Week 25

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!!! It totally feels different though. Serving a mission when holiday seasons happen is so surreal and weird. Like, Christmas is in a couple of days? What??? Weird. but awesome.  I realized that by sharing the gospel, we already have the spirit and feeling of Christmas all the time…we are sharing the glad tidings of great joy all the time!  And it’s sahweet!
I decided that for now on, I’m going to do a little bio for anytime I get a new companion so y’all can know her on a for real basis. So,here we go:
My new companion, Sister (Jillian) Baylon, is SO awesome! She is absolutely amazing.  She is 19 years old, has beautiful long and luscious hair, and a beautiful Japanese/Philipino face to go with it! She is from San Diego, CA (grew up in Encinites) and she went to BYU-Hawaii! (what whaaat) She is an art major (like me!) and she loves to sing!! She plays the ukulele and guitar awesomely and she surfs. She has two0 older siblings who both served missions! Her sister served in Washington and her brother served in the Philippines. She has been in the mission field for about a week, but it seems like she’s been out way longer because she is such a wonderful missionary and teacher! It’s legit. Her MTC teacher actually served here in the New York Utica Mission which is a pretty rare thing! So she got the inside scoop on how awesome this mission is. Anyways, I love her and her sweet spirit and testimony of the gospel. 🙂
This past week was pretty good!  Sister Thao and I parted (I love and miss that girl) at transfers and I got Sister Baylon assigned to be my comp!  I actually tripped when I went to meet her, but it was a graceful trip and nothing too crazy. I maintained my equilibrium….and hse didn’t see it so it’s all good! (Even though 40 other missionaries did see it haha).  We had a mission Christmas Conference on Friday which was awesome!  We heard some amazing stories from President Rogers about his Christmas’s on his mission in Germany and other tender experiences he’s had throughout his life.  We also heard from one of his counselor’s and a stake president.  Pres. Rogers then randomly chose a few of the missionaries to bear their testimony, and I was chosen haha…man. Talk about being put on the spot, but it was good. 🙂  We also had a talent show and an awesome lunch. I got to see my MTC comp Sista Blomquist!!!!!! It was a great reunion. Love that girl. And I got to see Sister Johnson (Norwood comp) and Sister Thao again!!! ❤ Oh! I forgot to mention that I saw Sister Duke too at transfers which was awesome!  Got to see some great peeps. Man, it was super weird at transfers to see the elders and sisters who were going home because I actually knew a few of them pretty well. So weird. And it will only get weirder….
So Sister Baylon and I have had some great lessons with our investigators and other people we’ve seen!  It’s ben awesome.  We had a pretty cool experience OYMing last night! We talked to this young woman and man walking their dog briefly as well as this other guy. We have been asking people, “What does Christmas mean to you?” And from those people, they said how it was about family and friends coming together…it was really a tender experience to talk with them and then testify of how it was possible to be with our families because of the Savior. It’s so cool to just stop some random people on the street where at first their skeptical and hesitant to talk with us and then see them warm up and share what is most important to them in their life. And even though they deny our invitation to share more of the gospel with them, we part as friends and they were so gracious for talking with us and for what we do as missionaries. It’s really cool.  We decided to start singing Christmas hymns in public places which has been super cool! We were struggling trying to find a good place to sing and where there were people, but we decided to sing in front of this one store and we had a cool experience. We were singing O Little Town of Bethlehem and when we were done, this man who was outside leaning against the store, smoking, said, “I know that song.” We asked him how he knew it and he said how he sung it in primary at this one Christian school. We talked with him a little bit and he shared how he has a 4 year old daughter and that her mom died in a car accident when she was only 10 months old.  Apparently, he was born in Orange County, CA and moved around a lot because of the military and ended up in New York. He asked what church we were a part of and when we told him, he said that he used to play basketball there for fun. We told him that they still do that and he said he might go….it was a cool experience. We got his number and hopefully we’ll keep in touch with him. We then went over to see a old woman we are teaching named Flavia. She is seriously so cute..she’s basically our grandma! We read form the BOM with her and she gave us some homemade chocolate cover peanut butter balls and coconut ones! SO good.
I just want to give a HUGE thank you to all of you who have written a letter/e-mail that my mom has forwarded to me. My heart is so full of gratitude for each of your Christmas letters and uplifting words.  I’m so thankful for the love and support you’ve given me and for being my friends.  I wish I could send you all notes and letters…but know that I send a BIG HUG to you all and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!
“He who was burdened with sorrow and acquainted with grief speaks to every troubled heart and bestows the gift of peace. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ [John 14:27].” -President Thomas S. Monson
Here’s a beautiful talk about Christmas…take time to read it! ❤
Love, Sister Pange

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