: a manger of hay in a stable where the shepherds brought their flocks to eat. Christ is often referred to as "the bread of life," so how tender that He was born in a place where people came to be spiritually filled, uplifted and edified. Christ loves His flocks, and so do we: our friends, our family, our neighbors, and anyone we talk to is considered His flock. We should be doing all we can to bring each other unto Christ, to partake of the bread of life, and be made whole. I love this Christmas season, and I am so grateful to know my Savior, Jesus Christ, personally, and I'm even more grateful for all He has done for me. I love my Savior, and I love that everyone else is remembering Him at this special time of year! I can't wait to talk to the Fam Bam on Christmas! Only 3 more days!!! Agh! I love you! Have a very Merry Christmas! 

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott 

P.S. More pictures. :)
"Christmas pajamas!  Thanks Mom!"
"It's name is Nagini!"
"Comp unity. :)"
"Pecan Tartlets . . . Mmmmm . . ."
"The wild rabbit that we were afraid was going to attack us like Monte Python . . . "

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