Monday, December 16, 2013

The Reason For The Season

Hey Y'all
So, how is everyone's holiday season going for them? I hope swell. I am so grateful to be here in the South where people remember the "reason for the season" and seeing a nativity set up in the yards of the many assorted southern churches as well as front lawns of homes is pretty common! Have I mentioned to y'all that part of the Fort Yargo ward is a town called Bethlehem? All the roads are named things like, "Christmas Avenue" or "Herald Street"... there is big star in the center of the town and it's fun to be spending this part of the year serving here! Me, Sister Chapman, and a few members of the ward will be singing "What Child is This?" in a few weeks in Sacrament meeting and I am so grateful to not only be surrounded by people who know who the Savior is, but also to have that knowledge myself! I love Jesus Christ so much and I am so grateful for His birth.

Among all the happenings here this week, something I have loved is being in the ward members homes helping them set up their Christmas trees! We are calling it "service"! There really is no place like home for the Holidays, but this year it will be "only in my dreams" --- and all I'm saying is if I can't be home for Christmas... well then the next best place is here in Fort Yargo with all the people I love so much!
So, things started out interesting this week for me. Look, I've experienced some strange things on the mission, but this one is about the best! So there I sit at dinner last monday night, enjoying a nice meal provided by a wonderful family who has a bunch of crazy young boys! I always love when the couple has kids because it makes things so fun! Well after I finished eating my taco... the youngest of their boys, a four year old was running around the table, he stopped right next to me and licked my arm. Yes.. I just said licked. Now, I am not sure if the fact that I had just been licked was funnier... or if it was the expression on the parents faces! We all ended up laughing harder than I can even begin to write in words. Of course the mom took him into his room, but that wasn't enough to stop him from doing it a second time. 2 licks in one night. What I did to deserve that, I may never know. Oh the life of a missionary...
Ok, so we had a miracle happen this week! We are able to teach someone that is in a different ward than us! The Fort Yargo Ward shares the building with the Winder Ward and there is a family that wants their girls taught by Sisters, the Winder Ward only has Elders and so President gave us special permission and we are now teaching them! We taught them the Restoration, and let me just say how much I love teaching kids! They just get it! As we taught about the Apostasy and all the false churches that started up, we used the example of a self serve frozen yogurt place, you know, the ones where you get to pick certain toppings? We explained that people started their own churches and decided what they want in their church... and not what the Lord wanted! This made me realize how grateful I am to have the whole truth... and all the goodness that the Lord has in store, not just parts of it.

We are working with a lot of people! I am feeling pretty grateful that our teaching pool is getting bigger and bigger everyday. The work is hastening... and what that truly means is that the Lord is preparing more hearts. People are ready for the Gospel in their lives!

Abraham is still doing amazing! Not only has he been coming to church consistently, but he shows up 15 minutes early, he definitely isn't on "Mormon-standard-time" yet. He is looking forward to being baptized and I can't wait for that day either. He says that he has been running with the devil for a few decades and so things are hard, but that he has never felt more peace in his life. What a miracle it is going to be to see this 72 year old man enter the waters of baptism here in the next few weeks! Please keep him in all y'alls prayers!
This week it was Sister Chapman's birthday! This is the second time that I have had a companion have a birthday while serving with them... and it's the best! We went out for a nice lunch and just had a lovely day! I am grateful to have a good companion and I am grateful that she made the choice to serve a mission. Someone from her family sent her a few new CD's and we've been jamming out to the most amazing version of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". What a blessing it is to have someone with me 24/7 that can be crazy and fun one minute, singing into water bottles and pens... performing a concert for all the Georgians we pass as we drove from one appointment to the other... and yet also, such a great and amazing teacher who is in-tune with the Spirit and helps the people we are working with to be more converted to Jesus Christ!
This week we got to teach the Relief Society monthly gathering and we wound up talking with all the Sisters about how they can be missionaries! It ended up being more of a discussion and we talked about fears and struggles we have as we share the Gospel, as well as neat experiences they have had! One of my favorite points of the night was that sometimes we hope that our efforts wind up resulting in a baptism or a temple sealing, but sometimes we have to remember that a "successful missionary moment" presents itself in a million different ways, even someone just being a good example to someone they are trying to share the Gospel with is a success!

I want you each to know that it can be so hard being away from friends and family, worrying about each of you happens quite a bit and I pray for you each and everyday. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, as much as I love my mission... it is the same amount of how much I dislike being away from you. Even though we are separated, I am grateful to know that the Lord takes care of us and that he is there to help strengthen us in times of sickness, sadness, trials, and heartache. I wish I could be there for your special events... to see friends open mission calls, travel to foreign lands and get engaged; I wish I could be there to be with my family who is sick and struggling with health problems, and even though I'm not there I know that the Lord is there with each of you. 

I want to end with something I realized this past week; we were visiting a family in the ward that we love dearly, and they have an amazing daughter who has been through some struggles. As we were talking about going through trials, she mentioned that last year she hit an "all time low" and said that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can go back up. It hit me, as she was sharing certain experiences, that when opposition comes into our lives, when Satan is near and has a hold of us, there comes a time where we can't sink any lower; and that we find ourselves in a pit that does, indeed, have a bottom.  On the opposite end,  when we are close to the Savior, when we build our lives based on Gospel Principals, and when we see light rather than darkness... "the sky is the limit". I know that there is no end to glory; there is no end to love; there is no end to being; there is no death above. There is no end to virtue; there is no end to might; there is no end to wisdom; there is no end to light. There is no end to union; there is no end to youth; there is no end to priesthood; there is no end to truth.
I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that it His life we celebrate this time of the year, and it His sacrifice that fuels our Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us. Without Him, His birth, His life, His example, His Love, His suffering, His death, His Resurrection, and His obedience to and love for the Father... I would not be experiencing any of what I have here on Earth, and in Georgia.
I love Him. I love His work.
I love each of you. 
9 days and counting family... 9 days!
God bless & Godspeed!
-Sister Beasley

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