It's good to hear from you all! I should have a birthday every week! ;) It was really so nice to hear from all of you. Before I forget, KIKI is ENGAGED?!?! Wow. I so called it ;) I am seriously freaking out! So happy for her! Soooooo who is the lucky guy?
Grandma Johnson sent me a cute polka-dot skirt. Tell her it fits so great and I love it! Thank you for my CD! New music is always the best. We are kinda getting sick of listening to David Archuleta's Christmas cd... over and over... haha or Motab. ALSO... I got a sweet note from Jeanie. Will you tell her thanks for me and that I love her? Also, Nana and Grandma Diss. Tell them I love them. :)
We are so spoiled being at a visitor center. I got a big huge cake from some of the seniors. I hate food right now. haha. We also went out to eat on my birthday with this cute old couple (Grandma and Grandpa Berryhill). They brought us fried tortilla chips for dessert for my birthday. It rains all the time here, but it was raining on my birthday, so we tracked in the rain. That was cool and then we had a couple appointments... oh! We went to a nursing home as well and sang with the cute old people and me and sister Spong sang hymns and then I just sat and played hymns on the piano while they ate and Sister Spong visited with them. It was so great :) They kept thanking us and said they can't wait until we come back again. Hope that answers all your questions on the birthday subject.
I also saw a horse and buggy just going down the street. The Amish are really here! So when you all come out here, you have to go see the Amish.
Yesterday, we also went on a mini exchange and I got to give a tour with Sister Smith, my MTC companion! It was awesome because in the MTC we had no idea what we were doing and both so lost, but to see the progress made was awesome and I love her so much!
On my birthday we had as a back-up, to stop by a less-active... when we stopped by, there was a man out getting out of his car. So I went up to him and introduced myself. He said he was the son in-law of the less active. Then he said, "I'm Catholic. Are you guys Mormon? Tell me about Joseph Smith. I am so curious." We were like, woah ok yes! So we set up a time to come back and he also said he would come to church the next day. He did and he loved it. We went to go visit him later and he just tried asking soooo many questions. It was a lot at once, so... I stopped him and asked if we could start with a prayer and then start with the very beginning. We did, and the lesson went so great. It was so amazing... I have never been so attentive to someone before. I could feel and see the spirit working through both of us. The spirit was so strong and we taught him about the Restoration. He took it all in. I asked him how he came to know that the bible was the word of God and then he completely opened up. He didn't believe in God before and when you don't believe in God and when you have no purpose in life, it's easy to get depressed. He said he shot himself a while back. Then I looked closer at his face and could see the scars going from his chin, to the top of his lip, to his forehead. He said while he was in a mini coma, he had a vision.... he compared it to Joseph Smith and said he saw personages as well. He said that ever since then, he has read the bible and has hundreds of religious books, trying to find something that is missing because he felt like there was more. He asked us some very interesting questions... one of the questions was, why do I believe what I believe?
How does knowing about the Book of Mormon and the message in contains, help me in my everyday life, help me want to be better and help me get up every morning? Because I know these things (from Book Of Mormon), what makes me act differently than if I didn't have that knowledge? How does the Book of Mormon help us to become more like Christ and closer to our Heavenly Father? We really had to think about that... :) Those are deep questions... good to really think about.
This guy Patrick is really so thirsty to know more. We really are so blessed to have the Book of Mormon. Can you imagine not having it? It is the keystone of our religion... if the Book of Mormon isn't true, then there is no Joseph Smith, there is no Priesthood, no prophet today, no Restoration, no Plan of Salvation and everything else that goes with it. The Book of Mormon helps me in my everyday life. I am able to really apply the stories and words that it says in the Book of Mormon to my own life. I am able to feel the spirit while reading it. It changes my desires while reading it and I want to become better.
One more quick thought...
Sister Spong told me a story yesterday. She said that there was this man who was about to be judged. He went into a room with another man who was going to interview him. The man said, "What do you know about Christ?" The man getting interviewed said, "well I know that he died for us, I know he performed miracles and taught us exactly what we need to do to return to live with our Father in Heaven again." He said he read the Bible and knew He was the perfect example. That man left the room and the next man in line came in to be interviewed. T he man who came in the room fell on his knees and said, "oh my Lord, oh my Lord."
The first man knew what He did... but the second man had recognized that it was the Savior. What was the difference? Why do you think he had recognized the Savior and the other one didn't? If the Savior came to us, would we recognize Him? Are we living in a way that He can live within us? It reminded me of Alma , it says...
I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
If we live in a way and allow our Father in Heaven and Christ into our hearts, we will be able to have the image and countenance. They will be familiar to us. So how can we become even closer to our father in Heaven and to our Savior?
I have to run, but I hope you have a great week! I love you so much and I'm grateful for all of you.
Be happy, Be safe, Be strong, Be Pure.
“Choose your love, and love your choice.” Thomas S. Monson