Monday, December 28, 2015

He is the reason for the season


It was so great to see your cute faces on Skype!! I want to first say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who wrote letters for my Christmas package. That was so nice of you and I really felt so much love. Thank you:)

So this week was pretty much a massive P Day! I'll give you the highlights:)

So our mission wide Christmas conference was 2 days. So. Much. Fun. The whole thing was just kind of a massive surprise. Tuesday we were told to wear p day clothes and that was it. We all went to the Confluence, it's a river in Lyon. We met up there and took a massive mission picture!:) Then we all just played games and had fun. It was great to catch up with old friends and companions. It was honestly the perfect last Zone Conference, because I was able to see everyone I love for a last time.
Later on we headed to an Aquarium that the mission had rented out for the evening. There we had a presentation by President Brown where he told us that we had reached our goal of teaching with 1000 members in December! Not only did we reach it, but we passed it! Right now we are at 1112, and we still have a couple of days to go! So cool. It was just awesome to see the members combine with us the missionaries to really work together to bring people to Christ.
After the presentation we played some minute to win it games that Soeur Brown came up with and we watched the Lion King!!! Best day ever.

Wednesday was the more spiritual side of the conference. The conference consisted of beautiful musical numbers and powerful talks and testimonies given by President and Sister Brown and also members of their mission presidency. It was so edifying and I could really feel the real spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Eve was awesome! With all the Lyon missionaries we went and sang Christmas songs at a nursing home. It was so fun. We went from floor to floor singing to these cute little old people. Tears filled their eyes as they were touched by the Spirit. At one point we were singing White Christmas and Soeur Sweeney walked up to this little old lady and grabbed her hands and sang to her and this little old lady just started to cry so then we all started to cry and it was really just tender. That is what Christmas is all about. It isn't about the presents (even though they are nice) but it's about sharing the love that the Savior has for each of us.
Later on that evening we went to the Monclin's house. They are hilarious! Before this night, I had never really spoken to them, but they are just lovely! We spent our whole night laughing and it just felt like being at home. I loved it:) They even went to a fancy American store and bought us Rootbeer!!!! It was a perfect Christmas Eve!

We had planned on sleeping in, but our bodies still decided to wake up early:( So we woke up and did presents and made crêpes. Yum. Then we headed to the Conesa's house with the other missionaries in our ward for lunch. We ate duck for the second day in a row. It's actually pretty good!
Christmas night after Skype we went to the Sweeney's and watched Wreck it Ralph with a bunch of other missionaries! It was ADORABLE. Also it many multiple French references so I was so sparked. It was a great Christmas spent with so many people that I just love:)

After going hard with all the holiday fun I got hit with the flu/coldish thing! Sad right?? I think it started early on in the week but I tried to ignore it because I didn't want to miss out on any fun! So by Saturday I was beat. We pretty much were stuck in our apartment all day except for the lesson we had with Jonas. So bad news with Jonas... he moved:( Since he is a refugee his situation isn't all that stable so they moved him to another shelter in Lyon. Bad news is that it is in a different ward. AND when he was in the process of moving someone reached into his pocket and stole his legality papers and all his money that his daughter had given him. Isn't that horrible?? He was so sad. But during our rdv with him he just kept talking about how even though everything is really horrible right now, he just keeps turning to God. He said that he has just been praying constantly and that he knows that everything will work out how it needs to. WOW. If I had just been through all of that, I don't know if I could say the same thing. His faith is incredible. He is a remindeer to me, that no matter how bad things get, God will never leave us without help. He will always be there to comfort us and help us. I love Jonas. I don't know what is going to happen to him, whether he will go to another ward or not, but I know that everything will work out how it should. God's hand is in this and we just need to trust in His perfect plan.

Sunday I was feeling a little better, so we went to Church and it was great. I think that is something I will miss the most, going to church in France and having church in French. It'll be odd to have it in English again. haha After church we went to the Piscitello's house. They are easily my favorite family in the ward:) I love them. They wanted to do another meal together before I go home. They have really been like family to me and I have felt so much love from them the past couple months that I have been here in Lyon.

It was such a good week! Even though I was sick haha but really my heart is filled with so much gratitude. I'm grateful for President and Soeur Brown who put so much time and effort into the conference. I'm grateful for the senior couples and all they did as well. I'm grateful for my mission friends who are more like family. I'm grateful for members who opened their homes up to us this Christmas, I'm grateful for Jonas, Sarah, and Martha who are doing their very best to follow the Savior and who will forever be examples to me. Above all I am so grateful for my Savior who is the reason for the season. Who gave His life for us. He is the best gift we have ever recieved. I love Him.

I love you all:) I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are excited for the new year:) I have one week left, so I will be sending a short email next monday morning ok?

Soeur Holmes

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