Happy December! Oh, how the time flies when you are having fun. Firstly thank you for all the Dearelders, Thanksgiving cards, packages, and wedding annoucements last week. I think I set a district record for mail last Wednesday with over double digits.
Thanksgiving here was amazing! I'm just going to share excerpts from my journal, so I don't forget anything from that day...
"Today was one of them most memorable Thanksgivings of my life. I got up at 6:30am as usual and got ready for the day. At 8:45am we went outside and joined the Elders in the 10am Devotional line. They had been waiting there since 7am. We played the foot game and sang hymns until they opened the doors. Brother Angus gave us second row seats right on the side. They were great and I was especially grateful for such good seats when Elder and Sister Holland walked in, confirming the rumors. A few minutes before the devotional started Brother Angus motioned for us four sisters to move over to the front and center seats below the pulpit. I was literally shaking as I walked right in front of Elder Holland to sit on the front row. We couldn't have been any closer to him unless we were sitting by him on the stand. Sister Holland smiled at me and I'm pretty sure I made eye contact with Elder Holland at least once. Awesome! They both gave amazing talks. Elder Holland's talk was a little different in that he answered some deep doctrinal questions that we had submitted to the Mission Presidency last month. It was pretty cool. The spirit was so strong in that meeting and it was such a blessing to hear an Apostle of the Lord and be only 5 feet away from him."
After the devotional we had our Thanksgiving dinner which was great, although I do admit that I missed home made rolls and funeral potatoes. Later that afternoon we had a humanitarian presentation. It was actually really interesting. They showed us pictures and videos, and talked about all the humanitarian projects that the church is involved with around the World. It is amazing how much good we are doing and how much money we are able to donate to all these humanitarian projects.
For Thanksgiving dinner we had some delightful sack lunches while sitting in our bedroom floor, and it was really fun.
For our service project we formed an assembly line and made first aid kits, like the ones that they send whenever there are natural disasters in the world. It was actually fun and we completed 8,000 kits as a MTC whole.
To end the wonderful Thanksgiving evening we had another fireside which was music and then President Smith opened the floor for missionaries to give "thank-a monies." It was really good, and of course it was also kinda interesting, cause you never know what 19 year old boys are going to say when they get the microphone in front of 2500 people. But Thanksgiving was wonderful, and I was so blessed to be here at the MTC for it!
The rest of our week here was pretty standard...pure awesomeness and business. We do receive some Babylonian (wordly) news here, so I did hear all about the BYU vs UofU football game. My companions and district were all pretty happy about the BYU victory. And I am expecting a DearElder tomorrow from someone, anyone letting me know how Aggie basketball does in the Spectrum against BYU. Of course it would be fun to be there, but honestly being at the MTC is way better than being at an Aggie basketball game, hands down. But it's still fun to know.
I've really been spending a lot more time reading the Book of Mormon this week, and it has been amazing. I am learning so much that I have never realized in all my readings of it previously. For once I feel like I am truly "feasting" on the words and I honestly spend every moment I can trying to read it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it will bless our lives if we read it and take it to heart.
I was glad to hear that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that Christmas fun has already begun. The MTC is already decorated for Christmas and the lights here are beautiful. I don't miss at all the Christmas shopping though, so all those who were brave enough to go shopping on Black Friday, hats off to you. I'm interested to see how many misionaries we get the next few weeks with Christmas holiday and all. I know that the MTC was overpacked during Thanksgiving, so much so that they had to open up overflow residence halls. And since we didn't get any missionaries the day before Thanksgiving, the week before that there were over 700 new missionaries, compared to today where we got less than 300 newbies. It is amazing how many missionaries come through this training center though. We really are a powerful group.
This week, we had Sister Cheryl Lant, the Primary General President, come speak to us and she compared us to the 2,000 Stripling Warriors. It was an awesome talk.
Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts, and support. It really means so much to me. I am so grateful to be out here serving a mission. I am so excited to be learning Albanian and to get to go teach the people of Albanian in a month! I know that the Church is true and that God loves us and answers our prayers. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and I am so grateful for his Atonement. Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon is True. And I know President Monson is a prophet of God today!
I love you all!