December 16, 2013 by sisterrachelknecht
Dearest family and friends,
This past week has to have been one of the busiest, craziest weeks of my mission. I think being in this new area just always feels busier because we cover the ward and the branch, and we live 30 minutes away from the church building. But, we had a lot going on. Exchanges with some of the sisters in the zone, Christmas zone conference, White House Ward Christmas party, service in the Bishop’s Storehouse, moving a family, and then we went to the Messiah last night. It was a very full week.
I think I’m going to go ahead and bullet point what happened this past week:
•Bishop’s storehouse and dinner at Sister Durham’s. I love her. She’s such a strong, inspirational woman.
•Lesson with Uribel and her family. We watched The Restoration. Oh, how I love it. Seriously, that movie makes me feel like Christmas. Warm and fuzzy inside. They are such a sweet family, and I can’t wait to go back and follow up with them. They seem so much more open to meeting with us than they were previously.
•We found a sweet young woman from Columbia just randomly knocking. She’s so pretty. I think everyone from Columbia is pretty though. I remember there were a few students that went to the ELC that were from Columbia, and they were gorgeous. She didn’t have time but asked for some reading materials right then and there! So we’re planning on going back next week.
•And just getting some friendly wreath-adorned doors slammed in our faces. Yes, it really does happen.
•Exchanges with Sister Boyle in Bowling Green. She actually knows Kiely Edmonds. Crazy, huh? Well, she was so sweet. I had a great time, and I seriously love going on exchanges and getting to know the other sisters. We’re actually getting another set of sisters in Lebanon (they’re white-washing the other Elders there) so that gives me two opportunities to go back to Lebanon! Yay!! Also, I’m very excited to get to know the new sisters. Seriously, it’s like half sisters, half Elders in our zone. Maybe not quite yet, but we’re getting there.
•Christmas zone conference. It was great. I love President and Sister Andersen so much. They’re just so humble and genuine, and you can tell they love each of us personally.
•White House ward Christmas party. It was a success! The ward is so missionary minded, I feel so blessed to be serving in it.
I know that there’s more that happened, I’m just having a hard time remembering it. Weeks go by so fast. I can’t believe that Christmas is NEXT WEEK. I feel so blessed, our apartment is adorable and all ready for Christmas, thanks to my mom and the members of the ward. My mom sent me this cute little gingerbread man decoration that we put up every single year, I started tearing up when I opened the package and saw it. It’s hanging on our door so I can see it everyday. I love Christmas.
During our Christmas zone conference, Sister Andersen gave a training about receiving, and specifically, the Holy Ghost. She quoted a General Authority who described the Spirit like a rainshower. We are constantly showered by the Spirit, if we are trying to live worthy of it, we may just not recognize it. And, we can tell when the Spirit leaves us, because it was with us so constantly and abundantly before. I love that. I feel showered by blessings and Heavenly Father’s love, but sometimes, I feel like I’m holding an umbrella over my head. I’m not receiving them, or at least recognizing them. I’m letting them bounce off of my umbrella of pride, selfishness, lack of confidence, etc. This is a rainshower that I want to get caught in, not put an umbrella over my head.
Brother Morgan, who is the LDS family services counselor in the Nashville area, and who is also our ward mission leader, gave a great training, and here’s a quote that I love from it: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women—all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over all and every one of them, when their refuge of lies shall fail, and their hiding place shall be destroyed, while these smooth-polished stones with which I come in contact become marred” -Joseph Smith
So I’m not sure how it all applies to me, but what I do love is this image. Opposition is necessary; it is what smoothes us and shapes us. Rolling down, accelerated force. What a great use of language. So many times, we think that life should be easy, and therefore, we’re doing something wrong because our life isn’t easy. Life is full of opposition, that’s the test.
We also watched The Nativity video during the conference. Oh I cried. It was so beautiful. Please watch as part of my email:
I want to write more about Christmas, but I think I’ll save it for next week. I love the Savior, and I think of the wonder of His birth, and I am in awe. I want to read the account of His birth from Jesus The Christ’s perspective this coming week, and really ponder the reality of what happened so long ago. Amid all the craziness of Christmas, even (or especially) as a missionary, I see the necessity to be still and ponder His birth, life, death, resurrection, and the living reality of Him now. He is the reason I am here, the reason why I follow the missionary schedule, do my best to work with members, why I continue to knock doors when there seems to be nothing else to do, why I pray and study for my investigators, and why I am still here amid discouragement and trials.
I love you all and hope that you can make time to be still and ponder the beauty of His birth, I promise to try and do the same.
Hermana Rachel Knecht