Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmastime is here!

Well this week was long, but flew by! On Thanksgiving, we went hiking in the Superstition mountains with 9 other sisters from the VC. We wanted a fun easy hike, to just enjoy the morning. It was beautiful. There are some places out here where it still surprises me to see the desert so beautiful. We went hiking up to some petroglyphs in Gold Canyon. I took lots of pictures so you'll see them when I send the next memory card home. After that, we rushed home so that we could get ready to go to our VC Thanksgiving dinner. I had volunteered to help Sis. Burke cook something so I had to throw that together too. Then we went to the clubhouse where the Burkes live, right behind the temple, and ate dinner with all the sisters. It was a lot of fun. Right after dinner we sang some Christmas songs to some of the people in their complex. Sis. Burke said that most of them are shut-ins so they don't have many visitors. This one woman started crying and said that she was sick that day so she wasn't able to go out and celebrate Thanksgiving with her family so she was very grateful to us. We only had time for a 20 minute nap even though we were exhausted, and then it was back to the VC for pie and then we opened.

Thanksgiving night was like a run through for Christmas lights. We ran like it was Christmas lights and had all the special posts we have for Christmas, but it wasn't very busy so we were able to practice a lot of the presentations. Then Christmas lights started on Friday! I am so exhausted but it is so much fun. There are so many people that come every night. Literally thousands. I know that over 3000 came in the front doors alone last night (so only after 6 pm) and I think we had over 6000 total come in for the whole day. Every night when we get home at 10:30 we collapse on the floor, plan for the next day, and then crawl into bed. Our hours change during the Christmas lights season so we have to be in bed by 11:30 and get up at 7:30. Our feet and back hurt from standing, but our cheeks hurt from smiling. You can't help but be happy at the VC and even more so during the Christmas season. My birthday was no different than any other day, but it was good nonetheless. The members we live with decorated our stairwell and their upstairs with "Feliz Cumpleanos" signs. At the VC, along with all the other food we get from the stakes, Sis. Rowe one of the senior sisters brought brownies with peppermint ice cream to celebrate. During this past week I have really been amazed at how special my call is. At the VC you get to develop such a special bond with the other sisters. No other mission is like that. We have the Elders in our district of course, but we usually only see them every other week unless we run into them proselyting or crossing paths at church. At the VC we can all support and uplift each other, sharing in good, bad, funny, sad, spiritual, and everything in between times. We also get to work with the 3 great senior couples who treat us like their own grandchildren. I wouldn't trade my call for anything!

It has been getting colder here, and it even rained yesterday. One of the posts at the VC is the front steps where we invite people to come inside the VC and see some of the presentations. It can get pretty cold out there. Thanks for the sweater mom, it is very comfortable and perfect for the weather out here (I am even wearing it right now).

We are having to work extra hard in our area, even teaching some lessons today, so that we can see the work grow here as well. We went back to Red Mountain apartments the other day and saw Mirna outside taking tabs off of soda and beer cans, so we helped her and then helped them crush them. (It was an interesting service activity for missionaries...) Then they let us in and we shared a message. I think she was just in a bad mood the other day when she wouldn't even talk to us, because she was back to normal and received us the way she used to. Service really is the way that will reach her heart, so that she can open it and continue to be touched by the Spirit. We are looking forward to the Farnsworth's baptism this week and the Mestre's 2 weeks later. We are stilling trying to find find find so that we can continue to help our little branch grow. Our district has made the goal of 20 baptisms for this transfer. I don't think that that has ever happened in the history of the mission, in our or any district. There were 8 baptisms our very first weekend and then our branch has 4 coming up. We are going to try and make that at least 5 coming up, plus a few other people that we are working with. Get ready for the Miracles on 82nd St.!

I love you all and I hope that no matter what you are doing right now, that you are enjoying it!

De Mesa con Amor,
Hermana Ladd

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