Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 21, 2015

Sorry it's gonna be short today - but I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! It's been beautiful preparing for this wonderful holiday, with ward programs, community projects, decorations, anonymous gifts, caroling, and best of all, teaching about the Savior. I love sharing the message of his gospel, teaching people about the joyous news of its Restoration and how we can experience it's promised blessings here and now. We went tracting last night, inviting people to the annual Calgary Christmas pageant produced by the church. At one door we had invited this family, and gotten a return appointment. As we left, I casually said "Merry Christmas!" And I will never forget the look on this man's face as he paused and said how he would much rather hear Merry Christmas, then the typical happy holidays. He thanked us for simply saying "Merry Christmas." I think we sometimes take for granted the tiny opportunities throughout our day to stand for our beliefs in a world that is turning farther and farther away from Christ. How blessed we are to know the reason for the season, to know the significance of his birth and subsequent life. All because a Father loved us enough to give His Son as an enabling sacrifice for sin. We have great reasons to declare with the angels, "Hosanna! Glory to God in the Highest, and peace on earth, good will to men!"
"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son ... And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given."    (3 Nephi 1:13-14)
I would like to leave you with my testimony that I know my Savior lives! I know Jesus Christ is the son of God, and that he has shown us the way to find the greatest peace and purpose in this life and eternal joy in the next. I know he experienced all our pains, sorrows, struggles, temptations - He knows how to help us become better. It is through using his atonement that we can become clean from the burden of sin. I am so grateful for him, and I love him with all my heart.

Merry Christmas!!

Lots of love,
Sister Patterson

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 14, 2015

Hey everyone!

So guess what?! Transfer calls came out and neither Sister Page nor I are moving!!! SO happy. :)

We have been trying to keep busy - turns out the holiday season is both good and bad for missionary work. Good because we can go around sharing "Christmas messages," but bad because more people are out of town, or just "busy." Oh well. :) Our zone had a fun finding idea, where every few days we meet up together and go caroling in someone's area. We use the church's pass along cards for "A Savior is Born" and look for opportunities to come back and share a Christmas message. So far it's been really fun, and people seem to be more open to that approach. :)

This past Sunday there was a homecoming talk for a sister in one of the wards we cover. She served in the New York, New York mission. She spent half her mission in Harlem. As she spoke, you could tell she had a really rough time, that the mission was a fiery furnace. She described the unkind words and actions directed towards her, and how in a city of millions, she had never felt so alone. And yet, she has also never felt so close to the Savior as during that time. So when people spit upon and mock and persecute us missionaries, whether figuratively or literally, we are experiencing a small portion of what Jesus Christ went through, and unlike His own experience, He will never leave us to bear it alone. And I can testify that that is all true.

We had a stake carol festival, with a couple hours of just musical performances by various groups. It was a fantastic experience! So many people came, even a lot of nonmembers from the community. It's always beautiful to see how the Christmas season brings people together from all walks of life, Christ is always a unifying influence for good. One of the songs sung was called "what if the cradle was empty." The song gave a beautiful reminder that if he hadn't been born, there would have been an empty cross. How grateful I am for this season of remembrance and celebration of our Savior Jesus Christ, knowing that because he was born, we can all be born again.

I hope you all have a good week and are enjoying the season!

Lots of love and prayers,
Sister Sarah Patterson