Well you are all incredible. Thank you for praying that I wouldn't be homesick! Your prayers worked, I was not homesick on thanksgiving, just happy and grateful to be out here and grateful that I have such a great family to miss. If I never left I'd never fully appreciate what I've got! For example: Scrabble and Nertz and Ticket to Ride would have been a little bit more like "Sure..." but now that I fully appreciate thanksgiving with your family I'll be like "YESSSS SCRABBLE NERTZ TICKET TO RIDE!" In the future. Know what I'm saying? ;)
To quote mom: "It must be awkward spending a traditionally family oriented feast with people you don't know very well, but better than being alone." Haha... well, yup! I'd never talked to them before in my life. But it was nice. :) And Sister Michelson is an amazing cook. After we ate an early dinner with them we drove around delivering little gratitude notes we'd made and little tins of cookies to some of our investigators, less actives, recent converts, bishops. We made a dozen notes and that was exactly as many people as we had time to visit. It was a good day! Sister Martin's first Thanksgiving. So special. :)
Our seminary speaking assignment turned out kind of comical :P Sooo... me being a poor communicator and Sis Martin learning English, she thought that we were joint-teaching a class rather than giving two separate talks... and I didn't realize that's what she thought until she got up in front of the pulpit! She motions me up to stand next to her and I kind of did this awkward... "Me?" So I just went with it xD rather than giving the talk I prepared, I just kind of helped her give hers. I wondered why she was prepared with so many visual aids when we left the apartment. We were finally able to talk about it and get on the same page after the morningside was over, with a mutual "Ohhhh... oops." Pretty funny :) It still went well though. Hopefully it helped some of those kids to make scripture study a priority!
Our area has a lot of recent convert/less active work to do. It's so sad when those two groups become the same thing! They had some great elders in the White Cliffs ward about a year ago, and after those elders left a lot of their recent converts stopped coming to church. So we are trying to go to the rescue. :)
One family we're working with, the Rackley's, has a very special place in my heart. We actually started teaching their daughter as an investigator, but then we realized she is 8 years old. (VERY tall and VERY smart for 8 years!) So she's technically a child of record baptism. We're still going over and going through all the lessons with the family, because they're all trying to get active again. I wish you could just sit in on one of those lessons. The Spirit is so strong in their home. We asked Brother Rackley to share how the gift of the Holy Ghost has made a difference in his life and he started to cry. And Sister Rackley started to cry. And Delaney started to cry. And I wanted to cry! Why does the Spirit make people cry so much?? "But it's a good cry," as Bro. Rackley said.
Xonya is having a really difficult time and needs your prayers. Her dad passed away on Friday and so she wants to push her baptism back a few weeks. We just want to be there for her and help her through it at her pace, but she keeps missing her appointments and church and going MIA for long periods of time. I fasted for her yesterday. It's hard to know how to help this grieving 16 year old girl who's already gone through more in her life than I can imagine... I know it's not us she needs the help from, but her Heavenly Father through us. I am exercising faith that He will help Sis Martin and I know what to do.
I have one request for you all! I told Nelson about this already, because he's kind of the resident jokester, but I need any and all missionary-appropriate, punny, cheesy, gospel-related jokes you can think of. We send them to one of our investigators, Brock, and it's a wonderful way to have daily contact and keep the gospel on his mind. Different tactics for different investigators... Here are two examples:
How many missionaries does it take to change a lightbulb?
Two, but the lightbulb has to want to change.
How does Moses make his tea?
--He really liked the last one. But I'm just not that funny and my joke repertoire is basically limited to those two. So if you can think of any jokes like that, please send them my way!!
Dad, we were over at Bishop Tinnel's last night (we are teaching his granddaughters) and he had just gotten home from a long afternoon of tithing settlement. I had told him before how you've been a bishop twice, and last night he said "I just keep thinking about your dad and all the tithing settlements he's done. Give him my deepest respect and sympathy!"
Another transfer is coming to an end this week, and I can hardly believe it! We're going really hit it hard this week and try to find teach baptize reactivate pray plead work sweat and serve! Most likely Sister M will be leaving since she's been here for 6 months and I'll probably be staying, but I'll let you know next week after we get our transfer doctrines.
I know Thanksgiving is over and we're moving on to Christmas (yaaaaaaaaaay) but one thing I've been focusing on lately is having a grateful heart. Positivity and optimism. Preach My Gospel says "do not become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith." So even when I don't see the immediate results of my work-- when people don't enter the waters of baptism, when they don't show up to church, when the auxiliaries don't immediately get on board and I haven't won the hearts of the people or been able to get through to them-- I'm trying to focus on the things that are going well and the lessons I'm learning from the things that aren't. It's easy to focus on the trial of a mission, but that's a trap. So even though thanksgiving is over, I'm working on an attitude of gratitude in my heart!
It always makes me so happy to hear about how you're doing! Thanks for writing to me and for all your support! It means the world! Love you all!!
Love, Sister B
P.S: I found out yesterday that Bro Cornelison in my ward is Taylor Bird's half brother! How cool is that?!