Howdy Partner(s)?! I hope y’all had a really good Christmas and that you were able to reflect on the Christ, and his life. I had an amazing Christmas! On Christmas Eve we went over to the Bake home and had a Puerto Rican dinner and fiesta with a bunch of families in the ward. On Christmas morning I kept the tradition rolling and made some crepes for Sister Peterson and myself. After that we went around our apartment complexes and put out some Christmas pass along cards on all the doors. Then I got to go to the Holt’s to Skype my beautiful family! Man, I am blessed to have the best family in the world. After that we went to Sister Franklin’s to make a Christmas dinner with her! She is single, and coming back to church and I just love her. We ate a yummy meal with Gladys Knight’s Christmas album playing the back. (emoji of the thumb and pointer finger making a circle while the other three fingers are up) Christmas night we went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting to support April, our investigator, in downtown Raleigh. It. Was. Awesome. April s a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and is coming up on her 5th year of being sober! Every Friday she goes and picks some ladies up from a healing place and takes them to the meeting. We were locked out of the church they usually meet in so we met outside in the church court yard. (Thank goodness it was about 80 degrees that day) It was a really neat experience being in that meeting. I loved being able to hear everyone’s fears, temptations, and triumphs. Everyone was so open and genuine and I felt Christ-like love for each person there. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.
Saturday APRIL WAS BAPTIZED! Oh my goodness I love her. Her husband and kids aren’t members, and haven’t been very interested in investigating the church, but I know they will in the future 🙂 Timing is everything and I think it just is not their time yet. After April was baptized and the talks were given, April and her husband Nathan were both able to share their testimonies. April went first and talked about her recovery and how God lead her through it, and has been leading her ever since. April was in a major accident because of her addictions and was put into the hospital with a severely broken back and other complications. After the accident started her process of recovery. She read a quote by Bill Wilson (Founder of Alcoholic Anonymous) in her testimony that said, “I was catapulted into a spiritual experience, which gave me the capability of feeling the presence of God, His love, and His omnipotence. And most of all, His personal availability to me.” I love that quote. She bore a beautiful testimony. Afterward Nathan bore his testimony and shared his experiences when April was going through her addictions and recovery. He shared Romans 8:28 and how, because of that scripture, he was able to get through any trial the Lord had placed open him. His testimony was sweet and pure and I know that he will remember that experience and I am glad it was a positive for him with the church.
Hermana Ibarra, Hermana Reike, Sister Wilson and her companion Sister Toalup were all able to come to the baptism! So I was able to see my last two companions! The Wood family invited us all over for dinner so that was a lot of fun!
There were so many amazing experiences this week including our new investigators, Phara and John coming to church and bringing their 3-year-old son Moses Noah! They have been reading their scriptures and want to be baptized!
I was able to share a poem on Christmas with my family that just has spoken to my soul, and has helped me understand our Savior at a more intimate level. Elder Michael Duplisea, and Elder in this mission who is now home wrote it.
THIS IS THE POEM:
Before Jesus came, we each lived in jails-
Our sins were the mortar, the bricks and rails.
We molded the chains and put up the gate,
Waiting for justice to bring us our fate.
We sat in the gall of bitter regret,
Languishing, waiting to pay for our debt.
The days turned to months, the months turned to years,
As guild racked our souls with terrible fears,
Then, to our surprise, a knock at the door,
summoned us up from our dungeon room floor.
We ran to the gate and peered through the crack,
With Jesus of Nazareth staring back.
“If you let me in, I’ll fix all this mess,
And lift off the weight you’ve got on your chest.”
We opened the door and inside He stepped,
And held us so near as each of us wept.
He went right to work and unhooked our chains,
And lovingly soothed our aches and our pains.
We fell at His feet and thanked Him with tears,
For ending the bondage we’d suffered for years.
He wiped them away with merciful hands,
And placed on His wrists our cast-iron bands.
“But that isn’t right – the sinner was I!
Certainly I am the one that must die.”
“No,” He replied, “for that isn’t the case,
This is a punishment you cannot face.
I’ll put on your chains and serve out the time
That you have incurred for every crime.”
“What can I do to repay thee for good?”
“Nothing,” He told us, “for you never could.
But now that you’re free, I must ask of you,
To do all the things you know I would do.
“To live like I’d live and love like I’d love,
Follow the voice of your Father above.
Speak kind, gentle words when others are not,
And give even more than what you have got.
You’ll live out my life and I’ll live out yours,
And you won’t be trapped by these prison doors.”
“But what if I fail? I know I am weak.
Without Thy great help, my future is bleak.”
“Don’t worry,” He said, “I’ve paid for your sin.
Repent and move on and grace will flood in.
I’ll be by your side and help you along,
For where you are weak, my mercy is strong.
The blood that I shed, the pains that I felt,
Have covered the blows that justice had dealt.
I died just for you, so you’ll live for me.
Prisoner,” He said, “You now can go free.”
I hope you enjoyed this poem as much as I did, and that you are having an amazing Christmas season! I love you and I know of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s love for you. Have a blessed week!
Sister Nyia Hanseen
-dinner with the Sisters
-Sister Peterson, April and I
-ME AND APRIL
-Edoardo and I!