HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! It sure was a memorable week and definitely a time I was grateful for all that I have. We did have transfer calls this past Saturday and I'm staying here in Evans, GA for another six weeks! The transfer ends January 9th, 2017 and its crazy that we are already starting up another year. Time goes by sooo fast! Elder Weston is getting transferred though so I'll be getting a new companion for this upcoming transfer. I'm really going to miss Elder Weston and all the good times that we had together. He's a great example of hard work and works really hard. with him living by Bear Lake we will for sure spend some time together after the mission, but I will miss him. But since I'm staying my address is still the same one that you have now to send the package:) I'm excited for my Birthday package, and I cant believe its my birthday this Sunday! The missionaries are making "secret" plans to surprise me with for my Birthday, so we will see what they end up doing for my birthday:) Also thank you for your Thanksgiving letter, it was AWESOME!
This past week sure was a memorable one with lots of time to reflect on this past year and all the blessing that I was able to enjoy...
On Monday, we went to the Ganuza family's home for dinner. Corey, one of our investigators came over for dinner as well. At the end of dinner we watched the Hope of God's Light https://www.mormonchanne
l.org/watch/series/mormon- messages/the-hope-of-gods- light with Corey and the spirit was very strong. It was perfect for him and one aspect of the video that really stood out to me was just the concept of faith. That he overheard two girls having a conversation of fasting and prayer and that small seed was planted. God didn't appear to him but over the course of two years the seed was nurtured as he acted and the seed grew and grew and grew. Its sometimes really hard to act on the faith because there our human nature is to doubt and say "what if" but for faith to work we have to push doubt aside and rely on God wholeheartedly and thats when miracles happen. Slowly but surely we are watching Coreys belief in God grow and we are excited for the fruits that are to come.
On Tuesday, we went to North Augusta, SC for district meeting and exchanges. After we had district meeting and ate lunch we played a little parking lot baseball. We grab a stick and played baseball with a tennis ball. It was a lot of fun, but who knew that I'd be playing baseball in a suit like who does that? haha only missionaries:) I went on exchanges with Elder Richards who just got on his mission about 1 month ago. We started off with a memorable service project. The Sisters in North Augusta had an investigator family who needed some help with some yard work in their backyard. They had a backyard full of old school tractors and a pen of chickens. Our job was to clear the area of pine straw and move the tractors to the side of the yard. Haha and no I wasn't able to drive the tractors because they weren't in working order but I did take a few pictures with them:) Another part of the service was as we picked up old scrap metal and pine straw we were to "stomp" on cockroaches and put them in a bucket to feed the chickens with. We moved this one rickety old wheel barrel with what looked like a tarp that had been there for more than 15 years and found oodles of cockroaches! We punched, slapped and hit them all (with gloves don't worry). It was fun how much chickens love cockroaches. I think at the end of the project we collected over 100 cockroaches! What?!? That night we had an interesting contrast of lessons. Our first lesson was with a part-member family where we read from 3 Nephi 11 and the spirit was very evident. The man we were teaching accepted a Book of Mormon and promised to read it. Mike, was his name, refused to take one previously but because the spirit was there he felt prompted to read more in it. After a great spiritual lesson, we had a bit of time left in the night and decided to try a potential kiddie corner from the apartment we just came from. We weren't in the best apartment complex and this 17 year old answered the door and the spirit that was felt in the home was so negative and it was hard to portray the Restoration when a aggressive pit bull was breaking in and out of the door and kids yelling at us on the other side of the door. It got to the point where I had to say it wasn't a good time to share the message because it was the time or place to share a sacred message like the Restoration. When we were leaving the kids released the dog and the pit bull chased us into the truck we were got into. I don't know how many more scary dog stories I can have haha.
On Wednesday, we had district meeting on the Savannah river for the last one of the transfer and it was sad that it was our last time being together it seems like just yesterday I got transferred here to Evans. After District Meeting I did something I didn't want to do but did for the memory. There's a place in Evans called Embers Grille where they have a food challenge where you have to eat a triple cheeseburger, tons of fries, and a large drink in 45 minutes. It was soooo painful!!! But I finished it and got my picture on the wall. The reason I didn't want to do it was because of how bad it was for me and knowing that I'd have to eat alot for Thanksgiving the next day it was a hard task. It was sooo much food!! Then I had the true test of how well I could hold food down because we had a dinner appointment at the Hinsdales who are an elderly couple who spent all day cooking the meal we had and insisted on having us have at least 2 plates. It was SOOOO HARD!!
On Thursday, it was Thanksgiving! The highlight of the day was definitely spending time with the Criswell families home. Brother Criswell raises turkeys and he processed a a fresh turkey for thanksgiving. I was surprised at how much flavor there was in the Turkey without all of the preservatives. There was a lot of food, but the only thing that made the food better was the company. To be completely honest Thanksgiving was a lot harder being away from home this time around than it was last year. I think a reason why it was hard was because everyone at the dinner was with their family laughing and playing and we were just there by ourselves. Also last year Thanksgiving was our first one away from home so it was exciting maybe to do something new, but since we had already done it before it was hard to be away from home this time around. I don't mean to say this to make you think that I had a rough day because I thought of home, but I wanted to share this because I do miss y'all and I'm grateful for you.I was thinking of all the blessings over the past year and I'm so grateful for this mission experience I've had. My testimony in Jesus Christ has been solidified and I'm so grateful that I made the decision to go on a mission. The people I've met, the spiritual moments I've had, the miracles I've witnessed, and the sacrifice I've made have all played a large part in who I am today. It has realigned priorities and made me realize whats really important in life. I'm grateful for so many things that would take me a while to type, but I'm grateful for mainly three things Jesus Christ, my family, and my mission.
On Friday, it was a hard day of planning where a lot of plans fell through and people wouldn't reply. It was a struggle planning for the upcoming transfer without knowing who would be transferred ,but we made it work. That night we went to the Storrers and shared the Christmas initiative called #Lightheworld. The church did a great job with it and it really shows how we can serve God's children in very simple ways.
On Saturday, we started off by playing Frisbee! It was a lot of fun but the teams were unfair. It was Elder Weston, me and two girls who stood on the field against 3 guys who played as much as I played basketball at home. We stuck with them, but Elder Weston and I got gassed in the end. That afternoon we got to witness Ava Call get baptized. She was such a happy little girl to be baptized and the spirit was very strong! There were a few ladies that sang Come thou fount of Every Blessing which was very fitting for Thanksgiving and I loved the spirit there. That afternoon we helped Rosemary with a few chores around her place and taught her about Jesus Christ and the divine role he plays in our life. We also shared the initiative with a few members that night. One of them was the Lunds. John Lund who is a member I knew in Columbus was visiting his parents who are members in Evans and I got to catch up with him for a good while which was a cool coincidence. We then went to go visit Scott Bradley and helped lift his spirits as he is struggling to quit smoking. We felt that we should just cheer him up with jokes, guitar, and laughs. At the end we watched the Christmas initiative video and his attitude of life changed to joy at the end of our visit which was really cool how the gospel changes people.
On Sunday, it was a memorable Sunday. Sacrament meeting was one to remember. The talks were about remaining faithful with people around you tearing you down. Sister Ganuza shared the Lehi Dream story and how we shouldn't be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The special musical number touched the the congregation. The Bishops daughter sang the song "blessings" by Laura Story. It touched so many people and one of our investigators cried and felt the spirit so strongly that it was a confirming witness that this path was right for him. We also received word that Madison Boswell got okayed by her parents for her to get baptized on December 28th! Sooooo exciting! She has been waiting for a while and we are excited to help her receive her goal of being baptized!The whole Sunday service was spiritual as we talked about talents and how develop them. There is lots of progression with our investigators and its because we have really focused on their needs and helping them feel the spirit.
I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ, this time I have be on my mission, I'm grateful for the growth I've had in my testimony, I'm grateful for my family and friends, and so many more blessings but in this time of year where we get to remember Jesus Christ I know that He Lives as I've felt his love circle around me. I know this church is true and the gospel is true and changes lives.
I LOVE Y'aLL