Talking to Brynn Christmas Day - 1st at the hospital where Haley was working and then Skyping that evening
(Brynn drew this for Christmas)
Tree you sent! Love it! (we made ornaments w/ our faces on/in them)
Me with Brianna, Evee and her baby. We met up at this sick coffee shop like I basically want to live in. (not like you even know who these people are... returning less actives. Bre is how we met Tyler, our most progressing investigator)
We love Christmas the most (competition w the Elders - Obviously the sisters won)
Super embarrassing nativity pictures. Don't send these out! Lol! Creeeepy Joseph :) (Right Brynn. I won't sent these out :))
And, angry about star wars :)
Brynnington! Basically my favorite place to work ever.
Also, we made homemade potstickers on Saturday night since we couldn't do it Christmas eve. Keeping the tradition. They were super easy!
Me with my favorite lady at the nursing home. Doris. 60 degree weather on Christmas eve!
Came home after a super rough night of walking in the rain and saw that our ward mission leader, Brother Murphy and his family had wrapped our door and left us encouraging notes!!! SO cute! Sister Saunders started crying.
First off, I just want to thank the fetch out of all of my beautiful family for your love and SUPPORT! Your emails today have been stellar. Yes, I cried. I suuuuure love ya!
So, Christmas was great. You'll probably have to steal things from Sister Saunders email again this week cuz I'm out of time! But the work is actually extremely slow right now. I have complete faith that it will pick up after the holidays! We're working our butts off and we're currently OUT of miles so we're walking just about everywhere and getting rides to Fulton lol. Sad news, Ben is in JAIL :( agency, man. He needs to work on how to use it better. We're working on finding people who will make it past the point of the Word of Wisdom lesson. Pretty much everyone avoids us after that. We need to find people who aren't on drugs or selling them. That would be nice.
But the Lord saw our struggles from this week and truly blessed us last night! We serve at the soup kitchen at the Salvation Army once a week and we've found a lot of new investigators from it. A couple weeks ago, there was a new volunteer named Robert. We talked to him a lot. He knows a lot about religion and asked us questions about our church. We talked about the history of Oswego and how we love the old homes here. He said he just moved into one of the beautiful, huge old homes this year. He told us to "work the street" he lives on so we could see some of the houses. We hoped to "accidentally" run into his home, of course :) We talked to him a little more about our missionary service and answered his questions about prophets. Last night, it was late and some appointments fell through. As a back up to our back up, we decided to try tracting what we thought may be Robert's street. It was cold and late and we were having no success in this extremely wealthy part of town. I suggested to Sister Saunders that we try somewhere else and just ask Robert on Wednesday what his exact address was. It was cold and everyone's rich and mean and they're all in Florida for the winter anyways. I was just being such a butthead! But Sister Saunders said, "Let's just try that house with the Christmas lights and then we can be done." I was sure that it wasn't him because he told me he hadn't put up any decorations for Christmas, but I thought maybe Sister Saunders could feel something from the Spirit that I couldn't. As we walked up to the door, we saw a man through the window that looked like Robert! We were so so excited, but as we waited for someone to answer the door, we only heard what we thought was someone looking through the peephole and locking the door. People often do that. We were so sad, but as we went to "card them", I realized we had just used our last card with our number already written on it. We stood there for a quite a few minutes finding a card and writing on it. As we did, the door quickly opened. It was Robert! He was so happy to see us and invited us right in to meet his family and eat dinner with them. He told us his daughter looked through the door and told him it was just two people. He ignored it, but after a few minutes he felt that he should ask if it was two young women who were there. She said yes and he quickly came to see if we were still there! If we still had a card ready, we would have definitely been gone by that time! We had an amazing time with them. He practically taught US about the Restoration from what he's read and he understood it perfectly. We left them with the Book of Mormon. His college-aged daughter really loves us and already knows lots about Mormons from a youtube channel she watches. So cool! It was such a miracle that really helped Sister Saunders last night to know that she IS a wonderful missionary that the Lord does work through! If it wasn't for her, we would not have found Robert last night! I hope she can fully recognize that. I realized I often admire and am just amazed by things she does, but I don't vocalize it. I definitely have started doing more.
(Stolen from companions email)
We also had a strange experience. We were out street contacting on Saturday when this guy, John, came up to us and said "Mormon missionaries! I just love Mormon missionaries." I got super excited when he said that, so of course we started talking. Then he started listing all of the sisters he had met with over the course of 10 years. There were a LOT and he remembered all of their names. At this point, Sister Hallsted and I were a little bit concerned. Nevertheless, we are missionaries and if someone talks to us we'll try to teach them, so we asked if we could get his address and come by sometime. He said that we'd have to talk to Brother Rowley- a ward member- first and if he said it was okay, then to come by. (Brother Rowley had been the bishop when John first started meeting with missionaries). That was when Sister Hallsted and I got super creeped out. He asked if we would pray with him before he continued walking, and we agreed, but he said that the sisters in the past would always "share" prayers with him. One sister would start the prayer, the next sister would say the middle of the prayer, and then he would close the prayer. We didn't know what to do so we just prayed with him like that and then walked away. We're having dinner at the Rowley's house tonight, so we'll be sure to ask them about John. Regardless of what they say, both of us just got a strange feeling when we were around him and we don't think we'll be teaching him anytime soon. We'll be safe. We have the Spirit to be with us. :)
On Christmas Eve we went to the home of a member family from Puerto Rico! It wasn't traditional Christmas Eve dinner, but it was delicious. :) After that we played some games and sang some Christmas carols and then we had to go home. Sister Hallsted and I wanted to bring in the full spirit of Christmas, though, so we decided to have a nativity. Just us. Hopefully I can send a picture! We were DYING of laughter the whole time. It was absolutely hilarious! The nativity was wonderful, though. We also read Luke 2 together, and it really helped it feel like home. The next morning before we opened our presents, Sister Hallsted said she felt like we should say a prayer first, so we did. Has anybody ever prayed before opening their gifts? I thought not. But we did! I bet that Heavenly Father was just shaking his head and laughing. He's got to love us. :)
Earlier this week we also found this incredible lady named Patty! We had knocked on her door a couple of weeks ago and she told us to come back, so we did. It was amazing! We walked in and both Sister Hallsted and I felt the Spirit so strongly. She LOVES her cat, and it recently died, so she's been going through a really rough time. She actually said during the lesson that she's been praying a lot and thought that maybe God had sent us to her in her time of need. We took by some cookies on Christmas and she said that she's been reading the Book of Mormon and wants to know more! We were so excited! We're seeing her tonight and we're super excited. She really wants to learn. We're teaching her about the Plan of Salvation, because her dad passed away a couple of years ago and we think she'll just love that. Can you imagine how that would feel? Imagine that you didn't know you could be with your family for eternity and then a close family member passes away. You would be devastated! And now she gets to learn that families can be together forever. Oh, I'm so excited to teach her!
Basically, being a missionary is the best and Oswego is going to see miracles in this new year! I know it :)
Well, I love you all. It was so great to talk to you on Christmas!
Sister Brynnie Hallsted