Mary looks wonderful!! She sent us some pictures with our Christmas package that I will post later.
She doesn't mention it here in her letter but she is a trainer! And to top it off her new mission trainee is Sister Nelson - who is from Brigham City!! To make this connection even more sweet - Sister Nelson's family lives next door to my sister, Ruth's sister - in-law and Linda (the sister in law) has been sharing Mary's letters with the Nelson's - so they feel like they know Mary just a little bit!! Tender Mercies!!!!!
We got to meet Sister Nelson for a minute this morning which was great! Mary also had several members of the branch there at the church so we got to see and be introduced to several of the wonderful people there who take care of Mary while she is away from home!!
Here is her letter for today -
Barev Family jan!
What a great time of year! After the last few days being warm, we were surprised and blessed to come home to snow last night! Another white, beautiful Christmas-for some of our missionaries, it may be the first and last white Christmas they ever have. How blessed we are! More than the snow, we are so blessed to be a part of this wonderful season-to be able to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The last two weeks, as we've passed out our Christmas oranges, I've come to realize how truly blessed we are. In general, the celebration of the new year is so much larger here, than the celebration of the Birth of Christ, (Ironic, isn't it? For the first Christian Nation?) and it has been such a blessing to be able to share the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with those who need a little more lifting. I would never have guessed that a simple orange could bring so many people to tears. These people are so dear to my heart! I just love them and I can't begin to express how much, nor can I imagine exactly how much more our Savior loves them, as I feel that I have only experienced such a small taste of that infinite love for them.
I never realized how truly great it would feel to be a missionary on Christmas until this morning, as I was studying from the birth and life of the Savior. Up until today, I just kept thinking how it didn't feel like December, let alone Christmas, then as I studied and thought about our Savior and the sacred privilege and responsibility we hold as missionaries, I couldn't help but be grateful and feel, once again, just how special it is to be here, serving these people. When I read from Luke, the joyful declaration of the angel to the shepherds-I couldn't help but think about how we, if we will give our heart and will to the Lord, can be angels, declaring "glad tidings of great joy." What a sacred calling we have! To stand as witnesses and declare to the world the joyfulness and truthfulness of this message-that Christ is living and guiding His church today! Wow! I pray I am fulfilling my calling! I know that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, that He came to carry each of us in our down times and to lift us higher than we could ever be lifted without Him. He is everything we have and I know He loves and cares for each of us one by one.
I am so grateful for each of you! For your testimonies and for sharing what we know, through example and word. You are my angels.
I love you all! Can't wait to talk with you!