I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I just want you each to know how grateful I am for you and how much I truly do love you! I have had such a good week being able to reflect on all of the many blessings that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with. I am way too blessed, that is all I can say. It was a really good week here in Tanglewood and I am happy. All smiles right now! I had a few hard days, but that is just part of life. I have really come to realize that missions are like a big, long, 18-24 month long rollercoaster.
Some days you're super up, some days you're super down, and some days you are just coasting right along. It's quite the ride, but probably the best one. It is surprisingly still quite warm for the end of November, but the rain has picked up again. I don't really like the rain to be honest. I just don't like getting wet and it makes missionary work sometimes difficult. Thanksgiving was great! We woke up and studied, and then had weekly planning. It was actually such a blessing that Thanksgiving lands on a Thursday because we were able to spend 3 hours planning for our upcoming week. That took up most of our morning/afternoon and before we knew it, it was time to eat! We were able to spend our Thanksgiving with a family in the ward and it was fun to be surrounded by many people and yummy food. It was NOTHING like my usual Thanksgivings, but it was still pretty good considering my circumstances haha. We were there for a few hours and then made our way over to some other members homes. We called a few days in advance and set up some appointments. We were able to go over to some homes and share a Thanksgiving message with some families in the ward. That was super nice. I felt really awkward like crashing family parties, but I am grateful for the support of the members here. They are all so wonderful!!!
Later that evening we got invited to another Thanksgiving dinner!
There is this sweet widow in our ward named Sister Coe and she is the cutest thing I have ever seen. She had all of her family coming over and she wanted us to come along. She is the only member in her whole family and so it was really good for us to be able to go and interact with a lot of non members. We shared a great Thanksgiving message with them and talked about GRATITUDE. Oh how grateful I am for gratitude. I was able to study a lot about that this past week and was blown away but what I learned. I am definitely a more grateful person today, than I was a few weeks ago. We are to live in THANKSGIVING DAILY for all that we have. (alma 34:38) Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but our prophet also said that it "unlocks the doors of Heaven and helps us to feel God's love." The more gratitude we have, the more blessings we will notice, and receive. God will give us more if we acknowledge that he is aware of us and blessing us! Failure to recognize what the Lord has given us will soon result in selfish behavior. Something that really stunned me was the not being grateful is a SIN. Say what! We are sinning if we are not having gratitude. Think about that. Our prophet also said, "If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes it's place among the noblest of virtues." So, how do we develop gratitude? WE LIVE A PRAYERFUL LIFE! Gratitude also begins with our attitude, as I am sure we have all heard before! :) I have been really trying to focus on my attitude lately and I have noticed a difference.
I have just been amazed at how much I really do have. Trying to focus more on gratitude has really helped me see the depth of my blessings.
President Alexander once told us that the depth and willingness with which we serve is a direct reflection of our gratitude for our Savior.
I am often asking myself if I am serving with all that I have and giving everything that I am to the lord, so that I can make sure he knows how grateful I am. Remember that being grateful is a commandment. Be grateful in ANY circumstance that life throws at you, because I promise you will ALWAYS have it better off than someone else. True gratitude is an expression of your hope and your testimony.
BLESSINGS BRIGHTEN WHEN YOU COUNT THEM. Remember that. I am so grateful for each of you and feel so blessed to know you. I am so grateful for this Gospel, I am grateful for my sweet family, mom, dad, kaiden & chels, kamryn, cole, kennadi, and lulu. I definitely scored with the best one. I am grateful for this opportunity that I have had to come out on a mission and serve the people of North Carolina. I am in the best mission in the world. There is no place I'd rather be.
Now as far as the work goes, things are going pretty well. Melissa and Pat are both doing great! I love them so much! They have been to church every week and they are just eating it up! I have loved working with them and am so grateful that God allowed me to be apart of their lives. It's amazing the change that has come into their lives because of the gospel. Each and everyday I am amazed at what it can do for people, including myself. It's changed my life completely and I will be forever grateful. We have spent a lot of time lately just finding finding finding! Robert is the closest to getting baptized, but he's got one foot in and one foot out, which unfortunately just won't quite cut it! He's gotta be all in for this to work! He's getting closer though and I know somethings going to click for him real soon. We were able to meet a man named Robbie on exchanges this past week and he was a complete miracle! He's just a single guy living the life and is ready for the gospel. We have an appointment with him tomorrow night and Melissa is going to come teaching with us! I am sooo excited.
She's got such a strong testimony and there is nothing like a recent convert coming out and teaching with you!! Going to be so good! We are going to invite him to be baptized towards the end of December or the beginning of January! Please please please pray for him and pray that he progresses! The members here are great and I am building some good relationships with them. They still aren't quite like my Waxhaw ward, but I feel blessed to be here with so many wonderful people.
This past week has been pretty rough for the mission as a whole- one of our senior elders passed away unexpectedly and it has been so hard for a lot of missionaries. They just got here about a month ago and they were in charge of our apartments and bikes! Literally 2 days before he died, he was in my apartment inspecting it. It's so sad when things like this happen, but I know that the plan of salvation is REAL and I know that he is okay and in a better place. I can't imagine what his wife might be feeling.. and I am praying that she heals and that her and her family will be comforted during this time. We were able to attend another baptism that our lovely Spanish sisters had and that was super great! I still didn't understand a single word, but the spirit was so strong and I loved every second of it. It really boosted me up and lifted my spirits! More and more people are entering the waters of baptism and it is just so exciting! I love this work!
Yesterday was an amazing day!! Not only was I able to partake of the sacrament, but the new 2015 Christmas initiative came out!! I hope you all have taken the time to watch it. It is UNREAL. Mom, make sure Shae Goodwin watches it!! It touched my heart and I am excited to share it with the people here. It's already going nuts and we are working on ways that we can share it with those around us and invite others to DISCOVER our Savior! The church does such an amazing job! The video was also launched in NYC on a huge billboard on Times Square!! Now that is what I'm talking about!!! Missionary work in NYC is happening!
What a wonderful time of year to reflect on our loving savior and redeemer. I am excited for the upcoming holidays and am excited to share my testimony of the Savior with others. My love for his has grown so much and I feel so blessed to be able to share my knowledge with others. Tomorrow Sister Steinagel and I have a mission leadership conference in Charlotte and I know that President Alexander is going to be talking a lot about how we can help our missionaries help others during this wonderful time of LOVE! Everyone's spirits are high and the fire is in the air. This little town is so adorable too. There are little snowflakes and lights everywhere lining the streets. It makes me super happy. We also jam out to David Archuleta's Christmas mix and it is definitely getting me in the spirit of Christmas. It will be hard to be away from home, but I have heard that there just isn't quite anything like a Christmas on your mission. So, I am excited. We were able to help a few members this week set up their tree and decorate their houses and that made me really happy! :) Now I just need a set of white christmas lights to put in my apartment...... :) I already have 2 stockings that say "SISTER" on it and those are hung and ready to go! We're doing well over here & living the high life!
Transfers are next week and it will be interesting to see what happens with that... but I am ready for whatever God is going to give me!
BRING IT ON! Sister Steinagel is ready to leave and things are coming to a close for her. It has been hard being with her this past week, and it really is just getting harder and harder to be with her, but I am constantly reminded that this is good for me and that this is where I need to be at this time. I am grateful for her and I am grateful for what I have been able to learn from her. God only knows though that I could only be with her for one transfer.. anymore than that and I may have died. :) Jk, she is great and I am being reproved on lots of the things that I am doing wrong and my weaknesses are definitely being made known... but life is good.
I don't have much time left because we decided to go to the mall today..... sorry :) It was super fun! And I spoiled myself and bought me a new skirt from BANANA! So, I am one happy girl. I am currently sitting at the church watching the elders play some basketball and they are getting mad at me for not participating, but they all know how important my email time is. This week I studied one thing, besides gratitude on Thanksgiving, and that was President Monson's last conference talk entitled, "Be an example and a light." I don't know how many of you remember that talk, but I would invite you to go and reread that talk. Because he was super frail and weak, I think I was more focused on that and watching him to make sure he was going to be okay, instead of actually focusing on what he was trying to tell us.
What an AMAZING talk. & perfect for all of the holidays coming up. In his talk he talks about six attributes of a believer. I was able to break each one of those down and think about times in my life when I have seen someone be an example of that attribute. The first two go together. Be an example in WORD AND CONVERSATION. The first thing that came to mind was obviously how awful the world is when it comes to language. It is full of filth. Music, books, TV, phones, everything has bad language. I think of how much the Lord's name is used in vain.
It absolutely breaks my heart how disrespectful people are. I hear it being used the wrong way at least 3 times a day here. Another thing that came to mind was the power and destruction that gossip has.
Gossip is evil! We need to stand up and be the ones to stop it! I am so guilty of it, and have definitely learned that I need to be better.
The next attribute is CHARITY & LOVE! The pure love of Christ. There has been no greater example in my life than my sweet mother and my Grandma Schlappi. They know and understand what it means to have charity and love. They just get it. Thank you so much for your great example. I have felt so much love from them and it has helped me increase my ability to love.
Okay well I have to go now!!! Sorry I played a game of basketball!! & couldn't finish. Go read the rest of the talk and I'll continue next week!!!! Love you all so much. Thanks for everything! Sending my hugs & kisses! See ya in seven!! Xo