Our "Missionary" Christmas Tree
On September 28, 2013, Elder Fagersten and I entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah to begin the adventure of our lives. Little did we know that senior missionaries were no different than the young missionaries in many ways. We, too, had culture shock and had to adjust to a very different way of life. . .a place where everyone spoke Spanish, where driving rules are not observed, where garbage cans do not exist, where dogs rule the streets, where only bottled water is safe to drink and where you have to sleep under mosquito nets.
Now after almost 15 months of service in the Dominican Republic our feelings have changed from culture shock to being filled with love and respect for these devoted and good people. They have taught us about service, they have helped us to appreciate the abundance we have in our lives, not just the "things" we enjoy, but the abundance of relationships and the blessings of the things that matter most. . .the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me explain. Elder Fagersten and I have had the opportunity of going into the homes of many of the people here in La Vega. We sat with these good people where there was, often times, no running water, dirt floors and broken chairs to sit on. Yet these humble people would praise our Father in Heaven for the abundance in their lives. . .the gospel, their families, food to eat and a place to live, "What more could I ask for, I have everything I need to be happy," they would say to us with a sincere spirit of gratitude.
I have pondered about our experiences as missionaries. I am thankful for this wonderful blessing of serving a mission with my amazing husband who is the light of my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to feel the Spirit of the Lord and bear witness of the truthfulness and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been blessed to serve with amazing young missionaries who devote their lives to the Lord and who suffer much in behalf of their Savior, Jesus Christ. I have grown to respect those missionaries who do very difficult things in order to bless the lives of others.
Being away from our family has also drawn us closer together. I have seen their strength as they have faced incredible challenges with faith, turning to their Savior for healing. I have witnessed the gospel unite us in immeasurable ways. I am grateful for so many blessings, seen and unseen that our Father in Heaven has given us while we have been serving Him on our mission.
We will be finishing our mission in May 2015. It will be a bitter sweet experience for us. But like all missionaries, the time will come for us to come back home. We will have a more solid foundation on which to continue to build our lives. We look forward to holding those beautiful grand babies (3 new granddaughters we will meet in May) and hugging our amazing grandchildren and family members, being with our incredibly supportive friends and ward family members. Thanks to all of you for your love and prayers. We love and miss you.
There are some wonderful resources for creating cherished memories this Christmas Season on familysearch.org. President Thomas S. Monson said "We can establish Christmas traditions for ourselves and for our families which will help us capture and keep the spirit of Christ."
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Elder y Hermana Fagersten
You are always welcome in our home and we would love to keep in touch.