Week 51- Carlisle is Wonderful!

What a great week!!
The highlight of the week was definitely talking to my family. I loved getting to see all of you. Everyone is growing up and changing. It’s crazy! Thanks for talking to me and making my laugh. It definitely gave me the motivation I needed to keep going on my mission. I am so grateful that we have the ability to use technology and talk to each other even though we are thousands of miles away.
Christmas Eve and Christmas day were a ton of fun.
Christmas started out really great. Trash day is Wednesday and the sisters before had left a lot of trash because they didn’t have a chance to throw it out. Well there is a rule in Carlisle that you have to put your trash bags inside of a green bag in order to keep it clean. We didn’t have any green bags to put our trash bags in. I went outside to see what we could do with our trash. Our neighbor saw me and he came outside. He told us that we had to go to Walmart and buy the green bags or else they wouldn’t take our trash. He said that we couldn’t let the trash sit outside for another week because his landlord was already trying to report us for it. We had no other option than to go to Walmart and go get a green bag. As we are putting on our shoes to leave our doorbell rings. It is our neighbor standing outside with a green bag. He hands it to us and I asked if we could give him money for it. He replied that it was just a bag. It was so kind of him to give us one of those bags for free. Those bags aren’t cheap either. (hold onto this story for later)
Christmas Eve we played flag football with our ward in the morning. It was raining, but still fun. I love getting to play sports. Jokingly the members told us that our rep in the ward depended on how well we played. They were blown away at how well we played. We were soaked by the end of the game, but it was well worth it.
After that we went home and got cleaned up to go sing at a Nursing home here in Carlisle. We went to the dinning area and sang to the residents there and then we went around to individual rooms and sang to the residents. The residents would smile as we sang and were so happy by the time we left. It was so nice to be able to uplift the residents there. I loved just focusing on other people and helping them feel the Spirit of Christmas.
We then went over to our neighbors’ house to give them cookies for the bag they had given us. They invited us in and we talked with them for an hour about what we do as missionaries and about the gospel. I invited them to learn more and they said no, but then they kept asking questions πŸ™‚ One day they will be ready!
Later that night we had dinner with the Greenways, a member family, and we got to participate in their telling of the nativity story. It reminded of being home when we retell the birth of Christ.
Christmas morning President Johnson gave us permission to sleep in, but I decided to wake at up 6:30 still. I wrote in my journal and spent my morning reflecting on what the birth of the Savior meant to me. When Sister Amendola got up we opened our gifts and took some Christmas pictures (those are attached to this email). We then got ready and went caroling at another nursing home. We did the same thing as before and it was just as fun. I really enjoyed singing and seeing their reactions.
An update that happened two weeks ago that I didn’t get a chance to talk about yet:
We had a really awesome experience with OYMing our second day here. We were leaving the library from emailing our parents our new address when this guy with his hood up and glasses on was walking past us. I decided to stop him and talk with him. This was the first time we had OYM someone since being in Carlisle. We shared He is the Gift with him and then I asked if he had a faith in Christ. He explained that he believed in God and prayer. He said that he always tried to end his prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. We kept talking to him and then he opened up to us. He took off his glasses and explained that he has been trying to change his life. He has been going through some major changes and he thought it was amazing that we had stopped to talk with him. He opened up more and told us that he was trying to quit smoking. I told him that was so awesome. I bore testimony to him that Jesus Christ knows exactly how he feels. Christ knows what it is like to be addicted to cigarettes and what it is like to try and quit. This man started to cry. He looked up at us and smiled. He told us that he was so glad that we stopped to talk to him. It was such a spiritual moment for me that I couldn’t help but cry with him. I know that Heavenly Father was aware of him and his situation. I also could feel the love that Heavenly Father had for him and how proud He was.
Things have been going well with Sister Amendola and I. We have been working hard trying to find new people to teach. We decided that we are going to try an approach where we do a survey with people and see if we can find people who are interested in learning more. We are going to try it out this week. I will let you know if we have any success.
Training has been going good. I have been trying to come up with new and fun ways to help Sister Amendola learn the lessons and feel more comfortable teaching. So far so good. She is a visual learner so I am trying my best by using sticky notes to draw things out for her. She is working really hard and doing really well.
We have an investigator that we are teaching named Christine. She is pregnant and has three kids. Her house is always crazy. The tv is blasting and the kids are running around crazy. She and her fiancee Chris always have tons of friends coming in and out. Needless to say it is really hard to focus and have a lesson there. Christine is very shy and timid while her fiancee Chris always voices his opinion. Chris believes in science and proof and has a hard time accepting the Bible and some other things. He always asks a lot of questions and has something to contradict what we say. This past week we went in to have another lesson. We prayed before hand for there to be peace in the house. We went later at night so the kids were all asleep, they turned the tv off and the friends that were in the house were downstairs. We could actually have a lesson with them. We taught them the Restoration. It went really well. Both Christine and Chris opened up a little to us. We hope to keep this going and help them progress in the gospel as an eternal family.
On Sunday Sister Amendola and I taught Gospel Principles. It went really well. The Spirit was definitely there and the members really liked it. We talked about forgiveness and how essential it is for our salvation and for others. We talked about how we must seek forgiveness, we must grant forgiveness, and we must learn to forgive ourselves. We little preparation we did a great job at teaching together and following the Spirit.
Carlisle is wonderful. I love it here! Missionary work is so much fun. I am coming up on my year mark and I really want to make sure that I continue to work hard for the rest of my mission and give it my all.
I hope yinz have a great week! Love yinz πŸ™‚
Sister Jones

Pictures from Christmas morning. Yes, we grew mustaches over night πŸ™‚

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