Monday, December 30, 2013

Fwd: Letter #39 - 12/30/13

We had an amazing 1 1/2 hour visit on Skype!  Yay for technology!  It was so good to "see" her!  Have a Happy New Year everyone!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery
Date: Monday, December 30, 2013
Subject: Letter #39 - 12/30/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hello again! I've got less time to write today because we took some personal time to go to the temple Friday, so this will be quick.

First off, we had a SUPER fun Christmas evening with all of us missionaries at the Bishop's house. We did a white elephant gift exchange and everything! I've attached a picture from it; Christmas card worthy, don't you think? :)

Thursday was great because, as Mom has probably told everyone by now, we got to talk on Skype! I absolutely loved it, and it was hard to hang up. But thankfully instead of making me homesick, the call made me want to go out and fulfill my purpose more than ever; remembering all the blessings that have come to me and my family because of the gospel made me want to go out and find another family whose lives will be changed forever because of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. I often silently thank the missionaries that found, taught, and baptized my ancestors, and I hope to have the same eternal influence on these amazing people in Ukraine.

Friday I got to go through the beautiful Ukraine Kiev temple. What a sweet way to commemmorate my half-way mark (and my one-year anniversary of going through the temple) and rededicate myself to the Lord for at least the next nine months. As I was in the Celestial Room, I was studying the scriptures and my eye caught hold on D&C 7:5 when it says that John the Beloved, "desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men that what he has before done." I chose that as a simple theme for the remainder of my mission. I want to do more, a greater work than what I have done before. I want to be more obedient, more full of faith, hope, and charity. I want to find, teach, and baptize more. I want to change more into who the Lord wants me to be. The clock is ticking, and I want to work while the day lasts!

To end, as a spiritual thought I'll share my response to Sister Klebingat's letter this week. It was about the different aspects of "enduring to the end," and I responded with this:

Thanks to Sister Klebingat for the wonderful letter -- I'll definitely be feasting on that more this week. I especially liked the last paragraph about how enduring well means developing enduring qualities. Someone once told me that change is a lot more like freezing ice than baking cookies. When you bake cookies, there's a chemical change, and no matter how long you leave the cookies out, they'll never change back into cookie dough. When freezing water, however, there's always a chance that the ice will turn back into water if you leave it out. I've always wanted "cookie change" where my habits and character just change completely and I never have to worry about backsliding, but I've learned through my experience and the experience of others that such a mindset is fallacious and dangerous. If I walk away from my mission thinking, "Woohoo, my cookie dough days are over; I'm good to go for the rest of my life!" then my spiritual habits and urgency will slip and pride will be my downfall. On the other hand, if I think, "I am so much more frozen than I was a year and a half ago, and now I just need to keep this freezing process up until the very end," then my life will continue in the pattern that my mission has -- continual spiritual progression. There are parts in Siberia where permafrost goes thousands of feet into the ground; that's the kind of "endurance" I'm searching for, and I'm grateful for this letter that will help me deepen my permafrost a few more feet.

I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Montgomery