Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Week

It has been a fun week!

Tuesday for district meeting Elder Simmonds and I talked about our callings as missionaries and our responsibility and right to be led by the spirit.  Hopefully it was good.

I then went to Lowville on exchange with Elder Lamborn (from my MTC district).  It is a small area in the woods, with only about 20 active people.  I find myself thankful for a ward!

Friday we had Return & Report.  We drove down to Utica (after having breakfast at this wonderful local diner), only a little bit of snow on the way.  Had a great experience with the training we received.  Elder Simmonds is a great missionary, with lots of faith.  Sister Cox, a sister missionary in my MTC district goes home this week.  She is done.  It is crazy to think that.  Elder Call (my trainer) goes home as well.  I feel like I don't know many of the missionaries now!

After Return & Report, we came back to Carthage for our Ward Christmas party.  It was huge!  People had assigned seating.  We had about 200 people there.  The YSA were supposed to serve the food (everyone placed an order on a sheet of paper), but many of them left!  So we spent about an hour and a half serving tables their food (what a mess!).  But the food was good (turkey, ham, potatoes, bread, salad) and had a fun nativity that the primary did.

Luetta's baptism went well.  Both Elder Simmonds and I were in the water to help her.  I performed the ordinance, and Elder Simmonds helped in support.  She has a hard time with stairs and they make the font stairs so steep.  We had her sit on a chair in the font then helped her lean back.  (Luckily we only had to do it once!)  She is such a strong lady.  She had her friend in the church give the talk on baptism, and had Austin, a 19-year-old kid who has been helping us teach her, gave the talk on the Holy Ghost.  We had about 40 people there, and it was a good experience.  The spirit was strong!

Sunday she was confirmed by Elder Simmonds.  She was shaking the whole day, and only had enough strength to get to the chair and back.

Timothy was ordained a Priest today by Brother Fetters (1st councilor in the bishopric and co-worker in the army).  YAY!

We had Lorena (apparently I have been spelling it wrong.  It is NOT Lorina) came to church with Brother DaFrank (fiance).  I'm glad they keep coming. 

Transfer calls were Saturday.  Carthage and Watertown are staying the same.  But Lowville is going to be closed.  We have 11 missionaries coming in this transfer, and 12 the next, so I'm guessing it will be opened next transfer.  Elder Christensen (MTC companion), who has been my Zone leader, is now the new AP.  His companion is his trainer, Elder Miller.  He will do great!  Elder Stanton (my last companion) was called to be a Zone Leader and replaced Elder Christensen in Rome.

This week will be interesting (21st, the darkest day of the year) and right before Christmas, and we don't have anyone else with a baptismal date.  Christmas should be good.  We have some awesome members who are feeding us, and hopefully we don't find ourselves tracting on Christmas. I remember last Christmas Eve, we were pulled over by a cop, just as we were leaving an area (in our 12 passenger van), because people thought we were casing the houses!  Good times, that I do not want to repeat.

Thank you everyone for your cards, and packages.  I am always overwhelmed by my many blessings in life.  For my family and friends.  For the gospel, the opportunity and ability to serve.  But, especially for the gift of the atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts.  The only [true] gift is a portion of thyself.”  May we strive to follow Jesus Christ who did not just give 'a portion' of himself, but his whole-self.

Have a great Christmas!

Elder Shurtz