Kia Ora Whanau,
That was a mean as Christmas! One of the best actually! It was so good to see your beautiful faces! ;)
I'll just give you some quick bits of info before I get into an experience that happened yesterday.
Christmas conference was mean! We were in Tuhikaramea again, just like last year. It was way beautiful, but my allergies were horrific! :/
We went carolling with the Elders and Sisters in our ward. We saw a few investigators and less actives. It was heaps of fun! Sister Siale, The Tongan sister in our ward made me a beautiful tie for Christmas with Tongan patterns on it!
Christmas eve we had to run around for Sister Saunders. But there was a wreck on the road, so we had to take a detour all the way to Rotorua--then found our way to Whakatane. Heaps of fun, but absolutely useless!
We had a wonderful Christmas at the Preston's home. We pretty-much stayed there all day. We left for Breakfast at the Jamison's, and dinner at the Watene's and that's all. Other than that, we were with the Preston's. They're the bomb! It was wonderful being able to talk to and see my amazing whanau back home. You all look great! :)
Alright.. let me get to the good stuff now.
While we were at the Preston's, they told us that Elder Nielsen of the 70 would be in town on Saturday and Sunday. And that he would be staying in their home for those nights and would be coming along to church. So what do you know, bishop gives us a call at 7:30 on Saturday night telling us that we need to speak the next day! I prepared the MEANEST talk ever! We rock up to church the next day and bishop comes up to us and says, "Elder Butler, you're off the hook today!" I was so disappointed! I was so pumped to speak in front of a General Authority! But Elder Jonsson still had to speak!
I was bummed the rest of sacrament meeting, but then it came to Priesthood. Elder Nielsen gave the most unbelievable training of all time. The things that were shared were so sacred, he made us swear to not let it leave this room. So I wish I could tell you, but just know that our eyes were opened, and that the church is true! Then he did something that, in all honesty, changed my life! It was so simple, but reassuring. He said, "Elder Jonsson, you already spoke today so Elder Butler come up here." Then he took me in his left arm and said, "Do you know that you have a Heavenly Father?" I had to look down so nobody would see my chin trembling (the thing that happens when you're trying to fight back crying!) I said, "Yes." He then asked, "Do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet?" And I said, "Yes." He continued to ask me simple questions about my testimony in front of 20 other brethren. The whole time, I could just feel something so beautiful! The spirit spoke to me that day, just like it did with Elder Bednar, and Elder Cook! It was such an amazing experience. I'm glad Heavenly Father knows what he's doing.. because I really needed that testimony-building experience!
After that... we had dinner with the Preston's and the Nielsen's. So I had dinner with a General Authority yesterday! It was pretty solid--and Sister Preston's cooking is phenomenal!
So that's me this week! Wonderful spiritual experiences all week long! I pray for weeks like this...and I finally got one!
I love you all! :)
Christmas eve at the Clarks. (part of our Christmas Eve Vacation in Whakatane). Me and Elder Johnson (to the right of me) are giving them death glares to hurry up!
Secret Santa with the Tauranga Zone.
Luckily Elder Jonsson got a Lava Lava from Secret Santa...because he ripped his pants from back to front at the Christmas Conference! ;) Hilarious!
Found some OD wall art in the Mount.