Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Transfers have come upon us again and I regret to announce that Sister Talbert will be leaving Hartford. She is heading to the Stones River Ward, which is in Murfreesboro! I am excited for her and the adventures she will have there, but she will be missed! It is sad watching her go around to the different homes and say goodbye. I'm glad I won't have to worry about that for the next 6 weeks.

As for me, I'll be training yet again! I love training even though there is a lot of responsibility with it. The best part is seeing how much they grow and progress. I can only imagine Heavenly Father's excitement for us when we in turn grow and progress.
It seems like we have just been party-ing this past week. This is what they mean by mission FUN and not mission WORK. We had a zone conference where the first half was all spiritual goodness and the other half we had a scarf exchange (ties for the Elders) and a white elephant gift exchange. I ended up with a bowl full of candy, so of course, I was happy. We shared some family traditions and I shared the almond in the rice pudding. Later that week I was in a member's home and they had old Christmas pictures out. They had one with all the kids and the oldest daughter dressed up as St. Lucia (as in Kirsten from the American Girl dolls!) and we talked about Swedish traditions. They also did the almond, but apparently finding it meant that you would be married within the next year. A couple days later the member made rice pudding with an almond and when no one found it, she dug through and plopped the portion with the almond on my plate! I'd much rather take the $20 rather than getting married within the next year!
We also had a branch Christmas party. There's nothing like free food to draw in a crowd. We roughly had 50 people there with about half as less actives or nonmembers! It was great! I think missionaries love ward parties because they feel like superheroes!
In a town near us they were hosting a Nativity Festival. We volunteered to work it one night. The Elders in that area invited a less active to come and to bring someone with him. So he did. In walked Chelsie who absolutely loved all the nativities. She talked, talked, talked and wanted to go on a church tour. So while she was standing in the baptismal font (without the water of course!) she asked about our belief in baptism. You know where this is going right? That's right, we set a date with her right there and then! She pretty much wants to be the next Primary President and convert all the neighborhood kids. She is golden except for one thing, she's in Morgantown, but I feel so grateful that I was able to be there for that.
I've been thinking a lot about traditions because of the holiday season. Traditions are important to building a strong family. I often think of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who were convinced that the traditions of their fathers was wrong. Not only did they stop doing those traditions, but they had to incorporate new traditions into their family. The result: the 2,000 Stripling Warriors. Who wouldn't want that for their children? The First Presidency has given us 9 traditions for our families so that our children may also be 2,000 Stripling Warrior material. These are: Faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, love, respect, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. WILL YOU choose one of these traditions to add to your home this Christmas season? 
Much love to all!
Love Sister Neener (:

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