Remember, Christ our Savior, was born on Christmas day,
to save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray,
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and Joy.
Yes my dears. Christmas has come and gone. I can´t help but feel a little sad that the time has come and past. Weeks of anticipation and even years of hoping for a Christmas in German has come and gone. leaving only behind the many, many Christmas cookies yet to be eaten.
That and a new sort of perspective.
You know what I am talking about, this perspective that we try to hold on to amid the cold of morning frost or too hot cups of chocolate. Milling through a field of sparkling wrapping paper, and hang stars from highest boughs.
Christmas is a day that happens to be on the 25th ( or 24th) of December. It is composed of a morning and a night, twenty four hours filled with seconds, hours and minutes. It is started with waking up and ended with going to sleep. Christmas is a regular day, another 24 hour cycle of the sun and moon working their dance of light and dark.
But I can hear your thinking as you are reading this, What a regular day? What is this crazy missionary talking about.
Hold on one moment and let me explain.

Christmas is a normal day made extraordinary through our intentions. Our thoughts and traditions, our celebrations, our mistletoe and Christmas trees. It is made special because of the cards we send and the nativity that are acted out. By pipe cleaner halos and stories read from Luke.
It is Christmas because of a star in the sky and lit candles on a frozen balcony in a college town in Germany accompanied by two quiet voices singing Silent Night from a little brown hymn book purchased three days before she left to change her life in the service of God.
Christmas, the twenty fifth of December is extraordinary because of angels voices to poor shepherds and the little person lying new and innocent and important in a feeding stall.
Christmas is what it is because of how we change our hearts.

Just as others have said and just as I knew. This Christmas will be one I never forget. I will remember handing out Christmas cards to anyone who would take the bit of red with a Christmas star. I will remember the sound of trumpets cutting through frozen air in a little city square. I will remember reading the Christmas story in Spanish on Christmas eve. I will remember carols sung as I played a well meaning, but lackluster electric piano. I will remember doing legos with 7 year olds and making a rather large pot of chili con carne. I will remember finding the first aid kit for minor head wounds. I will remember costumes with bed sheets, and paper Christmas trees. I will remember seeing my family on a happy Christmas screen. I will remember lots of gratitude and even more giving. I will remember singing and unwrapping. inviting and praying.
I am glad that these are my gifts to ponder in my heart.
Happy New Year this week.
I send my love…

Oh good tidings of comfort and Joy.
Love, Sister Gardner

Calee Skype call

Christmas Skype call to the Family

Christmas Pic

The Family loving the call.

What Happened this week: “The lineup”
Christmas eve.
10:00- R (lesson)
14:00- M and C
(brass concert in the city square)
(musical program with missionaries and family members)
(Christmas cookies)
18:00- J
(meeting at bahnhof)
(praying if we should invite him)

We were meeting with an investigator before we needed to go to a members house for dinner. We meet him at bahnhof just to wish him a Merry Christmas and he surprised us by bringing us a big bag of treats and fruit juices. It was so nice. We found out that we would be taking the same train in a half an hour. He was doing nothing for Christmas and would be heading home. We took the bag home and picked up the gifts we had made for the family that night and as we were going, we had this idea that we could see if he could come with us. But we did not want to intrude upon the family. We ended up saying a prayer about it and then searching in the scriptures for an answer, we both had received that prompting. So we decided to at least ask. And the family was happy to welcome him. We told him when we got back and he was so, so happy. He spent Christmas within the home of a family when he would have been alone. The father and him really got a long well and now J has a ride to church every Sunday. It was really a Christmas miracle. I am glad that we helped him have Christmas when he would have been alone. Also I felt, it was showing how members and missionaries work in unison. (happy Christmas with the A family)

Yesterday after church we were finally able to get in contact with the Armenian mission so that they can help us teach our investigator in her own language. There was a knock at the church door. We go to see who is there and then is a young tall Chinese man. We open the door and ask him what he needs. He was looking for the bishop and had a BYU application in his hand. We gave him the number of the bishop so that he could get in contact and a card for the video. We finished up with the skype plan and went out to the bus stop. He was still there, waiting for his bus. Earlier I had explained that I had been attending BYU and then as we started talking again. I thought to ask if we could meet so that I could tell him about the culture and the beliefs of the Church, because it heavily shapes the experience of students that go to BYU. He has no religion, but a friend of his mothers said that BYU is a good place to study. So he is applying for the Biology program. We have an appointment. I never would have thought that there would be a connection like that. God planned that we would be at the church when he came, and he gave me even a second chance to really help him become a potential as the man was still waiting at the bus stop. I really feel God wanted this to happen. Time shall tell the outcome.
(scone and gifts)
(S Family)
(R Family)
(skype calls)
crepes breakfast with S Family.
Christmas party for all the people who had no place to go.

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