Last Monday was the terrorist situation, which was pretty scary. Not necessarily for us missionaries, but for the families and loved ones of the people in the cafe. We were not fully aware of everything that happened because we don't have the news, so members kept telling us what was going on. It was just really sad. It brought a weird vibe in the city for 2-3 days. Please continue to pray for those affected by this tragedy. This whole event made me realize how grateful I am for the Gospel in my life. Through terrible and hard times such as this, the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings peace and comfort through His grace. Amazing Grace perfectly describes the peace this Gospel brings into peoples' lives. We know that there is hope. All that is currently wrong in our lives will be made right through Christ's Atonement.
Later that night, Sister Tseng and I helped out at the Temple Christmas lights. That was awesome! There were many families there, including the Wrights and the Meyers! (Sister Meyer was in my zone at the MTC). Lots of members, non members, investigators, and less-active members came. Some set up picnics on the lawn outside. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I'll send pictures later. There was a beautiful art exhibit of the Life of Jesus Christ. It was similar to the one at the MOA last year...except MUCH smaller, as it was all in one room. But there was a unique feeling there. The CHRISTmas spirit! They also showed a video of the life of Christ and had two nativities set up. It was just really cool. We worked with the Dicks and some other Elders that I met for the first time.
We didn't get home until 11:30, but it was so worth it. Yan Lin, Joyce, Liu Ding, Lainey (member), and Zade (RC/LA) came! They all really enjoyed it, so that was good!
Tuesday was our Mission Christmas Conference!! We had to wake up at 5, to leave at 6...so I was really tired. But conference was GREAT! We had 1/2 the mission there since our mission is too big to have everyone there at once. We went to the Baulkham Hills chapel. It was nice to see Sister Kuo again :) The trainings were really good!! President Howes talked about the Apostasy, and why it was needed. Then Sister Howes talked about the Reformation, and how that prepared the way for the Restoration, which is what the AP's talked about. IT ALL MAKES SENSE! I never quite linked the Reformation, which we studied quite a bit in school, and how it was necessary for the Restoration. We watched the movie, Luther, which I remember watching sometime in HS...but this time I actually understood it. Luther is an amazing man. He had such faith in Christ and he acted on that faith, despite if it went against the government and everyone else at that time. Just like Joseph Smith. They knew that God is a loving God, not a damning one. We don't need graven images to worship him or money.
Afterwards, we had a bit of a talent show, so our zone sang 'Because I have been Given Much'. We have so many talented missionaries here!! But Elder Easton's performance was definitely the best. I forgot which song it was, but the spirit was SO strong. Sister Howes cried! There were a ton of Christmas cookies just like the one we usually make! Russian Tea Cookies, Christmas Crack, toffee, sugar cookies, and other yummy ones. We didn't get our Christmas packages that day because there were a few missionaries who still didn't have theirs yet. After Christmas conference, we went back to the city. I had to say bye to Yan Lin that day since she left Wednesday to go back to Singapore for a month :(
Wednesday we had an awesome DTM. We made snowflakes. Elder Easton related the beauty of snow to the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Snow can make anything beautiful. It covers our mistakes and the ugly parts of our lives, and makes it glow, shine bright, and shimmer.
The Christmas spirit is in full swing over here. Everyone's shopping like mad in the city, but at the church, everyone is happy and full of love. Sister Dick made us all cute stockings and Sister Naidu wrote our names beautifully on them. They're hanging in the TC for people to put notes in. It was so sweet!! We had a ward Christmas party on Saturday and that was really nice. Lots of food, singing, gingerbread house decorating, cookie decorating, and last but not least, the Nativity! That was really neat. Especially since we had a lot of RC's and investigators there who don't know the story of Jesus. There was music and it was beautiful. I got to play the angel who said:
Yesterday, Sister Tseng and I had quite the experience...we saw the elders on the street and they invited us to go to QVB (in the middle of the city) to go soap boxing. That was so cool! So empowering, and so incredibly scary!! As I stood on the crate, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bore my testimony, I could see how easily Satan was trying to try my testimony and faith. People would walk by telling us we were wrong, it made me nervous, and I started questioning everything I believed as I was saying it out loud. After the questioning though, I realized, I know what I believe. I have felt the truthfulness of this Gospel from the Holy Ghost as described in Moroni 10:5, and I have seen the miracles in my life everyday. No one can tell me otherwise.
It was an amazing week, and I'm looking forward for this one. Nora is so ready for her baptism! She's the sweetest person ever. Christmas will be great this year as we share the message of Jesus Christ with God's children. I wish you all a very merry Christmas :) I love you heaps and heaps!