Yesterday for Christmas Eve, they went wild and let us sing the twelve days of Christmas, missionary style. Then Jingle bells, then to quiet us down, some other hymn, haha ;)
We watched A Christmas Carol with George Scott, for a present, and they got all 21-2400 of us, white chocolate covered popcorn in giant individual bags! :) It was wonderful and moving and Tiny Tim reminded me of James, so that was heart-wrenching, nbd. We were all in quite a rukus every time they kissed or anything creepy happened, which in that version was quite often! But it was fabulous. And so kind of them to let us do that. We packed for most of the day yesterday, and ate a ton of junk food so that we wouldn't have to pack it, and we could use all the money on our cards ( they allot us 6$ a week for sisters, have I mentioned that?) It was fun, but I accidentally took like a four hour nap after packing all of our lives away, and I had major trouble sleeping. OH! And they did the nativity scene last night with some missionaries and some sing alongs to the story, it was masterfully done, and so homey, even though there are so many of us. One of the shepherds had a stuffed sheep that he was petting the whole time, and the Elder playing Joseph had a reallly funny awkward moment, trying to comfort Mary, without touching her, bahaha. But it brought the spirit, and it felt like we were all in just one giant movie theater at home, together. Then, when we got back, the Sisters in my hall did something really cool and arranged another nativity scene with one Sisters this time, and they read the story in Italian, and then English. It was beautiful, and again, so homey. We were all away from our families, and so there was a different feeling last night, than any other Christmas before.
This morning, we got up like five minutes before we had to leave, but I've taught them my ways and so we were all ready to go by the time we needed to, or a little after. We're also pros at eating really really fast, good for the mission field, maybe, but only if no one talks to us, haha :) We got to the devotional three hours, give/take, before sacrament meeting. There was a music and the spoken word at nine thirty and we showed up at seven thirty. The real reason? Because at ten on the dot, a General Authority was going to show up for sacrament meeting. We were never told who, until he showed up.
We were on the second row, and probably five five or ten feet away from the pulpit, when David A. Bednar showed up.
Nothing else really mattters what's happened today so far, because that was super. Duper.
He said he didn't really care if we remembered what they'd said, but he wanted us to remember what we felt. (He actually took a few minutes and gave us note-taking advice.;)so cool.) He basically said: "The Character of Christ is when we would all turn inward and satisfy the natural man, He turns outward, with love, service, and compassion for all men.
The thing I loved the most, was when he taught us about the Brother of Jared. He said the depiction of the story, was a cool painting, but he thought doctrinally inaccurate. He took us to the story and showed us that faith is believing in things we can't see, and so the finger of God was probably not shown unto the brother of Jared until after the trial of his faith. Is this making any sense? He said it so well, that I know I was riveted. And there is no other feeling like the one of wanting to take copious notes, while at the same time, wanting to take none at all, so that you could just stare at his face.
I imagine that the way I feel when I see Elder Bednar's face, was much like a non-member looking on the countenance of a member. I saw the light in his face. He was different than anyone I'd ever seen before, and he was so happy! Even as stern as he was, saying that we're all the natural man, and cookie monsters, basically: wanting everything we wanted and we wanted it now, you could see the edge of a smile on his face a lot of times when he was rebuking or chastening. Haha I keep wanting to capitalize the pronouns describing him. Haha His talk was rich, and I was sitting there taking it all in.
He talked to us about the true conversion of Christ, and said that in six years, many or a significant number of us would have fallen away from the church. He said all of us have testimonies, but testimonies are knowledge of Christ. "But a testimony is NEVER enough."
Testimony is what you know to be true as has been witnessed to you by the Holy Ghost. Conversion is consistently doing what you know.
that hit me. I rarely do those things I know to be true, and I really do tend to whine and say look at me, my life is hard...a lot. just like he was saying, but I was reading in the scriptures and it said, if ye do one part, ye are guilty every wit. BOO :(
Alma 23: 5-6: knowledge of the Lord, and then later AND were converted unto the Lord. The "and" is essential. If you don't have both, you'll fall away.
He said though, "You won't convert yourself if that's what you're trying to do"
You have to turn outward toward others.
Repent means to turn toward God, and to sin, takes you turning further away from God. "Quit worshipping yourself." he said.
"Get over yourself; it's not about you," he also said. Haha it was straight up. But really, what the heck else is an apostle of of the Lord going to be? NOT straight up?
Another thought: I had a really hard time staying awake for a lot of my personal times (it was rough), but Elder David A. was talking about the apostles waiting with Jesus, just briefly, and it's hit me before, but I think, know, wonder if Jesus and God and the Holy Ghost are ever like, "COME ON, Sister Bothwell! Could you not just wait one hour so that you can get revelation? We'd really like to give it to you, but you keep falling asleep." I know revelation's possible, because I've had it big time, while here, and reading the scriptures, and just like Boom feasting on it, but OH! Haha he also talked about getting a new paperback Book of Mormon and markers and for every question you have about the gospel or whatever, marking up the scriptures with the answer to that question.
The first one I'm going to start with, "Is it possible for me to be more like the Savior?"
I've heard that we have to be, right? And I know that's true, or else we can't honor the Atonement and what Jesus has done for us, nor can we return to live with Him, but I wanna know if it's even possible, or what have you.
He said by the time we get to his age, we should have 4-500 copies in a library, marked up with all the answers and questions that he promised us, that if we did that, and were truly converted, we would never fall away.
And I totally believe that's true. It's not brainwashing by any means or sorts, but it's a reaffirming of the truth, daily. Remembering those close and personal experiences you've had with the Savior.
He said, "'People will get up in Sacrament meeting, and say, my great great great Grandfather crossed the plains with the Willy and Martin handcart company,' and I'll say to myself, 'That's great, but what have you done lately?'"
All the food has been great, today, they really outdid themselves for lunch, but as we did not have a district leader, we almost didn't know we could email home. Good thing we sat across from one, at lunch. Sister O'farrell and a little Sister Arts really had a hard time because we didn't have anyone watching out for us, but honestly, we could've NOT sat by that Elder, just as easily, so really, I think someone was watching out for us, and told them to be quiet about it. Obviously it's not possible for me to be like Christ...just yet.
I love you all so so so so so so much, and even though it's a little hard and scary thinking about tomorrow, the motto I've taken is, "Don't look too far into the future, God's go it in control and it's a little like backseat driving, which no one likes." but mostly, just take it a day at a time; Any more, and it's too scary. ;)
Sister Bednar also spoke and it was wonderful :)
I really hope today was special, and remember, missionaries are happy all the time and anybody can be that. Just keep the Savior in mind all the time.
I am so grateful for the way I was raised, the opportunities I've had throughout my life, and the love I feel from all of you and I know that was all possible because of the Savior.
Everyone is put in the places they need to to best help them grow. No. Question.
Wish me luck, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND REMEMBER THE SAVIOR!!!!!!!!!!!!