I’ve got lots of pictures today!

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Buenas tardes!

This week we had lots of meetings – and one of them was a mission-wide Spanish Conference. Presidente Passey asked me to give a training on speaking the language (Hable Su Idioma) and it was really fun! Presidente Gonzales and Hermano Wright from the El Rio Branch also came to give trainings on the hispanic culture and the fundamentals of effective study of a language. It was very helpful and really fun to see all the spanish missionaries together!

I’m not going to say that this will be my last week in El Rio… but maybe I should so that I can stay another transfer! We’re going to have changes come early this time and will find out what will happen with transfers this coming Saturday. I’m so grateful to have served here in El Rio for so long! I’ve really felt recently that the time the Lord has given me to serve here has helped me develop a deep love for these people and their goodness. The members here are incredible; Hermana Gregory and I saw several miracles happen this week as members called us up and asked about our investigators and how they’re doing. These people truly feel the urgency of the work and are anxious to help!
Speaking of which, there were several other miracles that happened this week. One of my favorites happened on Friday, when Hermana Gregory and I went to an “appointment with the Lord.” This is something we do as missionaries to find people who are looking for the gospel. Last Friday, when we were planning what we’d do the coming week, we promised Heavenly Father to be at a specific place at a specific hour that Friday to find a family composed of a mother, father, and two children. We went and walked around the apartment complex looking for them. We both felt prompted to go towards the rear end of the complex, and there we felt to knock a certain door. No one was home, but as we were walking away, we spotted a woman on a balcony reading silently. We called out to her and began talking about Christmas, her life, and the way Heavenly Father blesses families. Her name is Nicci, and she has a husband and two sweet little daughters. She invited us to return later that day to continue talking with her about the gospel. Our prayer had been answered! There was no way that we would have found her if we hadn’t knocked that certain door. As we visited with Nicci and her two small daughters that afternoon in her little homey apartment, we were literally filled with joy to discover through her story that she has been incredibly prepared for the gospel. She is a faithful woman striving to bless her family and bring them to Christ. I know that Heavenly Father answers the prayers of His faithful children by sending missionaries to them. I also know that He answers our specific, faith-filled prayers. He wants to reward our righteous desires! When He says, “ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened,” He truly means it!
This Christmas season, let the righteous desires you have grow and swell within your heart. Someone, I can’t remember who exactly, mentioned in our recent General Conference “feed your desire to be a better follower of Jesus Christ.” I promise that that is something you can do! Let the spirit of Christmas work within you to make you the very best “you” you can be. Draw upon the power of the atonement and let Him change your very nature. As the “He is the Gift” video says, embrace the gift. I promise that these changes will fill you with joy! I don’t know if there is anything much more satisfying than seeing your very own nature, or that of another person that you love, become more like Christ.
I love you all! Thank you for all of your righteous desires and the good, loving people that you are. Have a wonderful week. πŸ™‚
Con amor,
Hermana Sutherland πŸ™‚
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Look at this great group of missionaries! These were some pictures we took after Mission Leader Conference this week. πŸ™‚
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We had a really great progressive dinner with the Relief Society on Saturday for Christmas! Look at all of these sweet, beautiful ladies. πŸ™‚

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I went on exchanges this last week with Hermana Flake, an excellent sister, in Sahuaro! We helped the Fierro family decorate their tree and took some fun pictures. It was so good to see them again. πŸ™‚
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Our little trio – Hermana Blackford and I were reunited!! We hadn’t seen each other since April, and it just so worked out that she stayed with us overnight for the Mission Leader Conference. It was fun to work with her again!
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And, last but not least, we took a picture with our investigator, Diana Cruz, after church on Sunday. Isn’t her family adorable? πŸ™‚

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