Received November 24, 2010
Dear family and Friends!
I want you to know how thankful I am for each and every one of you! I am thankful for the kind and loving people that you are! I am thankful for the love and support that you show to me every single day. Whether its a letter from best friends, or a post card or a package, or a prayer or a thought, I know that each and every one of you are doing so much for me and I want you to know how extremely thankful I am for that. I know that being thankful requires a lot more than just saying it. Love is a verb and it requires our action. I know that! If any of you have ever felt that I have forgotten you, or that I am not truly thankful for what you have done, please, please, PLEASE do not think that! I love you all so much and I am sorry that I have not been able to show my thanks to you in the way that you might like or need me to. I truly do love you guys and I am thankful for what you do -- so very truly, happy. THANK YOU! FOR ALLLLLLLL THAT YOU DO!
It was a little shocking to open up the emails today and and catch bits and pieces of how mom will be coming out of surgery. That was a complete shocker to me. I'm not really sure what is going on with mom and why she has to get surgery on her leg, but I want you to know mom that I love you and I care about you so much. I really do hope that everything will go well on your surgery today. I want you to know that the second that I found out that you were going to have surgery I began to pray for you! I know that everything will go well today and I wish you the best of luck. I love you mom! I am so thankful for you! I know that everything will turn out just the way it needs to and that you will be back on your feet in no time!
This past week has been an adventure for Elder Varner and I. It was just another one of those missionary weeks. We got a lot of work done. We have seen a lot of progress with the investigators with whom we are working and we are really excited for what lies ahead of us. But as for big amazing stories, I think that those are still in store for the future. I can, however, give you a quick update on the families with whom we are working and how things are going with them.
Andres and Alexia came to church this past week and it was so awesome! We told Raul and his family that we would stop by on Sunday morning to help wake them up and they live right by Andres and Alexia so we decided to stop by! They were all up and getting ready to go at like 7:00! We were so pumped! I know that doesn't seem like a big deal to you guys (yeah, I know that you all get up early and get ready for church and all of that) but here its a big deal for people to get up early on Sundays. That is usually the only day that these people have to rest. But they are absolutely loving church and what they are learning. They keep on telling everyone at church, and all of their neighbors, about their baptismal date. They are looking forward to it. I know that there is a blizzard warning up there in Utah right now. I hope that everything goes well, that you are safe and protected, and that there isn't a lot of damage. But right now, it looks like we are going to have a blizzard of our own down here pretty soon. That was a really really bad joke. I do apologize.
Raul, had a baptismal date scheduled for this Saturday. As we have started to work with the rest of his family the progress of our teaching has slowed down a bit. But anyways, Raul is set. He is so ready and excited to get baptized. He is working right now to quit smoking and its going to take a little longer than we all expected. Yesterday we had a fantastic lesson on prayer and he was really excited to pray after we had finished the lesson. He was always afraid to pray around us and we couldn't figure it out. But we were blessed yesterday and the spirit truly touched him and he was ready to pray. It was awesome! We continue to work with the rest of his family. They all love it. But they are progressing a lot slower than the dad. We are working to clear up doubts along the way. But the key is that this family continues to progress and we are looking forward to (hopefully) watching the entire family get baptized next month. We are excited for a very, very white Christmas.
We did have one pretty cool experience this week. We made a visit Sunday to help some Elders in our zone that have been struggling. They were quite a ways from reaching the goals that they had set for the week. Their goal was to teach 13 lessons. When we got there Sunday we had 6 hours on to do it. We walked in and we knew that there was no way we were going to be able to do it alone. We got on our knees and we went to work. I don't think that I have had a more productive six hours in my mission. I saw a change in those missionaries for which have been hoping and praying for so long. It was so great to see them start to see that the Lord was going to bless us with a miracle. When we got to the end of the night, we met up with my companion and the Elder with whom he had been teaching. They told us about how, in the last lesson of the day, the lesson that was going to reach their goal, they were able to set a baptismal date with the family. We were so excited for them! They have been wanting this for a long time. Our problem has been that we couldn't figure out how to help them see that the Lord blesses us when we do what He asks us to do. On Sunday we saw a huge miracle for them as they were able to see the blessings that flow and come from diligently, and prayerfully, working hard in the service of the Lord!
Thanks all of you for telling me about your Thanksgiving plans! (hahah!) I am sure that you are all dying to know what we will be doing tomorrow to celebrate the holiday. Unlike last year when I was on Aruba for Thanksgiving, here in Puerto Rico they actually do celebrate it. Los Puertoriquenos love their food! And well . . . .so do their missionaries, (hahah). I am really excited to see a big chunk of the culture tomorrow. But once again I am most excited to get to see people remember all of the blessings they have received from the Lord. When we remember Him, He blesses us. I am hopeful that the appointments we have tomorrow with our investigators will include hearts soft enough to see all that the Lord has done for them so that the spirit can enter their hearts and we can make some huge progress. As for our actual plans . . . we have a lot of appointments tomorrow to eat! I think that we are going to get fed about 5 thanksgiving dinners. (hahah). I am not looking forward to that part of the day but it is going to be a great day celebrating it in a way that you only get to once or twice in your entire life. I am pumped! A lot of families are going to be together tomorrow as well. That idea has us licking our chops and getting pumped to get out there and find those families that God has prepared for us!
I know what tomorrow represents. I am so thankful that we have this chance to remember our Heavenly Father and remember all of the blessings that we have been given. Once again I want you to know how thankful I am for you. I will do better at showing my thanks. But as I try to find the time to do so, please be patient with me and know that I love you! I want to leave you guys with a list of some of the things that I am thankful for:
I am thankful to be a part of my Heavenly Father's work. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows and cares for each of us, His children, individually. I am thankful for a loving Savior who was willing to die for me. I am thankful for early prophets and early pioneers who were willing to give up all that they had just so that we,their children, could have a fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the knowledge that has been restored! For a remembrance of the perfect gospel and a perfect plan. I am thankful for each and every one of you, my family and my friends. As we start to turn our thoughts and feelings towards Christ and His birth, I will never be able to thank Him enough for what He did for us. I love Him! I know He lives! I know He died for us so that we as families would be able to return to live with Him once again. I love this work! And I am so thankful to be a part of it!
I hope that you have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Enjoy the turkey! We are going to have turkey too! But they don't have mashed potatoes here/ In Puerto Rico we get arroz con gandules! (mmmmmmm lo mejor)!
Buen Provecho a todos!
Les Amo con todo mi corazon, Que Tengan un feliz dia de accion de gracias, o como se dicen aqui! Feliz Thanksgiving!
I love you guys so much! Have a great Thanksgiving!
All the love in the world.