It is true that Christmas on the mission is completely different than any other Christmas I have ever had. It is something I just don´t have words to describe, and has a spirit different than any other Christmas. It was simple, but surely one that I will never forget.
This whole week leading up to Christmas was absolutely incredible. We spend every second trying to help others feel the spirit of Christmas just a little bit more. We prepared a message about the "light of Christ" Based off of Elder Bednar´s talk at the Christmas devotional for our members, and were able to have Family Home Evenings almost every single night this week in their houses. I felt like we were literally running all week either trying to prepare things for an activity, or contacting as many people as we could. We made cookies during practically all of our spare time and left them at the doors of all the people in our building withthe "Nasceu O Salvador" attached, which was super fun, and also were able to give them to random people in the street as well. We heart attacked about 15+ people in a matter of days, and overall it was just a super fun week of service and love.
Christmas Eve we had 2 family home evenings with families in the ward, we started at Familia Sousa´s house and then went to Familia Bernardo´s house for dinner and the rest of the night. We ate a super Traditional meal of Bacalhau with vegetables and wayyyy to many doces. I was honestly loving every minute of embracing the traditions of Portugal. They are amazing!
That night sister Lacey and I tried and failed to make a fire in our fire place, so instead we just brought the heater into our living room and camped out by our Christmas tree. :) I have to say that I think we probably had the cutest decorated tree in all the mission. #spoiled.
Christmas morning we woke up and were able to open up presents. And let me just say that I am way to blessed. I can´t even begin to describe how much love I felt from all of my family and friends. You guys are incredible.
As Sister Lacey and I knelt down to start our companionship prayer that morning, I offered the first prayer and I honestly felt like my whole body just got hit by a wave of love and gratitude. I almost couldn´t get through the prayer because of the tears streaming down my face. It was probably one of the most special moments of Christmas for me. I really could not deny all of my many blessing, and the amazing opportunity it is to be serving at this time. We got up from the prayer and started stating our missionary purpose as well as the young women´s theme.
"Somos Filhas do Pai Celestial que nos ama e nos o amamos." I know this without a doubt to be true. I felt it more powerfully then ever before. God loves each and every one of us. this is by far my favorite point to teach people. It is so simple, and I know that I have already mentioned this in my emails, but It is true. He loves us so much, and this is why we have a Savior. This is why he was born. "For unto YOU was born this day." We have a Savior, and he is so individual, and so merciful, and so perfect. I am so grateful for the Love of my Heavenly Father because without this love I would not have someone to lift me when I am weak and be my light in the darkness. Because of him we can truly hope for a better world, and a place at the right hand of God.
We actually had weekly planning until lunch Christmas day, so we just stayed in the house and then went over to Familia Sousa´s house for lunch. It ate an amazing lunch and then of course I was able to skype my incredible family! Wow. You guys are seriously the greatest!!! I loved talked to you, and I miss you so much, but I know without a doubt that you are all in the hands of God, and I don´t have to worry about you.
After skyping, we actually took the bus to Pinhal Novo to visit a family in the ward that had lost a daughter in the family the day before. It was very humbling to sit and mourn with them that night as most other people would be enjoying the company of their families, but at the same time it was amazing to bear solid testimony that through the plan of happiness that God provided for us through his son, that they would see their daughter again.
Overall this Christmas week was absolutely incredible. I am so blessed. That is really all I can say. And as a gift to our savior and redeemer, I wanted to challenge each of you to read the Book of Mormon from start to finish from now until the first week in August when I get home. I know that this will truly bring the spirit in greater abundance in each of your lives, and you really will feel the love of the Savior more. I am excited to start this new year and experience all of the things that the Lord has in store for me!
Amo Vocês de mais!!!!!! Obrigada por TUDO. Boas festas e um bom ano para todos vocês!
Paz e Bênçãos!
Some Traditional Christmas Food For you! Bacalhau e bolo rei
I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY! Just trying to spread the message to everyone and their goats :)
Noite famíliar com família setas! Claire is basically my BFF and hair dresser