We're excited for the week of Christmas!
So that I don't have to rewrite most of my thoughts from the week:
We've been blessed with so many tender mercies and miracles this past week. Our investigator that is going to be baptized on Thursday (Christmas!) has been golden since day 1 that we met her and she accepted a baptismal date, and she continues to progress and surprise us at every turn with how ready she is to accept the gospel. Yesterday at church she decided that she wanted to be baptized on the 25th instead of the 27th because 1) there's a stake RS activity on the 27th, and 2) because she wanted it to be when most of the world celebrates Christmas. (Armenia's Christmas is on). She's very sensitive to the Spirit and says that all of this just feels right to her - which is such a proof to me that the Lord truly does prepare people to receive His message. As we taught her this week about the commandments, laws, and ordinances of the gospel, it was amazing to see how much of her life was already in accordance with the teachings of the gospel! She's been one of our miracles - and we love her so much.
Another miracle that we've had this week had to do with the family that we found a couple of weeks ago who live out in Harbert. This week three of the children came to church and are going to be part of our Christmas program at the activity on Friday! They're so wonderful - and we're praying and working very hard that the rest of their family will also be open to the gospel. We found out this week that this family is actually two families - and that the parents of the 3 girls who are the most interested (ages 9,12, and 14) are actually living in Russia, so we're praying for a miracle with that too. Their older brother is lives with them and is opening up to the gospel. It's been a bit hard trying to catch the whole family when they're all at home.
We're also still trying to work with the son and husband of S, a recent convert. They both have had smoking issues that have been hard to get rid of, and they've just been going through some hard times. S might be headed to Russia for a little while because her sister there is really sick. We've had some good experiences with them this past week though - her son came to the Larsen's FHE with us last Monday and really enjoyed being with the other single adults - and the Rindlessbacker's lesson was exactly what Andranik needed.
I don't know if you remember, but last transfer I wrote about a less active woman that we had been working with - whose granddaughter was an intvestigator at one time. There have been a lot of prayers and tears from the Center Sisters for that family the last 2 transfers. She finally came back to church this week, and it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. Her whole family has so much potential - and things are finally coming together for them.
This week my faith has really been strengthened in the fact that the Lord is truly over everything in His work. We had an experience this week while talking on our way home one night with a woman who was out walking her dog. When we introduced ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ, she said "You're young! Don't you have anything better to do? Shame on you!" and stormed off. Sister Bekmezian and I talked about that experience a little bit, and just how there is absolutely nothing better that we could be doing that what we are doing now. It reminded me of the scripture in Acts 5 when Peter and John have just been freed from prison, and a council who had - in a much more intense way than ours - given them the "shame on you" treatment. "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." We are truly so blessed to be counted worthy to be representatives of our Savior, and to have the opportunity every day to help others find out about the "good tidings of great joy" by testifying of the Savior and His restorted gospel every where that we are. He truly is the gift of Christmas and our message to the world. I love Him, and am so thankful that I get to spend this Christmas serving Him and watching a dear Armenian friend of mine make an eternal commitment to follow Him that will forever change her future.
I'm sure that you have all seen the "He is the Gift" video on lds.org, but I love the part that describes the type of gift that Christ is for us - a gift of love, a gift of life, a gift of peace, and a gift of hope. Through the Savior's Atonement - we truly do receive a gift of love from our Father in Heaven, a gift that gives us hope and peace. A gift so that we can "have life and have it more abundantly."
This is all just a hodge-podge of thoughts - but I hope that it communicates a little bit of how wonderful our Savior is, how much I love Him and am thankful for His birth, life, and Atonement, and how much He's doing for the people of Armenia right now. Love you all!