Feliz Navidad, Melekalikimaka, y Aloha familia!!!!!
Happy Christmas Adam everyone!!!!! (get it....Cause Adam comes before Eve:) jejeje!!)
Yay!!! I love this time of year so much! Nina's baptism of course made it the best Christmas ever! (Despite the fact that I miss my family a ton!) Really though, I keep having these really great experiences here and I say, "wow, that's my new favorite experience!" But then it just keeps getting better and better! More on this later...
So the interview was like 5 minutes or so and it was with President Warner and Elder Richards. Elder Richards just started off asking me how I was doing and if I was loving my mission and reading my scriptures and learning lots. I of course said absolutely. Then President Warner just asked questions about any disobedience that I have seen in the mission, mostly out full field cause Laie is pretty obedient compared with the rest... (apparently our mission is having a rough time with that...) and how I thought they could help with that. I didn't really have too much to say but it was pretty exciting for us:) Then on Friday we had an emergency mission conference with all the missionaries on the Island with Elder Richards. Apparently a lot of missionaries were nervous he was going to send people home on the spot, but it ended up being one of the most spiritual meetings ever! Elder Richards talked from 9 to 12 about faith and led into obedience. He talked about how faith was an action word and your faith is measured by your actions. He gave us a formula and told us to write it down, mine was: I have faith in (Jesus Christ), that (I can be strengthened through trials). Therefore, I will (do all that He asks). He talked about how we obey because of faith and he showed us D&C 88:34 Which says, "And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same." He talked about how when we are governed by truth, we can be preserved by law and as we obey that law, the commandments will protect, bless, preserve, and sanctify us. He talked about how within the law is every good thing, including the spirit and how Happiness is directly proportional to the Spirit which is directly proportional to acting in faith. There is no true happiness without the spirit and how there is a difference between raw obedience and acting in faith. He taught so much more than this and really helped me see it in a way I never have before. Most of all the spirit was so strong and I know it touched everyone in that room. I love how he said towards the end, "We don't talk about obedience because there is a problem, we talk about it because it is the way to happiness, peace and blessings." I feel like I really have been learning so much about giving my heart to the Lord. He really is the bread of life and the light and way.
All this really has shown so much in our journey with Nina. What an amazing experience that has been! Sometimes, I can hardly believe the transformation that has taken place in her, and all from keeping the commandments! When I first met her, she was super nice, but she didn't smile a ton and she didn't talk very much. In lessons she would answer questions as if it was something she memorized, which she pretty much had since she had been meeting with the missionaries for so long. At that point, all we could do for her was help her feel the spirit again and help her see the hope that comes from the gospel. And fast and pray of course. We talked a lot about how God always prepares a way for us to keep his commandments and we helped her to remember and voice some of the spiritual experiences that she had had in the past and recognize Heavenly Father's hand in her life. We got her a journal and had her write down her feelings every time she had a spiritual experience. Well, the Lord does prepare a way and preparing her for her baptism has been the sweetest experience for me! Each time we saw her she was more and more excited and had an even bigger smile on her face. She became a different person and she just glowed! I know that Heavenly Father has spent all that time preparing her for this particular time. Her baptism ended up being just perfect! The ward was so supportive and she was so happy and beautiful! After she was baptized she shared her conversion story and testimony that had everyone in tears, the spirit was so strong! The best part was towards the end of her testimony when her 4 best friends from her Catholic High school, who all don't really believe in God or anything, walked in and sat down. I was sad they missed the actual ordinance, but what happened afterwards was the next best thing! We had a big pot luck after and got to know her friends a bit. They are really nice girls that kind of reminded me a bit of Nina when I first met her. At one point Nina invited them to see her receive the Holy Ghost and they asked her, "what's that?" She then explained how the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead and helps and guides you etc. She said, "I can feel the spirit now, but after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will always be with me and it will be stronger and help strengthen me too. They asked, "is it like the Holy Spirit?" "yes!" She said, "it's the same thing." "oh, ok," they replied, "so do they just like touch you with their hand or something?" "well," she explained, "someone who has the authority from God lays there hands on your head and gives you a blessing and gives it to you that way." "well," they asked, "how do they know they have authority from God, does God tell them or something?" Nina then went on to explain the entire first lesson about Joseph Smith and the Restoration in perfect and simple terms. She explained just as any missionary would, better than some I'm sure. She looked back at us a few times to make sure she was doing it right but we were just standing there stupidly with huge amazed smiles on our faces. We did find the Restoration pamphlets for them all to keep and they all took Book of Mormons. She told them about the Book of Mormon and how it compares with the bible and how it has answers and guidance and so much more inside. We then stepped in and added Moroni's promise how they can pray and ask God for themselves if it was all true or not. They asked the perfect questions and said they would read. They didn't want missionaries quite yet but we told them to let Nina know if they were ever interested in learning more and they said they would. Nina was so happy and as they were leaving called out, "don't forget your books!" None of us could stop smiling! The next day she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and somehow glowed even brighter! I cannot tell you how much I have grown to love Nina and her two year old little boy, Christopher. Watching her grow and use the Atonement in her life has strengthened my own faith so much! She is such a shining example to me!
This week is all Christmas stuff it seems. Tonight we get to go to the Christmas Lagoon again (Sister Kim and I got to go last Monday with Nina and Christopher). It goes around the whole PCC and tells the story of the Nativity, Hawaii style:). We are all super excited about that. Christmas Eve we are all getting together and watching "It's a Wonderful Life" You can guess how excited I am about that! It truly is a wonderful life!!!!! I love all the pictures of the house. Sister Kim says she wants to live at our house and spend Christmas with us next year ok:) The kids are getting so big! I started listening to the recordings today:) (I figured that was what was in the box:)) I want to get them all listened to before talking to you on Christmas so you don't have to repeat anything:) I still can't believe how much Tyson's and Joseph's voices have changed and it's amazing to hear little Sadie when I have never even met her before! It has been so fun listening to everyone! Thanks so much!! I love you all honey bunches of oats! I am not sure if you got my last messages mom, but Sister Kim just got her package from you and is sooooo excited she says you made her day and she loves you soooooo much! She hugged me a bunch and I assume it is all for you:) (I still haven't received Chelsea's package though...when did she send it?) I love you all so much and am so excited to talk to you in 2 days! I love you and pray for you always!
Hermana Rowley (Shayla)
We helped Nina make a gingerbread house for our ward Christmas party