It sure doesn't feel like Christmas here. I think this will be the first Christmas I will be sweating in the hot sun since I was born! I'm used to my Michigan Christmases!!! But it will be a good Christmas :) We are going to spend Christmas with Irmã Rose and I'm excited because she is planning a big Christmas feast! Also I get to skype you all! That will be the best part!
This week was so good! We had a Zone Conference with President and Sister Klein and during the conference we took a break to visit a zoo. So the zoo was pretty lame, but it is all that Boa Vista has to offer. The cool part was getting to play with a jaguar. Actually, only the Elders petted the jaguar because he didn't like the sisters. I was nervous and President Klein said that the jaguar didn't like me because he could smell my fear!
I have ever better news: our new chapel was finally dedicated!!! It is so so beautiful and it was an emotional day for many members that have waited for years to have a nice meeting house. 16 years to be exact. I know that Heavenly Father has a timing for everything and He really wants Boa Vista to grow. I don't know if I've already told you this before, but Boa Vista is the only Brazilian capital that is still a district, not a stake. Wow, right? That knowledge leaves me feeling even more grateful for the privilege and opportunity to serve here. I know that this new chapel will bring many miracles! And I'm grateful to be the missionary to witness so many wonderful changes here in preparation for the work to accelerate even more.
I also made the decision this week to do personal progress again, but in Portuguese! I hope to finish in 9 months before I come home. Mom I want you and Alli to do it with me! You don't have to do as fast as me, but you can write to me about your experiences (because a lot of personal progress has to do with talking to someone about your experience) and we can even do some experiences together! After reading a little bit today about the Personal Progress program I realized, oh my gosh this is so great! Everything in the program helps young women keep a temple focused mind and helps them prepare to be good wives and mothers. I think when I was in the young women's program I thought personal progress was optional, but I did it anyways because I wanted to. Of course we have our agency, but I don't view this program as "optional" today. Personal Progress is a great opportunity to become better and strengthen our testimonies of Jesus Christ. It helps us develop habits of scripture study and prayer. We SHOULD complete personal progress. It is not only for young women of the church, but for ALL women! And for women above the age 18, we can complete personal progress to help others also complete personal progress. So Alli and mom, are ya with me?
This week we've been sharing the message of Christ's birth with the members here in Bos Vista. I especially love the account in Luke 2 with the shepherds that received "good tidings of great joy" from an angel of the Lord. And after they received those good tidings, Luke records:
I love the shepards reaction to the good news. They did not say, "First let's take a nap" or "How about tomorrow we see the Savior". The shepards did not wait, but the left their flocks imediately and went "with haste". They said to one another "let us go NOW". Today the good news we have is the gospel of Jesus Christ. His life and atoning sacrifice was the greatest gift ever given. This Christmas season let us be like the angel sharing good tidings of great joy with our neighbors. Let us work and share and serve with haste and enthusiasum like the shepards!
People will wonder at the things you tell them about the gospel. About the unique message we share about the Restoration of the gospel. About eternal families. About priesthood blessings. As members of the church we are the ONLY people that have the gospel in it's fulness. I think the greatest gift of all that we can share this holiday season and in the year to come is to share the gospel. We need to be examples. Seek opportunities to serve. And when we do, others will feel the love of Christ. They will want to know Him because they know us and in turn we will be blessed. And we do not want to delay those blessings.
I know that this church is true. I cannot deny the feeling in my heart. Truly the Holy Ghost testifies of truth even when we already know. I love that. I finished the Book of Mormon again on the mission and to be honest I felt silly kneeling in prayer to fulfill Moroni's promise again because I already knew it was true. But we should never cease to seek spiritual confirmations, even when we know. I love the Book of Mormon. I love how it compliments the Bible. I love my Heavenly Father and I'm grateful for how merciful He has been with me in my life. I'm grateful for one Christmas as a missionary. There is no greater job in the world! I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.
I love you all! Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Com Amor e carinho,
Sister Hayley Jensen