Monday, December 29, 2014

I can't believe it is the last week of the year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I loved seeing your beautiful faces on Christmas 
and am so grateful for my amazing family and friends. 

Thank you for the packages and letters and Christmas cards. I really think I am the luckiest sister missionary in the world. 

This Christmas I was more aware of the countless things we have to be grateful for. 
There are so many in the world who have less - who have no family to spend Christmas with, no money or presents, no traditions, no food, nothing to look forward to and the most heartbreaking thing that they are missing is the Gospel. It would not matter if we had NOTHING else because the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is the most important thing on this earth and the greatest gift we can possess. The gospel can bring us peace and happiness even on the hardest days. 

I got to spend Christmas day making a gingerbread house with Connie, a recent convert who was unexpectedly alone on Christmas. Then Sister Coleman and I got to serve lunch at a community kitchen for people who were going to be alone on Christmas or couldn't afford to make a turkey dinner. Well, Sister Coleman and I actually got put in charge of sorting the garbage but it's all the same :) I was so grateful to be helping out. Then of course the highlight of my day was talking to you - thank you for making me laugh and holding duke up in front of the camera in his Santa suit. Thank you for praying for me and supporting me. Thank you for seeing past my imperfections and loving me no matter what. I love you more than I can say. 

Since the year is coming quickly to a close, this week I began reflecting on all the lessons that I have learned over the past 12 months as a missionary. It seems that I knew nothing before I came on a mission because it seems that everything I now know - was a lesson learned on my mission!!! (That is a little sad but also happy..) I wanted to share some of the greatest lessons with you -

  • PEOPLE are what really matter. Every one of us is a child of God. He loves us. We are so important to Him. And He has given us charge over each other here on earth. We cannot take that responsibility lightly. Without charity, we are nothing.
  • There is always something to be grateful for.
  • Happiness comes not from the things of the world but from the things of God.
  • Hope is so much more than a wish. It is an expectation of fulfillment that comes when you have complete trust and faith in God because you understand His character and know that He cannot lie - He always keeps His promises.
  • Having an eternal perspective can make the greatest of trials seem to last but a moment.
  • Each new day is a great gift from God. It is a fresh start a chance to be better than you have ever been before.
  • The Book of Mormon really does have all of the answers, there is power coursing through it's pages.
  • Embrace the awkward moments.
  • The Atonement is everything. It allows us to overcome two insurmountable barriers - sin and death. Because of Jesus Christ we can all live again with God. 
  • God gives us weaknesses to help us be humble but He can also make us stronger than we could ever be on our own.
  • God doesn't give us the spirit of fear but of FAITH. 
  • The best advice in the world is "FORGET YOURSELF AND GO TO WORK"
  • The Spirit is what carries our message to the hearts of the people. The Spirit is what teaches and testifies of truth. The Spirit is what allows us to change our nature and progress eternally. 
  • This is not our work, or my work - it is the Lord's work. He is our Master.
  • It is so much better to laugh at yourself and move on..
  • When we try to see people as Christ sees them, we have a greater ability to love them.
  • When our understanding of the Atonement increases, our desire to share it also increases.
  • We really can do hard things

I am so thankful that as we draw closer to God and lose ourselves in His service - we actually find ourselves. We find joy in the little things. We have the strength to carry on. Let's make this year the best year of our lives!!! Trust God and GO TO WORK.

I love you all with my whole heart.
Love, Sister Gochnour

Connie on Christmas Day making Gingerbread houses

Christmas Day we sorted garbage and helped with dinner for those who had no where to go for Christmas!

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