Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. -3 Nephi 5:13

Sunday, December 25, 2016

December 25, 2016 Christmas

Dearest Colten,
I just love hearing about your missionary experiences! Missionary life seems both rewarding and challenging at the same time. I say this often, but please know that you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I know you are 'strong and of a good courage', but as a mother I think it's natural to worry about our children. You are a lot like me in the sense that we are 'sensitive souls', which has both pros and cons. We tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders at times and at other times, feel indescribable joy. I think there are times that we feel too much! So much so that it literally hurts. Being sensitive makes us want to make a difference, though. We want to influence others for the better. When I heard about the church's new slogan, 'Light The World', I loved it! I wanted to be a part of it! I knew from experience that small random acts of kindness could go a long way! I shared with you and the family and challenged each of you to participate... and so we began. Daily RAOK's (Random Acts Of Kindness) I learned really weren't that hard. In fact, my life seemed to revolve around my family and I quickly realized that we, as parents, are constantly doing RAOK's. I just needed to step up my game. I couldn't help but think of this quote by Dieter F Uchtdorf, "As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” I wanted to feel this way, but I quickly became discouraged... I just wasn't into it. Where's my Christmas Spirit? What difference does it make? My head was in the right place, but my heart wasn't and I just wasn't feeling 'happiness' serving others. I mostly felt weary. My nightly prayers became longer as I pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me stay positive. I would fall asleep thinking of Mary, Joseph, and the 'Little Lord Jesus' in hopes of regaining that 'Christmas Spirit'. I continued to try and 'Light the World' by doing my part because I knew, recognized or not, in some simple way it would make a difference. Don't misunderstand, I still cared and wanted to share happiness, I just lost a bit of that happiness along the way. About a week before Christmas, out of the blue I was contacted by Sister Takahashi (from Canada) who said that she had a strong feeling that she needed to contact the moms of the missionaries and ask if there was anything she could do for us (for them) to make Christmas more meaningful and to make sure the missionaries felt loved and lifted. She also invited you to Christmas Eve dinner! What a wonderful person and example of what it means to be of service!  I loved that she took the time to reach out to us and it instantly put my mind at ease concerning you, my missionary son who I worry about constantly (I know, I need not worry!). I knew you would be taken care of over the holidays and it warmed my heart.  We asked her to make your favorite brownies and include one of your favorite quotes, 'My feelings are that I may be like clay in the hands of the potter or like a fiddle in the hands of the performer. I am not going to dictate God, but feel to say, Father play through me in a manner that shall be for the salvation of this people." -Heber C Kimball.

Christmas Eve night, Sister Takahashi sent me some wonderful pictures of my happy boy and his companion participating in her family traditions. The next day, Sister Harvey (also from Canada) invited you and Elder Bybee to be with her family on Christmas Day. My mind was at peace knowing that you were being taking care of and loved while away from home. People never cease to amaze me with their kindness and generosity! These two sisters simply loved and took care of my boy because they cared. It meant so much to us! Sister Takahashi  reached out to me later Christmas Day following another prompting, which touched my heart profoundly. I honestly feel it was an answer to a prayer. She said exactly what I needed to hear, "This Christmas I have been reminded that the Lord loves us and he is aware of us. Gods plan is the best plan and how cool is it that he trusts us to be a part of the work and lift and bless one another?" She then sent me a video of her playing the guitar and singing, 'As Sisters in Zion':

1. As sisters in Zion, we’ll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we’ll seek.
We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We’ll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.
2. The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name.
3. How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,
If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed.
Oh, naught but the Spirit’s divinest tuition
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed.

Oh, how I needed to hear this reminder! He trusts us to be a part of His work! How could I not find joy and happiness in serving others when I'm on the Lord's errand? I truly believe there are angels among us, as evident in Sister Takahashi. In my patriarchal blessing, I am told that I will bring happiness into the lives of others and to share and always be a good neighbor and that the Lord will lead me, guide me, and strengthen me in this endeavor. Sister Takahashi, with the Lord's promptings, was instrumental in doing this- giving me strength when I felt weary. She was being a good 'neighbor', an angel among us! I believe the errand of angels, to cheer and to bless, is given to us all. I especially see this when I think of my missionary son. How vast is your purpose and broad is your mission, Elder Beddes, but yet you fulfill it day in and day out in spirit and deed. What a great example you are to me! I truly believe that Heavenly Father IS aware of each of us. He wants us to be happy and will lead and guide us and help us succeed. I'm grateful Heavenly Father is aware of each of us. I am grateful for the angels in my life who strengthen and lift me and that I am blessed with opportunities in life to love and lift others. I want to make a difference. I want to be an angel. I love you more than anything, sweet boy. Keep up the good work! Go out and be an angel!
Forever and Always, Love,
From Sister Takahashi:
From Sister Harvey:

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