Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tanti Auguri e Buon Natale!

Where here it is folks, Natale. It's the best time of the year no matter where you are in the world. The streets are lit up with lights, folks are walking around open markets looking for last minute gifts, the ice skating rink is full of children young and old, people literally are roasting chestnuts on open fires, but most importantly, the churches are full of families ready to welcome the new born Savior. I can honestly say I have never loved Christmas so much. I've always heard people say that the Christmases they spent on their missions were their favorites. I've never really understood how being thousands of miles away from your family could make for a happy Christmas, but now I do.

I'm not saying I'm not a little sad. I'm so sad to be missing Christmas with my family. But I have another sweet little family here in Vercelli. Our four person district had a beautiful district meeting. We watched Christmas videos through Mormon Messages and then talked about how precious a gift the Savior gave us. A little while into the meeting, Paolo stopped by to give us Christmas gifts. Seriously, Paolo bought us all presents. I can't even stand how sweet that is. I know gifts aren't the most important part of Christmas, but it's really nice to know that there is someone in our ward who thought of us, who wants us to feel like we're home. 

The Christmas Concert on Friday was fantastic. The young women did a tremendous job, and I felt incredibly honored to be a part of it. The spirit was strong as these young women shared their testimonies of the Savior through song. I don't know if I've ever felt the spirit so strongly in my life. I will never get over how beautiful a sung testimony is. It's as if our souls are speaking directly to one another. It might be my favorite thing in the world.
Our Societa di Soccorso (Relief Society) really knows
how to take care of us.

I honestly don't have much to say this week. I witnessed many miracles, and yet all I want you to know is how much I love you. I honestly miss you. It's like a part of me is missing with all of you so far away. Yet, I know in nine months when I have to leave this beautiful country, it will be like that forever. I'm so grateful for all you have done for me, for the love you have shown me, and the prayers you have said. 

This year, we've been truly trying to remember The Reason Behind Christmas. I'm sure it won't surprise any of you that this video made me cry. I want to invite you all to think of something you can give the Savior for Christmas this year, something that will make a difference in the lives of those around you. This year, for Christmas, I'm going to talk to more people about the beautiful restored gospel. I will talk to as many people as I can, and I will strive to take every opportunity. A lot of you have sent me emails asking if there is anything I want for Christmas. There's really only one thing I can think of - send me an email and let me know what you'll give to the Savior.

I love you all. Tanti Auguri e Buon Natale!
Sorella Ervin

Tina and Ralf - two of the best people in the world!

Sorella Walch and me with Michela, our new convert
who gave us these beautiful sweater.

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