I'm so happy that having Cintia send you that picture could make you so happy! I just had this bizarre thought after she took it "Hey! She should send that to my mom!" Super random, but all good thoughts come from God, so I just blurted it out, and she said she would! And she texted us yesterday and said she got a really happy email from you. I was tickled that you got a bang out of that! Love you so!
Can't believe ya'll have snow! I'm kind of jealous - it's 48 degrees here but no snow. And Christmas is coming but it doesn't feel like it haha! Sister Alvine is freezing her bum off but Sister Lyons loves it. Sister Alvine is from Africa and Sister Lyons is from Canada so I guess that makes sense haha. I'm kind of in the middle - I'm not terribly cold, but I wouldn't mind if it warmed up a smidge! :)
So excited for you to have Caits home! I pray for her and John lots. He just sent me an email and he sounds pretty upbeat too, so that's awesome. Can't wait to see pictures of you all!
Way to go wanting to go out with the missionaries more! We need to do a better job of involving members, especially because we have like 100 miles left for the months, oops. We have to drive to Albany and back again this week, so that eats 50 miles. Maybe it's Heavenly Father's way of getting us to reach out to members! But it's true, it really does make a difference when we bring members to visit investigators or less actives. It helps them feel less afraid about coming to church and it gets the members all pumped up. So really it's win win for everyone!
So yeah, I was feeling pretty uptight, but then Heavenly Father sent me Sister Lyons and I learned how to breathe again. I got so wrapped up in numbers, goals, efficiency, that I forgot how to live, laugh, and love. And she totally reminded me. She is so much fun - she uses crazy accents a lot, quote movie lines, and gets it when I quote movie lines. So awesome. She's also been helping Sister Alvine with her English. The trio is the best thing ever. Sad to see Sister Alvine go on Friday - she was so excited to get that MoTab CD in the mail. That is seriously her favorite CD that we have, and I was thinking of giving her my copy when she leaves, but you sent her her own! You are so inspired with the stuff you send!
Okay, so here are my answers to your questions:
For Thanksgiving, we have 3 set appointments - one with Elen Garver, an awesome lady who lost her son and father within a month of each other this year. She said the holidays are going to be hard, so she is invited her friends and family for a big happy celebration, and she has kept herself busy cleaning and preparing her house for the big day. We love this lady and we are excited to be with her on what might otherwise be a hard day.
After that, we are going to go eat with a less active mother/daughter. The mom is getting old and has dememtia but she's the sweetest lady. Her daughter get's overwhelmed with work and the care of her mom, and she works on Sunday, but wants to find a new job so she can come back to church. They just love Sister Alvine and I'm excited to spend time with them.
Our last set appointment is with Pattie Jackson. She is a super solid member with a kinda cute RM son who I worked with while I was in the YSA ward. She let us teach her son's friend the first discussion while I was at LSU, and then I got transferred here a few months later and she just loves having the sisters over. Her nonmember sister and her sisters kids will also be there, so we might have a really cool teaching opportunity!
Besides that, I think we will bake some stuff and drop it off at peoples' houses as we drive and let them know that we are thankful for them. We have been sharing Alma 34:38 a lot and inviting people to live in thanksgiving daily. I just love the holiday season as a missionary!
As far as Christmas goes, yes, I would love some brown tights (large), a long sleeve blue cardigan(L or XL), a floral cardigan of any color (L or XL), maxi skirts or maxi dresses (large), I would love the 2013 EFY CD. I was also wondering if Cheyenne could burn me a CD with some songs that I really love. You can download the songs for free from youth.lds.org and click on music on the right side or just buy them on iTunes.
"See it in Everyone" - Hannah Bradshaw
"If We Forget Ourselves"
"Stand in the Light" - Michael Webb
Any other songs on that website that she think are jammin. :)
I could also use some more Claritin. Cigarette smoke really gets me in addition to the cat and dog hair. :)
Hopefully that list is good/not too long. Thank you for all you do! I'm attaching pics of our trailer all decked out in the decorations you sent - love it! Also, the Christmas card pic is included. Hopefully you can crop my arm out haha.
I am so so so thankful for you forever and always! Sending lots of hugs and squishes!
Here I am! Hope this will work for you to use with the family's annual christmas card photo.
Sister Alvine and I with Cintia Morales and her daughter. They had us over for a yummy dinner!
A photo to show you how we used the Thanksgiving decorations that you sent in your last package.
The hysterical Tom Turkey you sent. He is SO FLUFFY!!
What a great week we had! We taught 26 lessons! 20 here in Denham and 6 in Albany where Sister Lyons normally serves. We had a goal to hit 20 lessons in a week before Sister Alvine left, and we hit it, woot woot! More important than that, I've been learning a lot about repentance, forgiveness, relearning how to laugh and have fun and breathe, and just loving being a missionary. We had a less active finally come to church on sunday and it made me so happy I almost cried. Love love love this work! I kind of don't want to come home.... don't be mad! :)
So for Thanksgiving we are looking forward to fried turkey and cornbread dressing. We had crawfish and corn soup last night at a members house and Sister Alvine said, "Dis is an answer to prayer!" because she LOVES crawfish and is really going to miss it when she goes back to Salt Lake. haha!
It is what it is...... I like it! Very wise sounding indeed haha. Also loved the story from Jana Pauls. I just love that lady. Will you tell her that? I, too, need to be better at counting all the blessings, big and small. We have been sharing Alma 34:38 a lot and talking about how to live in Thanksgiving DAILY not just once a year. I'm working on doing the same myself. It really does help you stay happier and more humble.
Such a bummer about Derrick Rose! That poor guy! Happy to hear about the Blackhawks. What's their record right now?
So I'm going to include excerpts from my President's letter again. I can't wait to Skype with ya'll on Christmas! I feel like email just doesn't do justice to what I'm thinking and feeling and what I want to share with you. But then again, so thankful that we have such an instant form of communication. Email is such a blessing!
Love you with all my heart! Give hugs to Uncle Steve and Uncle Dan and their families for me!
Miss you all!
Another week has gone by - another week full of learning, growing, loving, serving, and teaching. Sister Lyons is awesome, just wanted you to know that. I feel like I'm a better, happier version of myself with her. I had stopped smiling and laughing, and I didn't realize it until she came and breathed life back into the Denham Springs sisters. I had gotten so caught up in numbers, goals, obeying with exactness, that I was becoming something that I'm not. And she reminded me that the best teaching, the best lessons, the best missionary work comes from the heart, from the Spirit, from really loving and caring about a person. I'm so thankful for that reminder.
Is your testimony growing and are you becoming converted to the Lord?
Yes. I finished the study report on repentance, and I feel like, for the first time in my life, I'm coming to understand true repentance and I'm striving to apply it in my life. Sister Lyons said something awesome: "Repentance is change, not a check mark." Love it. It is so true. Justification (forgiveness) happens instantly when we repent, but life long repentance brings sanctification (healing, change) and both are required to live with Father in Heaven again. Thank you for teaching me through the scriptures and giving me the chance to learn from the Spirit. I'm excited to lean now about mercy and forgiveness.
Another sign that I'm changing is the fact that I feel okay about H and R. We aren't going to be able to teach them at all this week, and normally that would freak me out and I would be really concerned that their progression would be at stake. But something is just telling me that it's going to be ok. Everything is going to work out according to God's plan. And He does have a plan for them. I am learning to let go and let God and it's the best feeling.
Report on Companion Unity & District Unity
Things are going splendidly in our trio. We all get a long great. I feel like we are all helping, loving, serving, and teaching each other and it's just awesome. I was worried, but now all worries are gone. I really feel like Sister Lyons is a huge blessing. And I'm going to be sad to see Sister Alvine go, but I've also really enjoyed learning from her. She is amazing.
District Unity has seemed to improve with the arrival of Sister Lyons. She has really taught me to appreciate the Elders and see them as human beings. We are still striving to function more like a family.
Report on Miracles/Tender Mercies
Sister P came to church! And she reached out and fellowshipped another less active woman while she was there!
We got to see an elusive potential investigator when we were in Albany.
We really bonded with the Hammond sisters when we spent the night in Albany.
We have a car! So we didn't have to ride our bikes in the rain!
Report on Book of Mormon Study-what have you learned this week?
In the Bible I've been reading about Jesus laying the smack down on the Pharisees for being hypocrites. Yikes. I'm thankful that He sent me Sister Lyons as a loving reminder instead of a harsh call to repentance like He did with the Pharisees. It reminds me that the Lord tailors our instruction to our needs. He knows each of us perfectly and personally, and so He will refine us in the way that we need and will benefit us most.
Are your investigators reading the Book of Mormon? If needed are you reading it with them?
Something that we've started doing (I can't remember if I told you about this already) is reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon with some of the widows we visit weekly. The three we visit can't see really well, and don't have the Book of Mormon on tape or on CD, so we prayerfully pick a story in the Book of Mormon and read it out loud when we visit them to help them have a small portion of the word of God in their day. I really love it. I hope that if I go blind one day and my family is far away, the missionaries will come read the Book of Mormon with me, because it really is the best book in the whole world.