December 27, 2016 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Dear Family and Friends,

I know that is a cheesy statement (my subject line) but it is truth.
This week has been filled with singing, great food, and spiritual upliftment. I started this week with a special Christmas zone conference type thing on Tuesday. My zone and the Lebanon Zone got together and we had a Christmas dinner, which was really good, and a talent show. My favorite was the 12 days of Christmas-missionary style. They talked about dogs barking, oyming (opening your mouth), walking, holes in shoes, new greenies, and so on. It was awesome. Two of the Elders in my zone and then me and my companion and the YSA sisters all sang O Come O Come Emmanuel. That was fun. Sister Hanna played the violin to accompany (she is one of the YSA sisters). It was a great time that we had to gather together and strengthen one another through our talents.
We also went Caroling on Wednesday with the youth in our ward. They were going around in a bus collecting food for one of the organizations here in Salem. It was fun and really cold because we had the windows rolled down so that as we drove around people could hear us singing. It was a really neat experience and we were able to get a decent amount of food from members in our ward.
Then on Friday I had ZTM. The spirit was really strong and the focus was on obedience and the power and strength that comes from being obedient. Later that afternoon we went over to a members home and helped them make cookies for their family function and cleaned her house so that she could come home afterwards to a clean home. It was really fun to do and their family is so sweet. Then we had a lesson with our investigators Diane and Ed and they surprised us with their marriage license! They have set the date for January 14 and Diane already bought a dress and they asked the Bishop to marry them. I am so excited and we are one step closer to them being able to be baptized. They have come so far and it is amazing.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas I did a lot of caroling and there was one experience where we sang to our Relief Society President’s neighbors and the one didn’t answer the door but there was a man standing outside at the house next door and we were able to talk to him about our beliefs. His were very similar and he has had some amazing experiences in his life that have brought him closer to God. You never know where the Lord will put someone in your path that needs you, but I know that that is where we needed to be.
As I have been out I have seen the way that the world can overpower the true meaning of Christmas and I have been able to share with people the things that my family has done to make Christ the center of Christmas and the strength that has come from doing that. I have loved being able to share the good news this Christmas. I know that this gospel blesses lives and that when we focus on Christ, we are headed on the path to peace. And that applies to all year, not just Christmas. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and that you all have a great start to the new year.
Love,
Sister Elizondo
Oregon Salem Mission
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