Dear Family and Friends,
How was everyone’s Christmas? My Christmas was wonderful! The 24th here is celebrated more than the 25th, so on the 24th we had a huge dinner with some people we are teaching and the president let us stay out a little later. People here stay up until 4 am blasting music, drinking, and dancing and most people start dinner at midnight! Crazy right!? We woke up at 6:30 Christmas morning to loud music and some funny partied out people. I asked my companion Sister Barros if she would like to read Luke 2 with me Christmas morning. We read together and it was a special moment. Then after lunch I was able to Skype my family. It was incredible! One of the members here told all of us missionaries that we would truly learn and feel the true meaning and spirit of Christmas here in the mission. I was struggling to understand what he meant because at the time I wasn’t feeling anything close to the spirit of Christmas I felt at home. But he was so right! Christmas isn’t about the decorations, Presents, or food. Christmas is about sharing love with those you love. I didn’t open a single present on Christmas day, but my heart was fuller than any other Christmas. I can’t put into words the overwhelming joy I felt talking to my family. It was better than any present I could have ever received. I was filled with pure joy and couldn’t stop smiling, it was like walking on air to spend a few minutes talking to them. It was as if time stopped and every worry was washed away. At the end of the Skype call, I asked if we could have a family prayer and if my dad could say it. During the prayer, I opened my eyes and looked at my beautiful family kneeling together and I felt, just for a moment like I was with them. It was literally a glimpse of heaven. The overwhelming joy and love I was feeling was the true spirit of Christmas and I know that my family was feeling it too. i am so blessed to have such a special family that supports me and love me even with my imperfections. I love them more than words can express and am so grateful for the sacrifices they are making for me. I know the work I am doing had the capacity to change lives and bring others pure joy. The gospel is true and I am so grateful for that knowledge in my life.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful new year!!
<3 Sister Sender
Ps: take time to reflect on 2013 and see just how much has changed/ happened in your life! It is incredible how the Lord really does direct our lives! Love you all!