Friday, December 25, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Dear Family & Friends,

I've literally drafted this email 3 times because I can't find the words for everything that's happened this week exactly right. This week has been one of the craziest weeks of my mission, if not the craziest! I have so may things to write about, but if I start it will just go on forever so I'll try my best to sum everything up.

We had the opportunity to teach so many people this past week and that just makes the bad times worth it. It's so incredible to feel the
spirit testifying through you. We were able to teach the first lesson, the restoration so many times this week and my testimony is continuing to grow of Joseph Smith. Every single time I recite his account of the First Vision it always brings the spirit and there is absolutely no denying that he saw our Loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I even think of Joseph's own words when he says, "I knew it and I knew that God knew it and I could not deny it"

We had a Temple Conference last week and got to go and do a session with President & Sister Jardine. It was an amazing feeling to be in the Temple with other missionaries. I'm just so grateful we have a Temple in our mission and have the opportunity to go!

Tuesday I turned 20 and the morning started out great! We woke up and got ready-when I got out of the shower Sister Hickman had decorated our room...she's seriously the best! I started reading the letters and emails I had received and just started to cry-happy tears! My heart was just so full of gratitude. Heavenly Father has blessed me with so many good people in my life and I just can't explain how grateful I am. We went to volunteer at the food bank in down-town Sacramento that morning and we parked our car then got out and put our bags in the trunk. We were in the food bank for about half an hour when we got a call from our vehicle coordinator saying the police had called and someone had broken into our car! The Elders were volunteering with us so we told them what had happened and they came out to our car with us. Our window was shattered and we started looking through the car and realized nothing was gone? We were so confused! Then we popped the
trunk and realized our bags were gone!! As a missionary, your whole entire life is in that bag! Our iPads, our wallets & credit cards! It was awful. Then these random guys across the street were like "oh yeah we watched this guy with orange hair steal your bags!" I wanted to say, "okay well why the heck didn't you stop them??" But whatever. Then I realized that my Book of Mormon was in my bag & I was literally so devastated. That was honestly my most prized mission possession. I started that Book of Mormon back in June and had finished it last week. I had spent hours and hours of personal study in that Book of Mormon. I had never read the Book of Mormon so in depth before and had written so
many quotes in there. My heart broke!! I basically wanted to break down and cry, then I realized how many pictures I had on my iPad that were gone forever! We called a member to call our parents to cancel our credit cards. Then we waited at our car for 2 hours for our vehicle coordinator so he could come pick up the car. We got replies from our parents through the members and the only thing Sister Hickmans parents were worried about were how she would get on her flight home without her drivers license and the only thing my parents were worried about is what time I'd be skyping them for Christmas!! Then our vehicle coordinator got there and gave us his car to drive back to the mission office. On the ride back to the office Sister Hickman and I had a good reflection on the whole day. We started to cry, we got a taste of what most of the world goes through during Christmas time. How we had nothing, no money, no family or friends in a place we didn't know...but this is how most of the world is. Most people don't have family or friends or money to make their Christmas special. We talked
about how truly blessed we are, we talked about how loving our parents are...we just had the iPad's stolen that they had bought us and all they cared about is when the next time they would see their daughters would be. It was really a touching car ride back as we were both in tears, talking about how grateful we are for the family we have. How grateful we are for each other and how truly blessed we both are. It was a good lesson learned, sometimes Heavenly Father has to humble you to teach you a lesson.

That night at dinner the members decorated their kitchen with birthday streamers & balloons. I started tearing up as we walked in. It had seriously been the worst day, but I guess sister Hickman had given them money to decorate. I am so grateful for Sister Hickman and her kindness towards me. She takes good care of me and I'm grateful to be serving with her right now! We've just have been through so much together this week and I'm grateful we have each other.

Anyway I'm sorry this email is so long, thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes & kind emails. My heart has been so full this
week. I am so grateful for this season, how it is hard being away from family, and it's hard being rejected all the time! But this has been my favorite Christmas season as I'm learning so many lessons that I can apply to the rest of my life. I am grateful for the trials Heavenly Father gives us to make us better people through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Lord gives us trials for us to learn and grow. Sometimes you need to be compelled to be humble ;) This Christmas will be one I'll hold dear in my heart forever as its taught me how incredibly blessed I am. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and remember our Savior Jesus Christ in all that you do.

Merry Christmas
Love always,
Sister Sobotka

PS - Sorry have no pictures since the iPad's were stolen:( Here's the only pic I have of me on my birthday at the end of the
craziest day ever!


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