Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Happy Christmas!
I don't have much time this week, but I hope you all had a bright Christmas filled with the love of our Savior! 

It was a special week here in Caerphilly. We had a zone meeting on Christmas Eve which was a total blast. It is so fun to be with so many young people, all striving for the same goal. It has been such a blessing to see Christmas through a new pair of eyes; missionary eyes. Christ's life is everywhere! He is indeed the light and life of the world. "If it is good, it is of God" and there is SO much good in the world! We might have to look for it a little harder these days, but it is there. 

I am so grateful to have had time to Skype my family this week. I was missing them terribly, so my void was filled! It was grand to see that they were moving, healthy, and still as fun as ever! :) It was also nice to see that I'm not missing out on a whole lot, it was a reminder to me that I am out here, on this adventure for a reason. That my purpose is being fulfilled HERE. I am no longer missing my sweet family, because I know that they are being watched over and protected. I am excited to hear that my sister is doing well in Lexington, KY. She is such a wonderful example to me.

On Christmas Day, we were absolutely SPOILED by ward members. The bishop fed us a traditional English Christmas dinner which was immaculate! We had 3 courses (3 spoons, 3 forks, and 2 knives) with nearly everything you can imagine. Even brussel sprouts. Which are definitely from Satan. Man. Rough, rough, rough. Other than those, we definitely did not go without! We each received a pair of socks from over 10 members. My feet are EXTRA warm this holiday season! :) And we also received over 36,000 calories in English chocolate! Mercy. We have since then, re-gifted over 3/4 of it which is great! All in all, it was a glorious Christmas Day here in Caerphilly!
On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) we went to Cardiff to do some shopping at the 'mall' here. It was almost as crazy as black Friday in America. It was quite the experience to be in the midst of the world after being in a missionary mind set for the past few weeks. Bad music, immodesty, nasty language everywhere. It totally scared me at first, but we mad it out alive.

On Sunday, we got to church early and were bummed to see that none of our recent converts or less-active members were there. BUT as soon as the sacrament was over, all three of our less-actives and our recent convert WALKED IN! The joy that overcame us was incredible! It was amazing to see the fruits of our labors! I couldn't stop smiling all day long!

I know through dilligence and strict obedience that great things will come to pass! I am so thankful to be here in Wales, serving the Lord. I am being broken down more and more each day, which is hard, but I know that I am being made into the woman/missionary that God wants me to be. His plan is far greater than mine could ever be. I am so grateful that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can be strengthened when I feel that I can no longer hold on. He is my guide, my older brother, and my strength. It is such a blessing to be led and guided by the spirit in all we do. I am amazed at the opportunity I have to witness such miracles and have such spiritual experiences. We, as missionaries, are truly spoiled!  

I am so grateful to be here and to be growing more and more each day. This adventure is teaching me so much about myself, this gospel, and the missionary I want to become.
I hope you all continue to follow the example of Jesus Christ and allow Him to guide you on your journey. I challenge you to come closer to your Savior this next year. In your words and your deeds.
Happy New Year!
Peace and Love.
Sister Sydney Jones
  -Have courage and be kind.

*Note to reader*
This was the letter I received from Sydney on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas and before the above email.  I got called up to talk in Sacrament this Sunday, and impromptu I pulled this letter out and read it to the audience.  They loved it as much as I did, I think.  Enjoy!

Hello beautiful mother of mine! 
It was so wonderful to see and talk to
you yesterday! I was so grateful for that opportunity. It was exactly
what I needed. I'm so happy that grandma and grandpa were there as
well. Thank you for inviting them. I sure miss my gram. Make sure to
keep her busy ma! Go to lunch and invite her to do fun things. Keep
her youthful while I'm away! :) I hope grandpa is doing well too..
Jaden looked so much older already! Mercy. Funny that Jordan got him
slippers for Christmas.. Did he get her anything? Keep me updated on
his relationship status! ;)
I'm kinda bummed that I couldn't talk to Katelyn yesterday. I feel
like it's been years since I've actually talked to her. It's hard to
find time to email her cause we're both so busy, which is fine. But I
need my big sister strength! Hopefully after the holidays, we'll be
able to talk a little more. I sure miss her. Glad to know that she's
doing well though!
What did you Jaden and daddy get for Christmas? I must know! We got
hooked up again from the members last night and today. Socks socks
socks. I'll be sending a few of my presents home hopefully on Mondaycause there's just so much.
Hopefully we'll have my bike situation figured out soon.. I'll be sure
to let you know. I wrote a list of the things that I need/want. And
the deodorant, just get me whatever kind. And don't worry about too
much ramen. I thought about it last night and it was a spur of the
moment thing, I don't really like it that much anyway. Please don't
send my any sweets.. We have FAR MORE than we need. But Ritz crackers
would be cool. The ones here are a little funky. And just send it to
our flat address.
Thank you so much mom!!!!!  I love you forever! Thank you for blessing
my life with all you do. I a, forever thankful! I'll send a big family
email on Monday.  Love you!

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