This week was crazy fun!! Service, service, service. I couldn't be happier!
It started off super good. We met up with the elders in Freeport and then drove to Pittsburgh for pday. We did some Christmas shopping in the strip district and it was super fun. Then we got to walk all over downtown Pittsburgh and take the T to meet up with some other missionaries at the point where we played ultimate frisbee in the pouring rain - which seemed like a super fun idea at the time, and then when Wads and I spent the whole week being really sick it stopped sounding like such a good idea. But in the moment it was super great.
I'm gonna be honest... I'm like super trunky right now and have about zero motivation to write this email.
Anyway so the service for the week started. Every month we do this thing called "Produce to people" where this organization donates all these fruits and vegetables to homeless and low income people. This month they donated enough for over 450 families to get produce!! It was amazing. So we help package the produce and this month they had us out handing out tickets. So what we do is we walk around with these clip boards and then the people get a ticket with a little number on it and then they show the ticket so they can get the produce. So we got to be out in the freezing cold, talking to people, laughing and handing out "A Savior is Born" pass along cards. It was so much fun. Everyone was super nice and talking and laughing with us. It warmed my little heart. Then, while we were passing out the produce, I started singing Christmas carols and making everyone laugh, and Santa even came (but he was wearing a leather vest, so I think he was feeling a little bit daring) and I think Rudolph even showed up so that was awesome! We didn't snag any pictures though, dangit!
But it was fun.
Then it was really fun, we went out to the pizza hut buffet after caroling with our district and we ate our lives away. We seriously ate so much food it was sad - I don't think those pizza hut people knew what was coming. It was great.
Then our last service project was at Katie's - it was my last Katie's ever, so I was super sad saying goodbye to people and stuff. Loretta got me a "Somebody loves you in Butler, PA" teddy bear and a Butler tshirt to say goodbye and said, "don't you forget about us!" I had to say goodbye to all of the cool people that I've grown to love to much. It was awful, goodbyes are the worst.
But the service was awesome. TONS of people showed up to volunteer, since it was the Christmas dinner and giveaway. They did this awesome thing where a bunch of people donated like simple toiletries and food stuffs and put them in these big bags, and we were able to give them to all of the people that came in which was amazing. So that was the Christmas present that Katie's gave to everyone.
Oh, Santa came to Katie's too!! It was awesome.
We got to run food, which is my favorite. You wait for the people to come in that can't even walk through the line to serve themselves, whether because they're handicapped or have little kids or whatever, and then you serve them their food and you get to sit and talk to them. I love it.
There were tons of amazing things that happened this week, we saw so many miracles, we were able to work well with the members. We are being truly blessed.
Along with the blessings there has been some major opposition this week. I have been struggling quite a bit, Satan is really hitting me hard - trying to make me feel like I'm a failure as a missionary, trying to make me believe that I will never succeed at anything, that I should give up, that I'm going to keep failing when I get home. Those are lies. The truth is, there will always be times in our lives where we "fall short". We will all perform below our personal average some of the time. But this is no cause for alarm. "When men come unto me, I will show them their weakness." When we are working to become like the Savior, our weaknesses and faults can sometimes be blinding and really disheartening! But we are going to be okay. The Lord is going to help us and our strengths are going to overcome our weaknesses. I know that when things get too heavy for us to carry, the Lord is right there willing to take the load, all we have to do is ask him. He will take it for us, and he will strengthen us. He will never ask us to go through something we cannot handle. I know that, even when things seem hard.
I am so grateful for the Savior, and as we celebrate his birth this week, I encourage each of you to think of the things that would be different in your life if Christ had never been born, and then spend some time on your knees thanking the Lord for all of the blessings that come because He sent his son to the earth for us.
We have been given so much. Don't forget to give back.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
I love you.
Read this talk if you're looking for some Christmas cheer :)