Haha, this week has been nuts. MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! / HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent in the Visitors' Center. It felt like simultaneously the weirdest and best Christmas I've ever had. Weird, because you're a missionary, and you wanna work and you can't get out there, and best because you GET IT. You get Christmas, and why people care and why you should/do care, now, too. Okay, maybe just me. Definitely just me.
Some highlights of Spiritual inspiration:
"When we repent, our view of ourselves, and the world changes."
"Repentance is a process; it takes time to heal."
"We can live with our families forever-- we already have that knowledge, we need to go and share that with other people so that they can have that knowledge, too."
"We need to continually change to be closer to the Saviour."
We met with a lady this week who is so very desperate, so very at the end of her rope, and the light in her countenance, when we told her not to lose hope, that we would be able to get her help, was wonderful.
She hasn't been to church in 35+years, but she could repeat the thirteenth article of faith, verbatim.
13 aWe believe in being bhonest, true, cchaste, dbenevolent, virtuous, and in doing egood to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we fhope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to gendure all things. If there is anything hvirtuous, ilovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
She says it's the best moral code she could live by.
The family we've been teaching is getting baptized the 26th of January. Anyone who says stateside missions stink, needs to take a good hard look at all the converts they love in their lives and realize that they were baptized stateside. That was one of a thousand things that had me motivated to come out here, "I've gotta find someone's Emily ( Emily is one of my good friends who converted to the Gospel at age 13 in Wisconsin/Minnesota?)
The family's 16 year old son is agnostic/atheist. I need JoJo to email me his testimony-- what he would say about going to seminary. In all seriousness/Jordanness.
He came to church and liked it. The family had a major hangup with tithing. They know the church is true, but they're tight or overreaching in all areas: house, etc. So, they didn't want to commit, and know they weren't going to be able to follow through for a couple years. They got up early in the morning, and were talking. Prayed together, got their positive answer. Along with the son liking the first two hours of church enough to commit to think about coming back (huge), they shared in class that they had gotten their confirming answer from the Ward Mission Leader's talk on uplifting, strengthening, courage. The time when the man prayed out loud with us, was the first time he'd ever prayed in his life. Apart from Hail Marys.
I cried.
I love you all muchas muchas muchas.
Sister Bothwell.

Christmas!!! (Sorry I'm so late to post this -Jordan)

welp, I don't even know how to start this email off! I think we'll get to email on Christmas Eve, and then call Christmas Day, but I should probably wish everyone a HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!! ;D
Every week, here in this area, has been a miracle, but the more we show the ward, and the Lord that we're willing to work, the more the blessings just keep poring on. Sister Baker and I are really just trying to go forward in faith. We're not sure exactly what the area needs, but I take that back--we are, and that is to build trust in us. We are trying our hardest, and doing our best to "show up" and just be there for the auxiliaries: Young Men's, Young Women's, Relief Society (the ladies) and Priesthood (the men). We were given a list of people the ward is trying to find (the wards spilt about a year ago, and they're trying to find everyone so they can help them, give them callings, etc). Within hours, we'd done our best to locate them. This area, hitherto, had been a "busy" area. Not necessarily productive, but busy. Sister Baker and I are trying to break out of that, and DO all we can to help the ward. Our sweetest little High Priest Group leader told us that we could help him by :1) coming over and sharing something musical, 2)reading a Christmas story, 3)making them a treat, 4) helping them with NewFamilySearch.org. haha ;D we told him we could do the first three, and told him our ward expert on NFS's name. What a doll. I came into this ward, kind of scared, because it's such an affluent area. False. These people JUMP to help anybody and anyone and anything. They are so kind, and want the missionary work to progress. Their families know about the Gospel and the peace that it brings into their lives. As evidenced by an experience related to us (a nine yr old girl) "I know that because I prayed, my mom's friend drove by and could tell my mom we were walking home."
You know how you are able to see the tender mercies of the Lord in your life, but wonder if God answers everyone's prayers just like yours?
Sunday during church we went around and told everyone in Gospel Essentials what we wanted for Christmas. We came to the Mom investigator we have:"I just would like peace for Christmas--peace in my heart."
What's the Relief Society lesson on? "Finding Peace in These Perilous Times." I started bawling like a baby. I dunno--she cried a little, too. haha My heart has become so tender as I just trust in the Lord-- I know He's going to help people, but I mean, Christ wept with Mary and Martha at the tomb, before He raised Lazarus. (sp) So.
The Dad investigator we're teaching, after we taught him on Saturday--unbeknownst to us, went to it: changing his beer keger to rootbeer, and dropping coffee as well. GUY IS LEGITIMATE!
Our poor little old man investigator's best friend died, and with Iranian customs, he won't be available for until January 15th, 2013. POOR MAN! His friend was slowly dying for several weeks, and the family was overwhelmed. I just hope he's able to share some of the peace the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into his life. . . :*(
Because it's brought peace into MINE!
BIG NEWS: we went and visited a neighbor of someone in our ward. They had referred us to them, and they weren't interested, but then the member neighbors went over to give them cookies, and discovered they love a lot of the same resturants and are now GOING OUT TO EAT ONCE A MONTH for as friends!!!!!!!!!! can. you. stand. it. God is blessing this area. And I trust the members completely, as it was a prompting from the Holy Spirit, that allowed them to ask about resturants in the first place, my friends!
We went and saw the Portland Ensign Choir, and their Christmas concert was really wonderful. What made it more spectacular is that they called up little kids to ring the bells, the girl who'd saved my life the other day on the piano, was first chair on Viola, our Recent Convert we'd brought, had a great time, we were able to share a spiritual thought with her, and I got to see all my Elders friends and my love members from Rainier. what cuties! :D
I love y'all and Merry Holidays. ;) bahah.
<3, Googma!
Sister J. Bothwell
I come home on May 7th. We think. The just announced that the April 1st, 2013 transfer would be moved up a week to the 25th of March, and that all the transfers after that point would be affected.
Kinda weird.
This week we had an incredible lesson, and some MAHOR miracles.
Mostly, The Visitors' Center is pretty low-key. Missionaries that come in with their investigators, to be shown around, doesn't phase me anymore, since I went out to Rainier and realized Elders are just like everyone else. Sometimes weirder, sometimes alright-er. So, losing my cool (read: GETTING SO NERVOUS I DIE) is not as common anymore. Until, Sister Johnston decided to put us on the program for the musical things happening every night from 7-7:30pm. I play the piano. No big deal. really though, I'm much better about performing in front of people. Until...it comes to singing. A solo. We spent an amount of time putting together the program, so we could bring the Spirit. We wanted Scriptures read, and a flowing musical presentation. Starting off with "Breath of Heaven", by Amy Grant. I sang it.
That's not the miracle.
Because I'm the only (read:only one willing to play in front of an audience), one who will play the piano, who would play for me? {I was playing the entire rest of the program. [Which God helped A LOT out with, by the way.]}
Oh, I called EVERYONE. In both Lake Oswego and Lakeridge wards. Sister Baker and I are so new, I had to ask around, first of all, who could play, and then whom among them wasn't busy with the WARD CHRISTMAS party!? going on simultaneously... No one could do it. I was going to have to ask a lady, who was already conducting the Primary children in their Nativity Song. This aspect of the story is to illustrate that I am just frazzled, still! Thinking about it.
We had an Elder Clayton who wanted to sing with us in our program, and had asked a member of his ward to accompany him. I'm so grateful she was there, because, on the verge of pulling a Justin Bieber, and play/singing --That would've driven away the SPirit, SO FAST, i'm sure-- she stands and says," I can play that; I know that song."
If I could've comprehended anything, I would've probably burst into tears. Instead, i sang, and the play moved on.
I know that doesn't seem to mean much to any of you, but it was one of the most incredible tender mercies I've received. I'm sure there are more than I can count, but I am especially grateful for that one. The whole experience of playing/singing for 67 times (11) during that particular 48 hour time period, helped me realize a lot of things, and one of them is, I am not a show-man, but more importantly, the things that are important to me, are also important to my Father in Heaven.
We had the best lesson with this new family we're teaching. They're going to follow the example of the Saviour, join the Church, and have an eternal family, and it's going to be great! The man, his wife and his three living children came over to their friends' house, in our ward. They have known each other a long time, but just recently, their son passed away, and they needed more of a connection with God in their lives. The lesson was not ideal, but that was just according to the way Iiii thought it should go.
Luckily, I'm not in charge.
You know those weeks when sometimes you hope something really incredible will happen soon, because Satan is doing his hardest to make your job awful, so it's almost a heads-up? But not a very reassuring heads-up.
Luckily, Sister Baker and I work really hard and are N*SyNC about being exactly obedient. And when I feel really guilty, or think we need to do something differently, to keep the Spirit, Sister Baker always goes with me on it. She's a sweet soul. But a Little feisty ;) We both thought, separately, "This is what it's going to be like when members have to teach the lessons."
It was a great week. Really tiring. Like Finals week, but A great week. We had 6 investigators at church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and it was the family, plus this man hopefully getting baptized on the 29th, plus this other man we're working with. THEY'RE ALL SO GREAT!
did I mention, a lady we helped pack up, came to the ward Christmas party, and then the Visitors' Center Performance, and then stayed a long while after? It was superb.
As was the Conversion fireside we had yesterday. God reallly is in control and sends the Holy Ghost to bring us peace.
man, it's great. What a treat. :D
Hope y'all have a great week!
10 And behold, he shall be aborn of Mary, at bJerusalem which is the cland of our forefathers, she being a dvirgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and econceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccorhis people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must arepent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth abeset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will aremember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.
<3, Sister Bothwell