Be Brave

December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

 Well… almost. :) Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Christmas – Sister Cox and I had a quiet holiday, which was nice after running around so much. I had a lot of time to reflect, which was something I really needed. I got another ‘trunky letter’ on Christmas eve (worst Christmas gift, EVER, President Hall!!), so I spent a lot of our spare time journaling and recording thoughts about the last few months of my mission. It’s crazy to think of where I was a year ago.
 On Christmas eve we had dinner with our elders at the Bishop’s house, which was fun. We got to know Elder Jacobson a little better, and all three of us were focused on making his first Christmas in the field a memorable one. We got to play secret Santa after dinner to a family in our ward, and had a race of who could knock on the door and get out of the apartment complex the fastest, leaving a pile of gifts on their doorstep. Surprisingly, Sister Cox won, mostly because she just threw out her elbows and plowed between Elder Mathews and Elder Jacobson. :)
Christmas day was fun as well. We had decided to go caroling as a district, which failed miserably because NO ONE was home, so we all ended up going to a little café in North Hollywood and ordering hot cocoa and chatting until we all had to rush off to dinner. Not what we had planned, but it was really nice to be able to have a little ‘family’ time with all of our elders. We had dinner with a family that we love, which was really fun. Sasha is from Jamaica, and Juan Carlos is from the Bronx, so it was a lot of fun. And their son had apparently told everyone at church that we were coming to HIS house for dinner, to make them all jealous.
It was a simple, humble Christmas, but those are the ones that mean the most. It honestly didn’t feel like Christmas for most of the day. Maybe it was the weather? Sister Cox and I stopped on our way home from skyping her family to get slurpees at 7-11, so that was probably part of it. Not particularly Christmassy, but fun nevertheless. :)
We were all over the place this week, it felt like. Hannukah leftovers with a part-member family (score!), helping a sister in the ward pack up her apartment, spending time teaching our investigators, and trying to help people feel the Christmas spirit.
 We had an awesome lesson with our investigator, Andrea, this week. Andrea is one of the strongest people I’ve met in California. She has been through so much, and yet has so much faith and such a desire to draw closer to God. She’s really struggling right now with everything going on in her life financially and with her family, and while we were talking, she just said simply, “I want God because I want to be brave.” That has stuck with me all week.  I love the aspect of the Atonement that helps us to be brave, to truly rely on Christ with the knowledge that with Him, we can do anything. I love that! That’s what the Gospel is about, being brave. Brave enough to take a leap of faith. Brave enough to open your mouth and share what you know to be true. Brave enough to do the right thing. I’ve learned a lot about being brave on my mission, and I’m so grateful for it. And most of what I’ve learned is from the example of other people, which has really helped me to change the way I see being brave. And I realized, above all else, God wants us to be brave, to have the courage to follow him despite the adversities and trials that we face each day. I want to be brave.
 Otherwise, not a ton going on this week. It’s been a blessing to look back over the past year and get ready for another year ahead, and make the most of the next few months I have in the field. I love being a missionary, and I love being able to just work hard and pound the pavement. Oh, and trying to be brave.
Love you!
Sister Redner
 PS – would have sent pictures, but I forgot my camera at our apartment. Fail on my part.

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