On Christmas Day I was ready by the phone. I thought Lauren would be calling in at 10:30 our time but it turned out she meant 10:30 her time. So when she finally did call she said she was going to have breakfast with the family she was visiting and then she would call us back. So, around 12:30 she finally called in. It took us 20 minutes to get the Google hangout up and running because Lauren forgot to bring her instructions and she didn't remember her account number. But after a little while we were all online together for about 40 minutes and it was GREAT!
Monday, December 29, 2014
It was great seeing you too! Yeah it was like I never left ya'll. By the way I met someone the other night at the VC from Alabama. I told him you are from Birmingham (right??) and he said he lives 30 minutes from there. And then I started speaking in a Southern accent to him haha.
Anyways, yes I loved the boxes you sent!! Thank you so much! They went to the mission home so I got them from there. There was like 50 billion boxes the week of Christmas for all the missionaries. Okay maybe not that many. But a lot. I love the scarves and the tops you got me! I actually was wanting a black sweater/cardigan and really wanted another plain top, so it was like you read my mind. :) And I really wanted scarves just like the ones you got me! So 10 points for you! The only thing I can't wear is the animal print scarf because we're not allowed to wear animal print. :( But, I love everything else! And grandma's clothes are really cute too! I'll send back anything that I can't wear/doesn't fit well. As for the pj's, yes I like them! I wore them when I was sick so I called them my sick pj's. And I mainly wanted my stripped footie pjs sent to me so that Sister Orantes and I could wear our footie pjs together hehe :) I didn't want to buy new ones because they are expensive. It kept me warm as well though!
The whole past month has just been a wonderful experience overall at the Visitors' Center. I had a lot of sweet experiences talking with people, getting to know them and doing my best to help them in whatever way I could during the short time we had together. I was able to bear my testimony a lot and teach from the Book of Mormon, which was a huge blessing. I really am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the power it has. Christmas time has been very special and I was lucky to have spent it at the Visitors' Center!!
Here are some pictures from the past week from Lauren!
All the presents!
Sister Braithwaite and Sister Hueffner our roommates!
The Visitor's Center Christmas Dinner for the missionaries!
The family we visited on Christmas Day!
Sister Orantes LOVES the Christmas socks you gave her!
DEAR READERS - A BONUS PICTURE FOR YOU IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR ...
WHO IS THIS HANDSOME ARIZONA SANTA?
Sunday, December 21, 2014
FUN AND FRIENDS WILL MAKE IT
Yeah for the Meyers! We love it when they visit the temple!
Lauren with Jaimi Meyers last week.
Brother and Sister Hatch at the Oakland Temple!! They visited this week!
And look who was waiting at the door of the Visitor's Center to greet them!
White Elephant Gifts for the Zone Conference party!
She said the foot massager is in the package with the yellow bow and everyone was trading for it!
Hey! She didn't tell us what she got!
You can tell some of those packages were "wrapped" by Elders!
Sister Orantes and Sister Johnson
They look like they are having lots of fun!
The Christmas Tree that Steve Johnson decorated BY HIMSELF!
There is a first time for everything.
Hahaha the tree looks.......interesting! Hahaha just kidding, tell Dad I'm proud of him too and that it looks great! Just maybe consider taking some of the ribbon off... hehe :-) And I did get the big poster from the ward! I forgot to thank him! So thank you Daddio, it was so nice and everyone was so sweet to do that!! And I'm happy for Brad that he's almost done with school. Hallelujah!
Yes it was good to see the Meyer's again! They also brought me some peppermint bark that I haven't devoured yet but will soon! :-)
It was raining a lot at the beginning of the week so it was slow in the VC, but the last few nights really picked up! I think it will stay pretty busy from now on too since Christmas is approaching us. By the way, have you watched He is the Gift yet? You probably have. Just reminding you if you haven't! And we got those red scarves from Salt Lake. They want us to wear them when we're at the front door and on outside tour for Christmas but we have also been wearing them in the Visitor's Center to match. :) And that picture is from us practicing our Christmas program! We are singing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the Visitor's Center. Did I tell you I'm playing flute for some of the songs? :) The songs this year are really simple and easy because we didn't have much time to put something together, but it is going to be fun. :) So that's one of the cool bonuses about being a VC sister is you get to do a Christmas program!
This past week we also had our Christmas Zone conference! Sister Orantes and I gave a training and it went really well (thank heavens) and we had a really nice Christmas lunch provided by the Oakland Stake and then a white elephant gift exchange in each zone! (There were 3 zones at our conference.) The gift I brought was a foot massage machine that has been in our apartment for a long time. When I first got there we gave a lot of stuff away and I wanted to give it away because it was in the way and really dirty but I never got around to it. I'm happy I didn't though because it was the perfect white elephant gift! So I cleaned it all up and wrapped it (never tested it to see if it actually worked though...oops :)) and it was a hit! A lot of missionaries wanted it and kept stealing it from people during the exchange. Haha so I was happy about that :) The gift that President and Sister Meredith gave all the missionaries is a temple recommend holder with a picture of the Oakland Temple, the Golden Gate bridge, and a quote and their names signed on the back. It was so nice of them!! So that was a fun day!
Other than that and the VC being a blast with all the sisters, one of our investigator's who is going to get baptized in January continues to blow our minds because of how awesome she is. She visited Washington D.C. over the weekend and before we told her to look up what ward she can go to on Sunday there, she already had! And she had a great experience at church there by herself and also a great experience that she told us about when she visited the temple. I just think it's amazing how the Lord let's miracles happen all the time if we're obedient, seeking and praying for them. :)
Oh yeah! We got transfer calls on Saturday and I am staying in Berkeley with Sister Orantes! Woohoo! We are so happy we get to stay together. There are a lot of other changes though happening in the VC with the sisters (all of them will still be in the visitor's center, they are mostly just getting switched around).
As for calling on Christmas, I will let you know the details next Monday. I do know that it will be in the morning of Christmas day though!
That's all for this week - here are some more pictures! Love you!!!
Saturday, December 13, 2014
THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS IN FULL PROGRESS
LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!!
Picture sent to Donna from Sis. Crawford who was visiting the Oakland Temple! Lauren took the picture for Sister Crawford and her husband then they took a picture of Lauren with one of the VC Sisters, Sister Martinez. Then Sis. Crawford e-mailed the picture to me!
This was after the YSA fireside with Elder Bednar! We were all red, white and blue with stripes :) In the middle is on of our amazing members, Elisa! (And new companion - Sis. Orantes!)
This is the face she makes when she holds or sees something cute! Hahahaaha!
Decorating the VC! This was Thanksgiving morning!
I'm glad you got that picture! I've had one other missionary parent couple do that but I couldn't remember your email so I put Dad's email address. It might not have been correct though! But this time I had that card with all the emails with me so I got to send it to you this time! Yay!
Yes, things are getting busy now! The Christmas season has officially started. We have a few performances every night - one in the ISC and one at the VC. They have all been really good so far! We have a lot of members and a good amount of non-members too! As far as what we talk to people about - it depends on what station I'm at. If I'm in the front foyer, we don't get to talk as much because they are passing through going to other places, but sometimes if they are sitting down we'll have a good convo. We mainly just try to take the short time we have with people to get to know them a little and do whatever we can to help them feel or at least be interested in the Savior's love for them. It's been awesome to have the "He is the Gift" video because it's so perfect for talking about the Christmas season and how to remember Christ as the real gift of Christmas. I've had other neat conversations - one example is the other night Sister Harmon (another VC sister) and I were on outside tour, and she speaks Spanish so she went over to some members in the parking lot who were drinking hot chocolate. Of course they gave us some (hehe), so after we were walking around drinking hot chocolate and a couple walked up to us and asked us about why we don't drink hot drinks (which was funny since we were drinking hot chocolate haha) so we explained that we don't drink coffee and tea and all that jazz. Even though in the end they weren't interested it still ended up being a great conversation. And yes, it is a huge blessing that we get to talk to so many people! Sometimes it's overwhelming because there are so many, but you just do the best you can with the short time you have with everyone!
Yay, I'm excited for Christmas too!! I was just thinking the other day about using the same thing we did for Mother's Day so I'm glad you thought of that. :) (Lauren is talking about us google chatting on Christmas day!) Can't wait to see everyone!!
Well that's all I have time for today, sorry it was short! Love you all and enjoy your week!!
Lauren understands this...
YEAH CHANDLER HIGH!!!!!
Hello!! Happy Dec. 1st!
Wowzers it sounds like y'all had a fun week!! That's amazing that Chandler won!!! Wooo!! Finally!! :)
This past week was pretty crazy! We had three exchanges, two of them were back to back. But they were all super fun like always! We also started the Christmas schedule this week! We had it Saturday and Sunday, and then it starts again this Friday through the rest of December. Christmas schedule means we're basically in the Visitor's Center all day with no time in our area haha. So we either work from 9 to 1 and come back at 4:30, or start at 1 and then stay for the rest of the night. It is super fun because from 4:30 on all the sisters are together in the VC. We are stationed at certain spots and switch stations every hour. We are never with our own companions either. We have a new comp every hour and are paired with someone who speaks a different language (that doesn't really matter for me though haha, I'm pretty useless when it comes to different languages :-p) So, the first two days went well! On Saturday we celebrated the Christmas lights and there was a performance in the auditorium in the Inter-Stake Center and we also had a performance in the Visitor's Center. So Saturday was realllllly busy! It was exciting though! We've also been showing everyone the short "He is the Gift" video. If you haven't seen it, go to christmas.mormon.org and watch it right now!
Last week we also had Brother Lusvardi, the director of all Visitor's Centers and church historic sites, come and train us! He was awesome!! He really helped us to get pumped for Christmas and really what we want to achieve with the "He is the Gift" initiative. Basically it all comes down to helping everyone that comes to the Visitor's Center feel the love of the Savior and be inspired to discover, embrace and share his love. That is our main goal for this Christmas!
Also! Sister Orantes and I had a super sweet experience yesterday in the VC. It was a slow Sunday afternoon, so we were just quietly sitting and studying. We went up to the front and an older guy with his member friend were at the front, ready for someone to take them around. He was pretty bold and insisted that we show him around and show him what's so great and different about our church. So we showed him the Savior of the World room first and told him everything we believe is centered on Jesus Christ and patterning our lives after him. He asked questions and we took him to the back and showed him the Special Witnesses room, which is all about the prophet and apostles. He then had all these questions about the Book of Mormon, and other stuff. Basically, his heart was pretty hard in the beginning. But Sister Orantes is a spiritual beast and was totally inspired the whole time and threw all of these inspired questions at him. He really opened up to us and his heart softened so much. It was so neat to see!! By the end, he said he was really surprised and wasn't expecting the visit he had. Also, by the end he was really eager to get a Book of Mormon and said he was going to start reading it that night. Point of the story - it takes courage and faith to ask people inspired questions to help them open up and soften their hearts. But once we do, miracles happen!!
Oh yes - Thanksgiving was delicious!!! We went to the home of one of G*****'s parents house, who live in Moraga and are in the Moraga ward, the last ward I served in! :) (G**** is the member in our ward who is dating our investigator T****, who is getting baptized in January!!! She's the cutest and sweetest and most amazing investigator on the planet probably!!!) So we had it there with their family and it was very nice!! They have an amazing family! I only had two plates of food but I was about to die after I was so full haha. So I was well-taken care of for Thanksgiving!
Well that's it for this past week! Love you all!!!
Love, Sister Johnson