Merry Christmas everyone!!!!
How great is life right now? I am 20 (AKA the prime of my life), in the middle of my mission (AKA the prime of your mission), doing missionary work (AKA the prime calling), at Christmas time (AKA the prime time to do missionary work!) Life is perfect. No complaints from Maribor.
My birthday was SO GREAT!! The second the alarm went off, I heard HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER HIGGINS! from Sister N. haha. SO cute. We went out into the hall way where she had decorated our house for my special day. I could have cried. She probably has heard me talk about my most memorable gift ever from my mom (with help from my sister) which involved photos. She printed 20 photos of us together and hung them on the wall. They are probably staying up for the rest of the transfer haha. I was so happy. It was the most thoughtful gift she could have given me. A little while later, after she made me palačinke, she let me open a gift she had gotten me. It was a new tea pot. I love it! It was such a special morning.
Then we drove to Croatia for a zone conference combined with the Bosnia missionaries. That was probably the best thing thus far on my mission! On the way there, I received the most amazing cake! From a member in Celje who had remembered my birthday. I LOVE HER! I was so happy. She also wrote me a cute note. When we got into zagreb we sat down to start meetings. Elder Petersen (we were in the MTC together) and I were BOTH celebrating our birthdays on the 17th so both zones led by President Grant sung happy birthday to us. It was so much fun. After a couple hours of meetings, we split up into smaller groups and went caroling in Croatian around center. That was so cool!! I even went and contacted a few people in Croatian. Then we were free to go and explore downtown Zagreb for a few hours. They had an incredible Christmas market with so many fun things to buy. I went inside the most AMAZING Catholic church and looked at all the beautiful things around center. Elder Petersen and I bought a treat for our birthday cake... I can't really describe it but it is a Croatian thing that is SOOOOO GOOD! Plus it was warm, so I was happy. That night at the mission home we sang carols and read the Christmas story. It was such a special spirit being in a room full of missionaries and talking and singing about the mission of the Savior. It was for sure a birthday I will never ever forget!!!
This weekend we had our branch Chrismas party! That was a lot of fun to see the members celebrating the birth of our Savior as well. President Grant happened to be there and had all the members sing happy birthday to me in Slovene. That was cool and I loved it. I loved hearing about all of the ward Christmas programs at home today. We also had one. I am going to be awesome at planning programs and Christmas dinners some day! I was able to read part of the Christmas story and bear my testimony of Jesus Christ as part of it. I love doing that in Slovene. It was such a good program!
The truth is, there is no better place to be than on a mission at Christmas. The spirit of giving gifts at Christmas is the desire to bring joy into others' lives. As a missionary, my role is to bring the gospel (AKA the greatest joy ever) into other's lives. How great is my calling? I know that I am giving the best Christmas gift ever every time I invite people to come unto christ here in Maribor, Slovenia. I am so thankful that this is my calling this year for Christmas. I love devoting every second of every day to our Savior. The best gift to give Him! The spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Missionary work go hand in hand. They complement each other beautifully. The love of and for our Savior are the motivating factors behind both of them and it is my sincere privilege to be a part of this work at this time.
I cannot wait until Friday to see and talk to my favorite faces! I love you all! merry Christmas or Vesel Božič