Hope you like the pictures! And thank you for the pic of Grandma and Grandpa. Happy Anniversary! They really are so sweet! I miss them and love them and enjoy getting their weekly letters. As for the Thanksgiving pic, I'm actually not sure who sent it. I wasn't with anyone on thanksgiving who sent you anything. Who all was in the pic? Maybe you can forward it to me and we can figure it out that way.
It's been a pretty good week. Less lessons with everyone gone for Thanksgiving, but lots of contacts. And of course, Don was baptized! He is officially a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it's wonderful. It was a beautiful baptism. Don is the most solid person in the gospel I've ever taught and has been beyond prepared by the Lord. His confirmation was beautiful. We stopped by last night after his confirmation and he said that he felt like everything in his life had been leading up to that day. It's so wonderful. He also shared a dream with us that he had when he was 17, that he still remembers vividly and he feels like it has to do with the temple (even though he knows little to nothing about it). Without going into detail of the Endowment Session, he doesn't understand how very, very amazing his dream was and how it was not only a dream, but communication from his grandfather on the other side about the work that Don will do for him. I love being a part of these experiences and these people's lives. Last night I was so filled the brim with joy from doing this work, I could hardly sleep.
We are also working on more finding, as we are dropping all our investigators who are not progressing and we need to find those who are really ready to live the gospel. There is a big difference between simply believing in Christ and actually living the gospel that He taught, but some people find it hard to see the difference or any drive to do the latter. For example, we told David this week that we would no longer be coming by. It simply was too frustrating, as he sat there, covered in tattoos of Scriptures and pictures of Mary and Christ and quotes about God, and yet would make excuse after excuse for his selfish reasons of living his life the way he does. He wants us to come by, have a "study" with him, and tell him everything there is to know about the gospel so he can show God that he is "doing everything he can to make it back to heaven", but he simply won't act on his own accord and just continues to live in sin. It's a bitter-sweet contrast as we dropped him and then continued on that night to Don's baptism. The difference in their use of agency in extreme, and thus you can see the difference of light in their countenance as a result. Oh, the joys and pains of being a full-time missionary ;)
Next week is the training with Elder Richards and then the next week is the Christmas Devotional. Thank you for the music by the way! We'll be practicing next week, so it should be good J Oh yes, and with the Christmas devotional come transfers, so I'm not sure where I'll be for Christmas, but it should be good. I'm actually hoping to get sent to Oceanside with Hermana Woodruff (back in Spanish work) but I usually guess wrong, so we'll see what happens. We got a new car this week. It's a 2014 Chevrolet and it's beautiful! I think it's in one of the sunset pictures I sent, down at the bottom.
Anyway, I also went to the dentist. I had 3 cavities (oops....sorry mom) and got one filled so far. I was having pains for the first few days so I was pretty nervous to go back to get the other 2 filled, but now I'm feeling okay so I'll probably keep the appointment and if I have any issues get them fixed with Dr. White when I get home.
Oh yes, I had Thanksgiving with the Schrocks and then we spent the evening doing visits and "heart-attacking" people's doors with little notes of gratitude on the hearts. We also stopped by and got to meet Don's daughters and had a brief lesson with him, just reviewing everything for the baptism the next day. Oh yes, Sister Johnson and I sang the musical number and I had Sister Terry record it, but the file is way too big to email, so you'll just have to see it when I get home. Sorry!
Sounds like things are getting fun and stressed with finals and holidays and work! Sounds like you're still being the most amazing. That's fun about Chris moving to Reno! As long as he's there to greet me when I get home ;)
Sounds fun with Temple Square! Don actually pulled up a news report he saw on the San Diego temple to show us last night about all the lights and choirs and things they are doing to attract more people, kind of like a mini-temple square. He thought it was so cool that that was "his church" and is very excited to go down and see the lights when he can.
Well, things should be great with the upcoming Ward Christmas Party and the Community Nativity Festival at the Stake center and all the other fun activities that come with Christmas. Hopefully we'll be able to work with the ward to invite their non-member friends and help them feel the Spirit of Christmas, which if you drop the last syllable, really is the Spirit of Christ. I have been thinking a lot about what I would like to give the Savior for Christmas this year, and I'm still not sure, but I thought I would mention that, so that you can start thinking about it too. Let me know when you decide. It's the most important gift we give all year, to anyone.
Thank you all, for all your love. I love and miss you and am excited to talk to you in few weeks!!!
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante
P. S. Oh yeah, and Sister Johnson and I got to teach the 11 yr. olds in Sunday school yesterday so that was super fun! We didn't have anytime to prepare to we prepared during sacrament, so it was very last minute, but it was still great. I love kids. Also, cool miracle! We went in to make copies of the lesson before sacrament meeting, and the copier wasn't working. Well, we messed with it and messed with it and the librarian kept telling us that it had been broken for 2 weeks and there was no hope, but then I followed the small whispering of the Spirit and did exactly what it told me to do. Take all the paper out, try to copy again, then add the paper back in when it notified us of no paper. I did that...and it worked! We got our copies! The other cool thing? We went back after classes to make another copy of the dinner calendar, and it was broken again. I do love the Lord and His small, tender mercies J
|Happy Thanksgiving! (With the Schrock Family)|
|Don and daughters|
|At the baptism|
|A light moment.|
|Sr. Johnson y Yo|
|Sunset in Temecula|