Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Oh my goodness I love this!!!!!I’ve been wanting to tell you about Jackie Porterfield. She is amazing investigator. She is17 and has been coming to church for a while now and her step mom won’t allow her to be baptize because of all the crazy stuff she hears. Jackie knows the truth and is going to stay firm in her decision to be baptized. She has the baptism date set for the 8th of April on the day of her 18th birthday. She thinks she will be kicked out of her house if it is any sooner then her 18th birthday. Our last lesson was great and she will be praying about being baptized sooner. She knows its true and wants to enter the waters of baptism. We will be praying for the softening of her step-mothers and fathers heart.

I’m also really excited about another 17 young women named Gennie. She is a niece of a recently reactivated member who is on fire and wanted to share the gospel with her whole family. Gennie surprised us her Aunt Stevi by the interest she is taking. It all so great!My Birthday was great even though I was sick. I received the best kind of mail ever from Caitlin Sheppard from Radford that I taught in the beginning. She wrote about her baptism and the people who attended and then a genuine and sincere testimony. It was the best. Plus Sister Larsen ( Jennifer) now that she is home sent me some great stuff along with some dirtballs and Carmel brownies. Not to mention all the presents and letters from you all. I’ve already found some prefect owners for the little CTR bracelets and rings. It was amazing that a Less Active member was looking for just that and you were inspired to send me that and I was able to give it to her. It was perfect.I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it has been and the Christmas spirit here. My heart is so full of love for the Savoir. This truly is the best.

I can’t tell you how much love I feel from everyone. I got the most thoughtful gifts ever. Thank you so much for all the wonderful Christmas letters. Our Christmas zone conference was on Monday and we drove up To Buena Vista where President Cowley came and picked up our Zone. He drove the 18 passenger van. The Zone leaders took there car and then we all headed to Charleston. President drove us past the Green Brier where a lot of the Presidents of the US have stayed... it starts at $450.00 a night there!!!! Ouch is all I can say. The drive to Charleston went by pretty fast and we all had a lot of fun talking in the van, President telling stories of his encounters with Spencer W. Kimball and just laughing. President all treated us to McDonalds (which he loves). When we got into Charleston we had a message from President and Sister Cowley and from the AP's. I felt the spirit so strong as one of the Elders shared how much love he has for the gospel. I wanted to get up right then and share my testimony. For our Mission President and Wife we all chipped in and brought certain pieces to the whole Willow nativity set. We were in charge of the lambs and sheep. Sister Ryder and I ended up writing a little poem to share how the Cowley’s were like sheep.

I have a sincere love for theses two servants of the Lord and the spirit was deep in my heart as we shared how much the Cowleys meant to us. After eating theses chicken salad thing on a croissant things we went caroling in front of Krogers Grocery store(to help out the Salvation Army) . Just imagine 25 of us with our name tags standing in the freezing cold singing way off tune but singing our little heart off. I loved standing next to President Cowley with his boisterous voice in my ear. I’m pretty sure I was off tune the whole time. It was really neat to see the different attitude in giving, just because a bunch of young adults were singing. Testimony meeting after that was pretty powerful. I was so excited to share my testimony more so then other conferences. I know it was due to the wonderful spirit that was in that home. You know the home is one of the closes places we can come to the temple. And since we don’t have the privilege of a temple we made the spirit dwell in the mission home.

The spirit testified to me of many things I could never deny. I love that warm peaceful spirit and I’m grateful it testifies to others because with out it no one would be converted. After that President and Sister Cowley presented us with Christmas ornaments that meant the world to him. It was simple 35 cents. That’s right a Virginia quarter and a dime. And the extra dime meant he loved us. There was a pretty neat story that went along with it. Then they brought out all the wonderful letters from our families. It was like the best Christmas Zone Conference.I love you all sooooooo muchI love to see the growth in all of you and how I’ve got the best family ever!Had a pretty neat conversation with a member who had some similar family experience and I know I was sent here to comfort her.

Love you all again and have a Wonderful CHRISTmas. With all that joyous stuff.Mom- That photo album was the neatest thing I’ve ever seen. That was so creative and cute. I’m so glad you are my mom and I get to learn from your wonderful self.Dad- Thank you so much for noticing and remembering the positive things. All the things you said in your letter were just what I needed. Your too nice to me. I really can’t wait to get back and get you real gift that I can feel good about.Siblings- I love hearing from you all. I just can’t wait to see all those babies being born!!Grandma and Grandpa –thanks for the beautiful cards and the beautiful green money. How did you know I wanted that? I love hearing from you cause you two are great examples to me.
Sister Barrand
HO HO HO Merry Christmas

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