Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I just LOVE the Christmas season! It is by far the best time to be a
missionary. It's really incredible and humbling to be able to see the
way that people's hearts change this time of year. It seems a little
odd at first, but it happens because everyone tends to think a little
bit more about Jesus Christ and, as we hear every week at church, when
we "always remember him we will have his spirit to be with us." As we
think of Jesus Christ we can't help but be happier! We can't help but
feel joy! :) These lives, and ESPECIALLY the Christmas season, are
meant for us to have joy. :) So the moral of the story is, use your
free moments to think of the Savior and you'll be happier! :)

We were able to see a lot of Christmas miracles this week. Because of
the #ASaviorIsBorn initiative we've been receiving a lot of referrals,
meaning people have seen the video or the website and have requested
items or visits from the missionaries, and us going to see one is the
first miracle I want to share. We set up an appointment with a man who
asked for a bible. When we came he wasn't there. At first I was a
little bit sad but the thought came to mind to ask them if they wanted
to watch our video, and they invited us in! Both women there had met
missionaries before but they had never met sisters before, which made
them excited! It was also an African American family so it was like I
was back in Philly right in my element. The words came easy as we
talked with them. Soon they called all of their kids downstairs and we
had about ten kids sitting at our feet as we shared the video. They
loved it and invited us back! As I talked with these women I couldn't
help but smile just because of the honest love I already was feeling
for them. As I was giving them a Book of Mormon and telling them about
what we do as missionaries one of the women stopped me and said
"you're doing Christ's work. You have a light , I can see it in your
face." She accepted the Book of Mormon and asked us to come back! It
was one of the sweetest moments I've had in a while and it really
taught me that I have every reason in the world to be happy! I'm
standing in the place of Jesus Christ, spreading his gospel to those
who haven't heard it yet. And we don't need a name tag to have that
light with us. Matthew 5:16 says "Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify you Father which is in
heaven." We all have a light that we can share with those around us!

Basically this entire year I've had a theme of studying light. And
I've really learned a lot and was so thrilled when that was the focus
of Elder Bednar's Christmas address, he really helped me click some
pieces together of things which I've been learning. Jesus Christ truly
is the light of the world. In Helaman and 3 Nephi 1 we learn that the
signs of his birth were "a day and a night and a day, as if it were
one day and there were no light" and "a new star shall arise." As I
studied it really hit me that these signs are both different forms of
light because Jesus Christ literally brought light into the world.
Likewise, in 3 Nephi 8:20-23, when Christ died there were three days
and three nights of complete and utter darkness. Between the time of
Christ's death and the resurrection light was missing because Christ
was gone. Jesus Christ literally brings light into our lives. He is
the light.

This week I got to go to Gospel Doctrine and it went right along with
this light theme. We were learning about the first part of the book of
Revelations. In the first chapter John writes about candlesticks. Our
discussion led to the finalized thought that Jesus Christ is that
light. He is the Light and the Life of the world. We, as his
followers, are the candlestick. We bring the light of Christ to those
who are struggling to find it themselves. Last night we were able to
witness this ourselves. The youth had a caroling activity and they let
us tag along for part of it and we visited some of the people we work
with. I have never seen so many hearts touched in such a short period
of time. Each time we went to a door and sang I thought about the
challenges that these people were going through. Their heartaches,
their feelings of inadequacy or the feelings of being forgotten. And I
watched as tears came to their eyes because this group of youth was
standing in the Savior's place. They were showing these lost sheep
that they are not forgotten. We have so many opportunities to serve
those around us. And as these youth taught me last night, it doesn't
have to be fancy, it doesn't have to take a lot of time, you don't
even have to sing on key! It's the simple acts of kindness that just
show that we are thinking of our fellow men that mean the most.

Sorry this was a little bit longer this week. My heart has just been
so full of the Christmas spirit that's been in the air! I hope you are
all having a wonderful holiday and that Heavenly Father is leading you
to those whose hearts you can touch this year.

I love you all! Merry Christmas!!

Sister Rachel Petrick

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