I hope yall had as wonderful a Thanksgiving holiday as we did over here. But before I get to that, something else significant happened this week - TRANSFERS! And my dear Sister Stofferahn went home :( along with three other of my previous companions! Sister Johnson, Sister Boam, and Sister Killian. So yeah, that was fun. NOT. All of them will be sorely missed, but I am excited to see all the great things they do with their lives back at home.
And as more my new companion - I am training again! Her name is Sister Mulivai and she is from Hawaii and says I love food as much as a Polynesian. I am so so excited to get to end my mission training a new missionary - even though I think it's so unfair thinking of all the time she has left ahead of her! She is awesome though, and we have a lot of fun.
As for Thanksgiving...Whereas last year we had an all day pday for Thanksgiving, this Thanksgiving was a proselyting day! So we got to go out a visit with a number of people before having Thanksgiving dinner with a super sweet family in the ward that fed us well and sent us home with leftovers. We then were able to go over to our Bishop's home for a pie party - a Thanksgiving tradition which I highly approve of.
But my favorite thing about Thanksgiving was the time Sister Mulivai and I took to study the attribute of gratitude, and to really incorporate it into our day and into our work. I absolutely love President Uchtdorf's quote, that gratitude is "the catalyst to all Christlike attributes." And it is true! As we truly are grateful for what we have been blessed with, as we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our life, we are more able to feel his love in every aspect of our lives. As we are grateful, we are less selfish, we are less disappointed, we are less prideful. We are simply able to worship our Father and Savior more wholly as we recognize and acknowledge Them.
With that in mind, here are just a few things I am especially grateful for at this time:
1) the opportunity I have had to serve as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. That hardly does justice to the way I feel about my mission - to say I am grateful for it is just the beginning. My life and my eternity will never be the same because of these sacred months.
A Texas fall...in December, yes, but a Texas fall nevertheless!
3) my family. Yesterday at church we had a mission farewell in the Humble ward, and watching the family of this young man as they prepare to send him out, and their love and their sacrifice just really stood out to me, and made me realize how much my family has sacrificed for me to be out here. I'm not saying "I know my family has had to sacrifice being their with me - because let's face it being with me is just such a great blessing," but I know that it really wasn't the nicest thing of me and my two brothers to all ship off the same week on our missions, but I am infinitely grateful for the fact that my family has given me nothing but support and help the entire time.
4) The fact that the Spirit inspires us in so many ways - like prompting me to make sure my little first aid kit was all stocked this last week - and then look what happened
But thanks to a newly stocked supply of cleansing wipes and Monsters Inc. Bandaids, my baby survived her first bike crash.
5) "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" be in Vocal Point, be it Piano Guys, be it my own less inspiring rendition while we bike - I absolutely love that song.
6) The sacred ground of Lake Charles, Louisiana; Pasadena, Texas; and Humble Texas. Those places are holy ground to me now and forever, and the people in those cities will forever be in my prayers. God sends you where he needs you - on your mission, in your career, with your family, wherever. He knows best, and as we seek to love where we are at, we will come to love those places and people and situations and whatever more than we ever thought possible.
7) my companions - Sister Barton, Sister Johnson, Sister Boam, Sister Crump, Sister Killian, Sister Bolton, Sister Stofferahn, and Sister Mulivai. I love each and every one of these sisters so much. I have been changed by each and every one of these sisters so much. And I will be forever grateful for what they taught me, for the time we had together, for their tolerating my occasional soapbox sermons on obedience, and never judging me for the amount of Bluebell I am capable of putting away.
8) but most importantly - I am grateful for my Savior. I hope yall have had the chance to watch the new video the church recently released, called He is the Gift. If not, repentance is real and available for you - go watch it! It is amazing, and it is such a sweet and powerful reminder of the ultimate gift - our Savior Jesus Christ. He has always been my Savior, he has always been my Redeemer, but on my mission I have truly come to know Him as my brother, and as my friend. For his matchless life and infinite Atonement I am endlessly grateful.
I love yall so much. I hope that at this time of year especially, we all think more closely on our Savior, and come to know His voice more perfectly, and live our lives in such a way that He recognizes us as His own.
Missions seriously can be unnecessarily traumatic, if you think about it
Our new district for Thanksgiving! From bottom left, sisters turpin and crump, with sis mulivai and me up top, and elders huff, dean, sarchet, and knebel