Thursday, December 26, 2013

P-Day December 26, 2013

Hello!  Again!  For a second day in a row!

That will probably never happen again, but this is pretty cool.

Admittedly, I don't really know how much I'll write, since I wrote a lot last time, but I guess we'll see.  I do have..... eh..... approximately 45 minutes or so.

Um..... yes!  Christmas!

So, the first devotional we had was Christmas Eve, by Elder Evans of the Seventy.  He talked about communication, and writing, and speaking, only things that uplift us and edify us.  It was actually really neat.  It wasn't the type of talk you would expect for a Christmas devotional, but then he started talking about how Christ was only uplifting and edifying, and it really spoke to my heart.  We know that Christ was never mean or rude, but there is a difference between not being rude and being uplifting.  It makes me want to become more uplifting to others, rather than being nonchalant and indifferent.

After Christmas breakfast (which, by the way, the Honey Graham Os were AMAZING.  They totally made my breakfast morning.  And I've been good about what I've been eating here, just so you know.  I've had oatmeal every morning, and have fruit almost every meal.), and emailing time, our District went to choir practice, then watched a talent show, which was awesome!  It was just all sorts of fun, with people playing the piano upside down, changing lyrics to songs, a Yiddish bottle dance (yes, someone did that), even a magic show!  The magic show was great, but I think my favorite performance was done by a Russian Elder, who performed..... oh, I wish I had my notes with me!  I believe it was Prelude in A Minor by Bach on the organ.  It was SO gorgeous!  It's performances like that that made me wish that I stuck to piano lessons so that I could play the piano and organ.  maybe when I return home to my mission.  

And I laughed as I typed that last sentence, because I pretty much know that will probably never happen.

We then had lunch (potatoes and turkey-- not bad, but it wasn't my favorite meal), and went back to the gymnasium to listen to our Christmas Devotional.

And our General Authority?

Elder Bednar!!!!!!  Just as the rumor had it!

It was actually really interesting.  He spent probably the first 10 minutes or so talking about good questions, and how they differed from better (inspired) questions.  He then did something that had not been done before for a devotional: he passed out 200 cell phones to the congregation, and spent the rest of the devotional answering our questions that we could text to him.  At first, I was trying really hard to think of a question, because it's not every day that you have the opportunity to ask an APOSTLE of the Lord a question.  But as I started panicking because I couldn't think of one, the Spirit gently reminded me that there is a time and place for everything, and that that day I should simply just absorb whatever he and his wife said (she answered a couple of questions).  I think the one quotation that stood out to me the most is that Sister Bednar said that "Despair is the Adversary's tool"   What true words!  When we start to judge ourselves too hard, the Adversary can use it to manipulate us little be little, until we reach the point that it is us being the Devils tools rather than our criticism. (This was the context the word "dispair" is used, as in we're turning against ourselves, being too harsh on ourselves.  Or that's at least how I understood it.)

Also, the choir (us) sang this GORGEOUS song called "Where Shepards Lately Knelt" at the devotional.  If you have an opportunity to, go look the song up.  The lyrics are so incredible!

Up until that point, I had been feeling the spirit all day.  The District went up to our classroom to discuss the devotional for about an hour, then headed back down for another performance.  This time, it was a Jazz band formed by Ray Smith called...... ah, can't remember.

For some reason, I just couldn't feel the Spirit in there.  Like, yeah, the music was great, and I actually had a lot of fun talking to Elder Horne about music (turns out that he's more of a band geek than I thought), but.... the Spirit just didn't seem to be there for me.  

Afterwards, we had dinner in the Residence Halls, and then headed back to the gymnasium one last time to watch last years Christmas Performance that MoTab did with Alfie Boe.

I wanted to feel the Spirit, I really did.  But it was SO HARD with everyone talking!  I admit that even I slipped and let my conversation wander off the performance more than a couple of times.  The chatter became bad enough that the MTC President actually muted the movie/dvd/whatever you want to call it to ask us to quiet down, which made me feel awful.  I definitely worked hard to pay better attention to the performance from that point on, but inside, I knew that I wasn't feeling the Spirit as much as I wanted to.

So, long story short: The first half of Christmas day lived up to my expectations.  The second half didn't.  

Ah!  before I forget; for Christmas, the Sisters and I decided that we should give the Elders pictures of them that we drew for Christmas, and wrote a small note on the back of the picture.  They loved it!  And then felt guilty afterwards for not doing anything for us.  We just laughed at it.

Well, that's about all I can think of!  I'm doing amazing here, and I love you all!

With Love,

Sister Empey

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