Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME. Even if it doesn't feel like Christmas here in paradise. The lack of chill is pretty weird... BUT that's ok! We have Christmas music! And it is amazing how much love people have, just because Christmas is coming! People who would never talk to us before are so accepting now! I just love Christmas!

And one of the coolest things about Christmas... The lights!!! They go overboard here. Not even kidding. We went to one area last week where the houses are decorated but even better are the trees. They have these hanging balls of light all up and down the streets hanging from the branches of the trees that cover the street. GORGEOUS. And last night we went over to Yorba Linda and Holy. Cow. If any of you ever have money to spare, and don't want to give it to the poor, spend it on Christmas lights (but you should give it to the poor :) ). These houses are built on a lake front and are decked out beyond decked out. My goodness.... And they have little boats (since they live on a lake) that are completely decorated too. It's insanely beautiful.

Since Sister Pendleton is leaving soon we are following her bucket list. Last P-day for her bucket list we went to Downtown Disney to see it in the Christmas lights. So much fun! We all enjoyed ourselves. Especially me, since I went and made a Build-a-Bear as my Anaheim, CA souvenir. He's a bear in an Eeyore costume. Just for your information.

Now I would like to address the package I received from the Relief Society back home. I LOVED IT. I cannot express how much joy and excitement I had opening it. I am not exaggerating when I say that 94% of all the stuff in that package I had thought about buying in the last three weeks but didn't buy yet. Everything was needed and appreciated. And the pictures the kids drew me along with the letters from everyone almost put me to tears. I loved everything so so much! Thank you thank you thank you!

We have the Stake Christmas Concert coming up!!! Why am I so excited, you may ask? Because our adorable Veronica will be performing! She will be representing the branch by signing the song, "Do You have Room" while a girl from the YSA ward sings it. Veronica signs only a few signs normally, so for her to completely sign this song is amazing. We had taught her half the song before we realized she had no idea what was happening in the song, so we taught her the story of Mary. She is practicing like no other. She won't need us to help her in the audience come time for the Christmas. What a doll.

This next Saturday is Kevin Rico's baptism!!!!! I adore that family. They have all progressed so much in the past five weeks. Maria is fully supporting the baptism and when Brandon and Edward become old enough, she wants them baptized. It broke our hearts this week, however, when she told us how much she wants to be baptized. She wants to so bad, but she can't while she is living with Alberto, her boyfriend and father of her sons. But she cannot separate with him for many reasons, and cannot marry him for many reasons. So we are in a catch 22 and it is heartbreaking. I know everything will work out. They have to, because this is His work and His timing.

We had our branch Christmas party! It was awesome! Brother Willis from the high council made breakfast burritos for everyone. And we had a magician come!! He was pretty good, but goodness gracious it was funny. He didn't exactly adjust his show for his audience. It gets kinda awkward for everyone when a lot of his show you have to depend on listening to music. And the audience is deaf. But I think everyone enjoyed him nonetheless.

I have been studying a lot about faith this week. Why is faith the first principle of the gospel? It's because faith is the driving force behind all the other principles! It is the power that pushes us to follow the commandments. Faith means to have a firm belief, to trust, accept, and apply the Atonement. When we do these things, we are not idle in our beliefs. We are taking action and can further see the blessings of faith. In Preach My Gospel, it says, "Faith in Christ leads to action." This is one of my favorite quotes from PMG. We cannot say we have faith and not act as is we don't. We must show that faith through actively increasing our faith. We need to "try as hard as we can to learn about and become more like our Savior. We want to learn about what His commandments are and then obey them." Sister Pendleton came up with a great way to have faith and to build it:

Follow Him - do as He would do and follow the commandments
Accept Him -  He is the Savior of the world
Improve yourself - try everyday to become better
Trust in Him - Show that belief in Him and give Him yourself
Help those around you - serve others

I love you all and I challenge each of you to go out of your way every day to help others! This Christmas time is about Christ and His arrival to this world. Let's thank Heavenly Father for His Gift and do Him a favor by blessing the lives of all His children!

Love you!
Sister Crawford

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