I've had a great week this week. I think it may have been one of the best weeks I've ever had. I loved it.
So on Monday we went to the Manchester Christmas Market. It's a European style street shopping, where different vendors come and set up their shops. Supposedly it's supposed to be the best one in England, So we were excited for the opportunity to go. It was a LOT of fun. We bumped into lots of other missionaries serving in Manchester that also decided to go, so we had fun looking at all the merchandise and having fun together. The whole thing is traditionally German, so I was having flashbacks of the time that we went to Christmas Markets while living in Germany. It was so much fun for me to remember the fun times from 12 years ago! Pictures are attached.
Tuesday we were privileged to be able to go to the temple. It was sooo good. I don't think that missionaries get to go enough. This was only the second time that we've gone since leaving the MTC. I had such a spiritual experience, and I loved every minute of it. I've been studying a lot about the Atonement and birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, so it was really good to be able to go and learn more. Speaking of the studies that I've had, I've made some really interesting comparisons between the birth of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. As we know, when Jesus was born he was laid in a manger, which is what animals ate their food out of. Tradition tells us that a manger is made out of wood, but in reality, it was made out of stone. So animals eat their food out of a stone manger. The connection that I made is that a stone manger is very similar to an alter. In the Bible dictionary it tells us that alters are usually made out of stone. So we have this alter. Things are sacrificed on alters. Jesus Christ was sacrificed for us. He said in John that "I am the Bread of Life" and living water. Bread and Water go on the sacrament table, which is kind of like an alter. So the Bread of life is lying in this stone manger alter at birth. And on Sunday we have Bread on an alter which help us remember his death. Just interesting similarities. I hope that makes sense and it wasn't just me rambling.
On Wednesday we had a really good day. We were able to teach a few lessons to people on the bus, and got a new investigator, so that helps us out a lot.
Thursday we have weekly planning, But this week we have very little time to go out and work, so we spent most of the time planning what movies we are going to watch this Christmas (because that's allowed) and so we had a lot of fun.
Friday and Saturday were similar to Wednesday, we taught a couple lessons and had fun. Saturday night we were supposed to meet a family at a restaurant and they were going to take us out to dinner, but they cancelled on us once we were already at the restaurant so we had fish and chips instead.
Sunday was one of the highlights of the week for me. Church was amazing, and we had a good day working, but the highlight was that evening. The Stake put on a carol concert. It was absolutely amazing. I've never seen a stake with more musically talented people. The spirit was so strong. Along side the concert, there was a video played about the Christmas Truce. Which is absolutely amazing. It's a video produced by the Church about the end of World War 1. It's an amazing story. On Christmas, I don't remember the year, but the Germans and Englishmen got out of their trenches and played a game of soccer together. They sang carols and buried their dead together. All because of the spirit of Christmas that they felt.
On Monday half of the mission got together at the Manchester Stake Center and we had a big dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and President Ulrich gave a talk. It was incredible. I loved it. President Ulrich expounded some deep doctrine that I don't think would be appropriate to share here, but it blew my mind.
That was my week! It was good to hear from so many of you this week! I'm thinking about and praying for you all. Thank you for all the support and prayers. I love you.