Monday, December 15, 2014

Staying in Bay Roberts!


I hope Mom's recovery is going smoothly. I'm staying in Bay Roberts with Sister Mangelson for another transfer. This will be the longest I have been in one area. At the end of this next transfer I will have been here for six months. I got Mom's package a couple weeks ago, just forgot to tell her last week that I got it. Thank you! No snow here. I hope you have a white Christmas! The chances here are pretty slim. It's been fairly mild the past couple days. Tell David congrats on his bio exam! That's awesome!(David scored 100% on his biology final.)
The nativity display ended last night. I attached some pictures of it for you. We had over 230 nativity displays from all around the world. Pretty neat! We were able to share the He is the Gift and The Nativity videos with everyone that came in. 
We had a Christmas Zone Conference on Friday. We watched Meet the Mormons, had a white elephant gift exchange and had a visit from Santa and his elf (aka the Assistants). Afterwards a bunch of us went downtown St. John's to sing some Christmas hymns. 
Will 12:00 your time work for you all to Skype on Christmas? It will only be 45 minutes long.
Hope you have a good week! Stay warm! Love you!

These are some of the nativity scenes from the displays.


December 8 2014

This week has been an unusual one. We spent a lot of time preparing for the nativity display. We set up over 200 nativity sets, Christmas decorations, lights, and fake snow. It truly is beautiful! Last night we watched the Christmas devotional amid all the nativities. It was a neat experience. We participated in a town parade on Saturday in which we handed out candy and invites to the nativity.

Last week we met a woman outside her home while we were knocking (on that same street I told you about last week that we couldn't find forever). She invited us in to watch the Joy to the World DVD with her, her friend, and her two daughters. It was an answer to my prayers as well as hers. Hearts are truly softened at Christmas time. It is such a blessing!

We had a powerful branch testimony meeting yesterday. I felt the Spirit so strongly as the few members that were there shared their testimonies of the Savior. I am grateful for the strong members in this branch and their example to me. I have much to learn from them and their desire to serve the Savior.

We also participated in a community choir concert this last weekend. Elder Walker and I played a piano and violin duet of a mash up of What Child is This and Carol of the Bells. 

Hope you have a good week! 

Sister Renda

Monday, December 1, 2014

No Coincidences

 Happy December,

I learned some powerful things this week. Last Monday, I had a rough day. Finally just before going out to work that night, I knelt down and pleaded with the Lord to help me. We went out knocking on this street that we had been trying to get to for weeks. The name on our map and the actual name of the street were different and so each time we went out to find the street, we got confused. We finally figured out the issue and made it to that street that night. As we were walking along, we came to a track around a soccer field and noticed some people walking on it. We joined a mother and daughter and started talking to them as we walked around and around the track. We had a great conversation and then asked if we could come to their home to teach them more. The mother declined. After such a good conversation, we felt taken aback that she would say no. Sister Mangelson asked why and the woman became emotional. She told us about a struggle she and her family is facing. The Spirit was so strong as we testified to her about the Savior and His Atonement. We haven't had contact with them since, but I keep praying that the Lord will put us in their path again. It was no coincidence that we made it to that street that night. During our conversation with them, we asked them how often they came to the track. The mother said this night was the first time and that her daughter had been trying to convince her to come to the track with her for weeks. No wonder we hadn't made it to that street before! God needed us to be there that night. I know that the Lord answers prayers. He is so aware of each of us, and He wants to help us. The answers don't always come when we want them to, but as we go through those periods of darkness or confusion, it provides a stark contrast to the light that God will pour into our lives when the time is right. Walking away from the track that night, I realized the reason why I needed to go through a hard time earlier that day was that so I could testify with power of the Atonement from my own personal experience.
I hope that you have a good week! Christmas festivities are in full swing this week. The branch starts the nativity display this weekend and I am looking forward to the missionary opportunities it will provide. 
Also, had our first snowfall this week. It's mostly gone now. Other exciting things from this week. We visit a woman in a manor and she invited us to come see an accordion band. Quite the experience! One of the instruments was the ugly stick. Yes, ugly stick. It's a traditional Newfoundland instrument. She had a name but I don't remember what it is now. Betty or something.
First Snowfall

The Accordion Band
The Newfoundland Ugly Stick
Me with the ugly stick. I think I need to change instruments! Haha.
If you haven't already, check out the new video that the Church put out for Christmas at He is the Gift. Christ is the reason. Love is always in season.

Love you!

Sister Maren Renda