Happy Christmas, from Down Under in above 40 degrees celcius!
No white Christmas for me this year! This week has been the hottest week of my entire life. It got up to 44 degrees celcius. I went on trade-offs this weekend and went to the City Sisters area. It is a new area for Sisters so they don't have many people to teach so everything is finding. I was outside the whole time I was on trade-offs in above 40 weather. The bottom of my feet were burning through my shoes from the hot concrete. I can't even explain what it feels like to be in weather like that, but I will try my best. It is hard to breathe, it feels like you are in an oven, there is no relief, even the wind is hot. You sweat, then dry instantly, then sweat more, then dry again, and repeat. You can carry a bottle of water around with you, but even if it is frozen solid, it will melt within minutes and will go warm in about 10 minutes. I felt so gross! Despite the insane heat, I loved my trade-off. Being in the city is very different, we are walking everywhere around downtown, talking to everyone that we pass by. People are startled when we talk to them because unfortunately, our society is very kept to itself nowadays, even a friendly "hi" and we get strange looks.
This week we also did district finding within our own areas, on a really hot day. We went door knocking from 6-8pm and it was 39 degrees at that time of day! People were saying we were crazy. Some woman even let us into her house to give us a glass of water because she felt bad for us. She said, "You need to go home, I am sure Jesus will still love you." It was very funny. But we did not go home, we kept pressing forward. Also that day we were all fasting to find people to teach. In that heat though we are allowed to drink water when we fast.
For finding at this time of year we pass out "A Saviour is Born" cards. They have a link to: christmas.mormon.org, which has a short 2 minute video on the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is a great video and I recommend all watch it.
This Sunday I preformed a duet with my Ward Mission Leader in sacrament meeting. We sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" the first verse in Latin, and the rest in English. After church we went with one of the Relief Society Councillors and went around 15 less actives houses delivering Christmas cookies and fudge. It was a great way to get to know those people better and see if they are open for visits from the missionaries.
I am so excited for this Christmas. This is my only Christmas on my mission. This week we have lots of fun activities planned for the mission. We have Sister's Conference on the 23rd. On Christmas Eve we have a dinner and Carolling. On Christmas Day I get to skype my family and then we go to the mission office for activities and dinner. Then on Boxing Day we have a Multi-Zone Conference. It will be great!
Let us all remember the true meaning of Christmas. Please don't take the Christ, out of Christmas. It is the time of year we celebrate his birth. 2015 years ago a babe was born in a humble stable. This baby was the Son of God, destined to save mankind from their sins.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel." -Isaiah 7:14
Immanuel translates into: God with us.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6
I am so grateful for my Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate and thank Him not just at Christmas time, but all year round. Think of a gift that you can give Him this year.
Let us focus less on presents, and more on His presence.
I love you all,
Sister Bethany Victoria Coultrup
Australia Adelaide Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints