December 22, 2015
It has been such an amazing week. Filled with blessings and amazing people. We met a less active member named Shauna. At first she was really stand offish and short with us but we connected in the fact that she taught 3rd grade (so does Momma J) and by the end we had some pretty incredible conversations and she has a desire to come back to church. We also helped a part member family move out of their house this week! I love doing service but I never want to move.  We got three new investigators this week. One is a guy named Adam. He is very very very intelligent and he knows about the church- almost too much. He did a report on mormonism in college and instead of looking up online he  decided to search it out by reading the Book of Mormon and attending church. He now wants to study it for religion and not to get an A in the class. His girlfriend (who he has been living with for 10 years) is really... not interested. She doesn't like us. We also met a cute couple. Jeremiah and Jorjanna. They  have a 2 year old daughter... also not married. They have taken the lessons  before and we are starting to teach them again. Jeremiah is literally a twin of Justin Farnsworth- look the same, talk the same, and like the  same things. I haven't been around Justin a lot but it is WEIRDDDDD. We also taught four other less actives that  day. Our other investigator- Maria, Adolfo, Reymundo, Jacob, and Bart- are doing well, still working on the law of chastity issue. There is a theme in our investigators- NOT MARRIED. Jodi (an investigator) is doing alright. We haven't been able to meet with her in a while. Abraham and Isaac (investigators- brothers) are doing well. It is hard to teach them because their parents aren't helping or changing their ways but they come to church every week! We also have some amazing potentials that will hopefully be investigators this week. Here is the  run down of them:
Francis: He is from Africa, speaks French, has a wife and at least two kids. Super nice and really interested. There is just a slight language barrier. Good thing we have supplies in French and members in the ward who can speak it as well.
Valerie: Comes to church every week, had dinner with her in a members home, pays tithing, her ex husband is a member. She is so great and we call her every week. We are closer and closer to  teaching her!
the Marsh family: John (the dad) is a less active and the rest of his family are nonmembers. They had a really PRETTY Christmas decorated house so we told them they  had "house of the year." They liked us after that and we are going to see them again this week!
Susan: We received a  referral for her this week. We stopped by and she was busy so we set up a time to meet this Wednesday at 3. :)
Lisa: Came to the relief society dinner and the ward party. She is best friends with a member and this member introduced us to her!

People get so caught up in the present buying, food making, plan setting, travel timing that we forget that Christmas is even possible because of Christ. I feel so blessed to be able to spend Christmas in the mission field not only once, but twice. We as missionaries (not to brag or anything) don't have to worry about all the stressful aspects of the Holiday season. We have one day a week to shop- if we even think about buying anything. We as missionaries have the great opportunity to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. However, we have an even greater opportunity to invite people to slow down during the busy and crowded season of Christmas and to focus on why it is even possible to celebrate. I love Christmas time. I love how the world is able to take time to give, to love, to spend quality time together, and to really reflect on the life and ministry of our Savior. As I have pondered these things over the last week I have also thought about motivation. The Holidays give us motivation to reach out, to share, and to serve. At the start of the new year we have motivation to be more healthy, be more organized, and budget well. At the beginning of a new school semester we are more motivated to use time wisely, get good grades, and attend all of our classes. We also receive motivation to do missionary work, to have good study habits, and to become better people as we listen to General Conference. When mission presidents hold a conference for missionaries they leave feeling more motivated to be obedient, to talk with everyone, and a greater desire to do the Lord's will. Why does it take these kinds of situations to make us feel motivated? How can we continue to feel these motivational changes throughout the day, the week, and the year so that our resolutions will last longer than a month? Is it our love, our compassion, and our humility that motivate us? Or is it greediness, envy, and peer influence that motivate us? In the Book of Mormon, Alma is grieving because of the iniquity of his people so he declares that his sons should be gathered so he can give each of them some commandments. He tells his son Helaman of their past ancestors who we know as Lehi (and his family) when they were traveling from Jerusalem to the Promised Land with the Liahona (a compass that worked by exercising faith). In Alma 37: 40,41,43 it says, "And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day. Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey... for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual." The biggest thing that motivates us is ourselves. It is literally an inner drive that causes us to act and it is all caused because we set goals whether we actually mean to or not. During the Christmas time we recognize that there are people who are suffering so we make a goal to help others or to be nice. At the New Year we set goals to change, same for school. After General Conference and meetings with the mission president we set goals on how we can improve. Goal setting is great but we can't wait until the end of the year or the end of our missions to reflect on the outcome of those goals because we will only come to realize that we "forgot to exercise our faith and diligence... and  we did not progress in our journey." One of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has blessed us with is agency. Sometimes we become slothful and we forget to exercise faith in the goal we have set, but the greatest part about agency is we can choose to exercise that faith the next day. Motivation will come as we really put effort into the goals we set. Short term goals- that are measurable and attainable. Not goals that have to wait 365 days to be acknowledged. And I am definitely not against bribery. Bribes are great incentives. ;)

I love you so much and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!! xoxoxooxoxxo

Sister Rodda

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