T'was the week before Christmas...
Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the midwest, Sister Bengtzen was knocking, inviting others to get in their Sunday best!
The Book of Mormons were placed in each home with great care, in hopes that the Holy Ghost would soon testify there.
Sister Collins in her snow boots, and Sister Bengtzen in her hat, had just begun tracting and everyone seemed to have a cat.
When all through Omaha the temperature dropped 50 degrees, but nothing, I repeat nothing could stop those sisters from getting on their knees!
We taught and we testified and we studied and we sang, and we saw miracles and more miracles as the Christmas bells rang!
I can't remember the rest of the story....but I know God loves me and loves you, so enjoy the rest of this email and know I love you too!
Angela and Katie are doing so well! AHHH! We took them on a church tour this week and as we walked into the chapel the spirit grew stronger and stronger until it enveloped the entire room. Angela was in tears by the end and said the closing prayer, it was so powerful. Her daughter Katie came to church and she loved it. The fellowship she received was an answer to many prayers! As we were talking with her the other day she said something that struck me. She said since she has been reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church and meeting with us that her world has literally gotten brighter. She said she goes to the grocery store and instead of focusing on all the negative in the world she sees the good in people and mercy of God. She has had a change of heart!! This whole experience reminded me of what Alma taught the people of Zarahemla: "Behold, he changed their hearts; he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the everlasting word..." (Alma 5:7) Great miracles are being wrought in her life and the life of her daughter because of her faith and her effort in exercising it.
So there is a part-member family in our ward and they are from the Micronesian islands. The wife has been a member since she was young and the son was baptized at 9 years old. The husband has taken the missionary lessons several times, but has never committed to be baptized because he could not give up drinking. About a month and a half ago Sister Rook and I went over and did a Book of Mormon read with the mother and son. We told them to approach the reading with a question and a prayer. They did so and the son said the prayer, he asked that they might receive guidance on how to help his father come to the truth and have desires to be baptized. We opened to Alma 6 and read verse 6 "Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God." They received their answer! The next day we fasted and we went over every night that week and prayed. And those prayers and that fasting has been answered! A few weeks ago Junior, the husband, had an experience that was very, very humbling. The next week he came to church and told us he is ready to change his life. We saw him that week and committed him to live the Word of Wisdom and be baptized on January 7th. This week we went over to their home and the spirit was there! In their home!! Junior was so happy, his countenance was full of light and he said he felt peace. Joy had just overcome him and it was like it was a completely different person! He is ready. The Lord truly answers mighty prayers, and loves his children. And fasting brings miracles!
This week it got to -3 degrees F, -20 with wind chill. It sure felt like -1 billion degrees though! Our car windows got frozen shut and my toes are still numb. But onward ever onward! I have never been happier!
Sister Collins and I played pillow hockey in our apartment this week! (I was trying to be creative on helping her with homesickness...) I almost broke a lamp and dented the door. Key word: ALMOST. For the record I won. 10-6
In Luke 2:10 it reads "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." I was reading that and thinking about that this morning and this overwhelming thought came over me. As missionaries, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have the blessing and opportunity of declaring good tidings of great joy to all people. We carry the same message as an angel of the Lord! We are commissioned to tell the world that we have a loving Heavenly Father. He sent his son to die for us, and take up his life again...for us. Jesus Christ, the son of God, is our Redeemer and our Savior. He lives. He wants us to be clean, to be happy, to be healed, and he has given us the Atonement to make all of that possible. We have a prophet to guide us and to guide our families. We can be together forever with those we love, and we can and will see our Father in Heaven and our Savior again someday. We know the truth.
This Christmas I am grateful to be close to my Savior, grateful to be here in Nebraska of all the places, grateful for my eternal family, and so grateful for the good tidings of great joy which I get to share!
I love you all and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
Love Sister Bengtzen