Trains and Winter Rains
All aboard the Enya Express! Y'all ready for this?!?!
Well, Christmas happened. So that was great. But before that, we had three solid days of finding and service!
We baked n baked n baked for the ward members and our friends, then loaded it up into the Enya Express and took off for the country side! Lucky for us, the ward is spread faaaar and wide across County Dublin so we got to see the ocean AND some...castles? AND some ward members that we'd never seen in the flesh before! all the while blasting Enya's TWO deluxe Christmas albums. Cloud 9. Don't question me.
So! many! Christmas! miracles! I met some ward members that are probably my distant cousins who's last name is Allen and my Allen line comes from Ireland as well! Again, don't question me. Let my dreams be dreams. Babs, who has no known relation to these Allens, is ALSO an Allen and because she has done so much for the missionaries over the years (even for years before she was baptized!) I gave her one of my spare Sister Allen tags. She's a legend! And she bought us Chinese food! My favourite Christmas food.
We also met Jose Vinicio in the city center for dinner on Christmas Adam and he brought us flowers! Bless him. I could still remember the names of everything in the bouquet! Still hoping to find a practical use for that one day. We ran into his friend Max and he ended up coming to Burger King with us and Jose Vinicio told him all about how excited he is to be baptized and how much he loves coming to church! And now Max wants to come to church and we are meeting with him this week! (Shoutouts to Jose Vinicio and Wilson!! They haven't missed a single day of church in the 8 weeks since they started coming! Honorable mention to Edy, who scares us and we don't actually teach him, but he also comes every single week with his scarf and cat and sends us videos of birds on the daily)
On Christmas Eve we picked up the Clondalkin sistas and some African stew from Osa in the Enya Express and made our way back to Hotel Yallen! Our flat looked POSH. Mostly because we had flowers from Vinicio. But we also sprayed it with apple cinammon febreeze, sooo...5 stars on Google Maps from me.
Christmas was nice, the day started with me singing Enya's version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas to Sister Yates in the and Sister Huxley-Wright and Sister Ambler jumping on our beds then we opened presents and Sister Traynor, a member here, gave me an Irish For Beginners book! I'm still over the moon about it, she said I'm the only American she's ever met who has the tongue for it. Don't know how I feel about that honestly.
Then, THE BIGGEST CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF ALL!!!!!!! We went to Enya's castle on our way to the Wicklow mountains and left her a Merry Christmas pass along card! Oh my good golly molly I was ecstatic. Still am. Best Christmas ever. Then we went on a winter walk in Glendalough (that rhymed, in case you were wondering) and had a grand old time. We drank out of a waterfall, if I get Covid now you know why. It was wintry and nice and oh so Irish and we ate a lot of custard creams so it was a wonderful time.
Then after our Christmas Dinner sponsored by The Connolly's, I settled into my blanket and pjs and finished reading the four gospels which I had set a goal to do! Something that really stood out to me is that Christ repeatedly said that he did what he did so that we might have peace and joy and that HE experienced peace and joy too! I also loved that he did all things with a spirit of gratitude and went to the same place to pray often. Isn't he just the perfect example? Isn't he the constant of Christmas? Even when everything else about the world is shambles, he can be our ROCK! He is the one thing about the Christmas holidays that will never change!
I posted a picture of the nativity in the Dublin city center this week. I'm not too sure if you can tell, but baby Jesus isn't actually there. They are worshiping an empty manger. I'm not sure if someone stole the baby Jesus (from a glass box?) or if this country is just too darn secular, but I do know this to be true:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
What can I say? It's been a dark year at times. You might recall me saying a year ago that I was so excited for 2020 because it was an opportunity to have 20/20 vision and focus completely on our Saviour from start 2 finish. WHELP, unfortunately I was far from perfect at that. I was just so MYOPIC at times. I focused too much on the waves and not enough on the Saviour. I felt so lost in the darkness sometimes--sometimes for long periods of time. But, in STARK contrast to these times of darkness and distress, when I brought my problems and weakness and worries and fears and laid them at my Saviour's feet, I was flooded with the light of life. I was given just enough light to take one more step.
I have been given just enough light to confidently say to each of you who might still be wandering around in the dark, "Hold on, the light will come." -Michael Mclean
Though at times this year you probably thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, as Sister Macdonald reminded all 89 of us missionaries this week, "One day we will instead be asking ourselves, how could things possibly get any better?"
Make a list of the things you learned this year! Don't let anyone take them from you. Don't forget them. They are a precious gift from the Saviour whether you had to learn them through omission, commission, or just sheer stupidity (@me).Everything happens the way they do for a reason.
So, forgive yourself! Forgive others. Forgive the world. Give 2020 to the saviour. LET Him take this burden from you (He wants to, promise!), but keep the change as Becky Craven invited us to do in General Conference! Hold on to the light you've received this year, and more will come!
And as we consecrate this year to our Saviour, he will consecrate it for our gain! (2 Nephi 2:2)
YEEHAW I'M SO EXCITED FOR 2021. AREN'T YOU?? Too bad I won't be in Ireland anymore by the time I'm old enough to drink! Jokessssssss. What are you excited for this year?? I'd honestly love to know!
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Christ has already overcome 2021, and he can help you overcome any challenges that this year brings!
Punch Satan in the nose this year,
(oh wait, he doesn't have one...)
ps. srry this is so long...pretty much was just telling myself everything I need to hear right now. But hope it helps you too! Let me know how you're doing!
pps. BIGGEST CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF ALL: We called Phyllis on Christmas and she remembered our names for the first time ever!!!