Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!


I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas this year. We sure did! It was probably the busiest Christmas I have ever had, but it was so great! Here's the run down.

Wake up, open presents, happiness. We were blessed with a beautiful haul of gifts and goodies (soooo much goodies), so thank you to everyone who contributed to that. It was lovely. I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. A happy blur, but a rushed blur nonetheless. 

1. Breakfast with our ward mission leader and family.
2. Skyping home! Yay! And also talking to Chani and Spencer. Pictures:

3. Lunch with the stake patriarch and his family.
4. Lunch with a member of the stake presidency and their family.
5. Visiting a rest home, and singing lots of Christmas songs.
6. Dinner with bishop and his family. 

Lots and lots of food that day. Lots of really great food, but still, a lot.

Now we move towards the New Year, and I still have to take down a lot of Christmas decorations... but also time to set more goals and look forward to 2015!! 

2015. Weird. That will be a weird year. I don't really know what to expect, but it's coming fast anyways!

Love you all!
Elder Horne

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twas the Night before Christmas

So much has happened this past week!

First, transfers. Elder Larsen went to Philly, so that is pretty exciting! He's got a good companion and all will be well (as long as he doesn't get robbed). After transfers I worked around Philly with some other missionaries while I waited until Wednesday to pick up my golden, so that was pretty fun.

GOLDEN! My boy arrived. Fresh and right out of the MTC. Elder Lake! He's from Gilbert, AZ (sooo many missionaries from Arizona what is this), so that's pretty exciting. He's the oldest in his family, so the first to serve a mission out of his siblings. He's such a goofball and so fun. He's into anime and Korean food. He's a young bull, 18, just out of high school. And he's just a super awesome missionary and I'm so excited to be training him! First born in the wilderness.

We kind of look related, right?

Here are all the golden missionaries that just came out. They're all pretty awesome. Just not quite as awesome as Elder Lake.

They are so golden and new, it's so exciting!


CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! I am excited. Everyone should be excited. Christmas spirit is just one of the warmest, sentimental, greatest things ever. The spirit of Christ.

We've been scheduling visits to members homes, figuring stuff out to Skype/FaceTime home, and get all the logistics figured out. Yet, we've also been trying to focus on giving, and find opportunities to help and serve others. We've been sending giving out a lot of Christmas cards. Some were left on the door and we ran (although none of those really worked out... when someone pulls into the driveway while you're trying to get back to your car: cover. blown.), others we delivered in person. It's just been a lot of fun finding different ways to uplift and help others. We're excited for Christmas, because we can go and visit people and give of our time, to help them feel Christ's love this time of year. Going to some rest homes, visiting some older individuals, singing songs, just everything we've been able to think of.

Focusing on others = Happiness.

So, we've been having some extra additional happiness lately. Missionary work brings in the happiness, but during Christmas time that just grows and grows.


Elder Horne

Monday, December 15, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a Golden Christmas

5 week transfers go FAST.

It's already been a transfer since I got here, and Elder Larsen is leaving! He'll be my shortest lived companion ever, presumably. So, after 5 weeks, we're going full force into the Christmas season and everything is going fantastic. I'm also so excited because my next companion will be a golden! Or a greenie! Or whatever else new missionaries hot-off-the-press are called! I'm really excited to be training, and I really hope to make this brand new missionaries first Christmas in the mission the absolute best thing ever. It'd be hard to leave right before Christmas, but he'll be working too hard and having way too much fun (all good fun) to be thinking too much about home. Hopefully.

Being Elder Larsen's last week, we did so much better than we have been doing about taking pictures!!! We actually took some! Hurray!! 

Here we go:

You've got to use an unused treadmill (it's really lousy) for something right?
All you need in life is construction paper, anything is possible.
OH, and the gospel. You need that too.

My lovely Relief Society (my all sisters district) ready to #ShareTheGift!
Good thing my mom showed me how to be a good Relief Society President...
(center-pieces, snacks, and activities for days)

Our first "real" snow! 

Thankfully it was warm enough so it didn't stick to the roads.

Our area goes up to the Delaware River, which is cool because Philly is just across the water.

And I love/miss the water so I'm pretty much in heaven, and maybe a little obsessed. 

These are only a couple of the many pictures I've taken of this river...

And naturally I have to wear my fun paddle socks if we're going to the water. 

...and take other fun pictures with assorted scenery and historic memorabilia. 

AND of course I had to get at least one good photo by the water, even though it was freezing cold.
Literally, freezing cold, and extraordinarily windy; note windblown hair.
I sacrificed my coat, and scarf, and gloves, all for the sake of a picture (but I did have them with me)

There you have it. See, we took a lot of pictures this week! And this isn't even all of them! Just the ones that are decent and not awful. 

We're getting all geared up for the holidays. I hung up more lights (we have so many) and made some more snowflakes, and curled lots of ribbon, and am burning through rolls of tape like Buddy the Elf. We also went caroling, and had our Christmas party, and are finding lots of brilliant people.

Life is good. Life is happy. 

Elder Horne

Monday, December 8, 2014

Stars were Gleaming

Whelp. This week was awesome.

And I can't even remember what happened.

There has just been this permeating Christmas spirit, and it's blanketing over everything, and making it all wonderful and spiritual and lovely. We were just able to have so many special experiences this week, it's been great. The visits/lessons we had, singing in stake choir, stake conference, the Christmas devotional, seeing members of the Linwood Ward, cookies and milk, watching He is the Gift a thousand times, so much Christmas music; the list goes on and on.

It's just been unbelievably stellar, and bright, and clear.

I'll try to explain.

In our lives sometimes it's hard to see clearly, and the night comes and it's dark. It may be foggy, maybe it's raining or overcast, maybe there is some smog and pollution in the air. Whatever it is, there just seems to be this apparent and physical/spiritual heaviness and darkness that is just weighing upon is. That is keeping us from seeing the stars.

Anyone who has seen the night sky knows where the stars are, and that they will always be there. The stars existence isn't conditional on our seeing them. They are simply there; countless and bright and beautiful. That doesn't change.

Our conditions change. If we're not grateful, or if we refuse to look up, we will never see the stars. We can pollute the air with sin and ignorance, and disbelief. We can prevent ourselves from seeing the stars. At least from seeing them as bright or as clear as we have before. We might be able to glimpse them, or find a few here and there, but with all the interference, we will never be able to witness the full majesty of the heavens.

Only by choosing to be grateful, to increase our faith, and to recognize that Heavenly Father loves us, and He is working in the details of our lives; will the fog of selfishness and disbelief dissipate and we will stand breathless underneath a bright sky full to the brim with blessings, in "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over" (Luke 6:38). We will see the love of God in immeasurable amounts, and recognize how much He blesses those who love Him.

I stand in awe of how wonderful God is. How great and indescribable His love is. How I have been able to look up and see the stars, and reflect in humility and gratitude for how beautiful my life truly is. How blessed I am to know the gospel. To know my Savior. Stars that will forever burn bright in the canopy of my life.

He is the Gift.

Share it!

Elder Horne

PS I tried making a gingerbread house temple and failed. I took this picture like 30 seconds before the entire thing collapsed.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So much Thanksgiving food...

Run through of Thanksgiving day.

First: Turkey Bowl. I obviously had no idea whatsoever I was doing, and they seemed to capture that in this lovely photo.

Hurray... It wasn't bad though. After a few minutes someone got hurt (typical) and so to even the teams I went and sat out with them. I know, taking one for the team. What can I say. So, that was relatively thrilling... 

Second: Turkey Cup. This I was actually very excited for. 2 hours of soccer with a bunch of Mexicans. It was awesome! I absolutely loved that, so I'm glad that we were able to go. It was just a lot of fun, and I like soccer, and like to play, so it was good.

Third: food. food. food. 3 dinner appointments in a row. I wasn't even able to enjoy the last one, except for their candied yams because those were delicious. Needless to say, I ate a lot of food. I'm glad we at least played soccer earlier that day. It made me feel a little less fat. It was a wonderful day, and I hope you all had fabulous Thanksgivings.

But now that's over...


There is so much decorating and celebrating and caroling that I want to do, but it's only just begun, since it's still only December 1. Here are some of the Christmas things I have managed to put up already:

Wonderful Nativity that I got last year

Our Christmas Tree!! 
That star took me forever to make... silly super glue

Snowflake chain, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas tree for our bedroom

Our apartment was loaded with stockings (there are 6 more)

Tango the reindeer!!

Obviously I'm excited.

We're making gingerbread houses today (hopefully) and decorating even more. And listening to Christmas music NONSTOP.

However, being over zealous, sometimes there are drawbacks... like when my holiday tie that plays 'jingle bells' accidentally goes off while someone is bearing their testimony... whoops.

Anyway, love you all! Happy Happy Happy Christmas!