Well, the bad news and the good news. "S" didn't end up getting baptized , but she'll just be more ready in a couple weeks. Yea for her!!!!
Ummmmm so Thanksgiving was the day after I wrote you last. It seems like a lifetime ago. So on Thanksgiving day we were not to go see people who weren't expecting us. Oh, and everyone in our ward is single, so they went to see their families... Soooooooooooooooooooo we ended up eating at our ward mission leader's house for Thanksgiving, which was actually really fun. I taught all of them how to make our Oreo cookie turkeys and they thought it was great. I got pictures and there were some really good ones made. We also did lists from A to Z on what we are thankful for. I did one for the gospel and one for everything else.
I was reminded again and again how truly thankful I am for my family and for all of the abundance and blessings that we have. I never really realized what it is we have until I've come to Phoenix and seen what basic things some people don't have. I'm so grateful to have been raised in the gospel. Thank you Mom and Dad. You guys are more awesome than you know. I'm also grateful for how united our family is.
After Thanksgiving dinner we went to teach a lesson to one of our investigators and he told us that his Thanksgiving dinner consisted of tortillas that he heated up in the microwave and put some cheese on. His family un-invited him from Thanksgiving dinner because of some things going on with him. He had a couple of rolls laying around though, so we heated them up and had a Thanksgiving meal of rolls together -- him and his only friends. It was simplicity but it was love, and it's all any of us needed. Two or three gathered in His name, and as promised, there was He also. It was the most touching and humbling Thanksgiving dinner I've ever experienced.
We also saw a few miracles this week. Yesterday we had a less-active man who hasn't been to church in six weeks walk in, get up to bear his testimony, and say he wants to come back, then asked if we can come teach him. Then there was a nonmember who looked up what time church started and came on down. Fasting and prayer really does work.
Elder S. and I read a talk on consecration this morning and it kind of blew my mind. Consecration really is the only way to do it right. If we live our lives as consecrated people, asking always if our decisions are what God wants for us and laying our time and talents on the altar of sacrifice, we become so removed from sin that we start to become perfected. It's a thought worth considering.
On Thanksgiving we played in a turkey bowl and I had a couple catches that made me feel like Justin for a minute...it was a good feeling haha. I really do look up to you so much Justin. Ashley, I am utterly convinced that you are a fantastic mother. Chris, I'm sure you're acing school. I pick on you but you're so smart and you love your family. Momma, I find new significance in everything you taught me every single day. Dad, you are a great example for me and have been a great dad. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you and the blessings you are in my life. Grandparents, you guys are awesome -- so strong in the gospel and so willing to sacrifice for your families. I look up to each of you.
It's not that there's nothing to report, it is just that abnormality has become the normality for me. I have all I need, minus perhaps some instructions on how to cook, a skill which somehow in the years of basking in the glow of my parent's cooking I failed to develop. Haha time means more to me now and yet I can't believe how it flies. Living life one day at a time will do that to you. I don't feel like the person I was before. Maybe it's just the hair and the glasses that do it, or the fact that I've put on a few pounds, perhaps it's in the simplicity of the life of a mission or the inevitability of the unexpected that I have come to expect. But now when I look in the mirror I see someone else, someone different. I don't know if it's someone more than before yet, but someone different for sure. Shades of myself appear every once in a while, but my own name sounds unfamiliar to me now. Luckily, I don't even have to confront questions of self for another year and a half. I am simply "Elder" now. Introspectiveness has left me. I'm rambling. I guess that makes me a rambling man. But there I go again with a Babylon reference. Ha!
Missionary work is a fancy word for love. And I'm trying to develop more of that love. Share your testimony. Turn outward. Make choices. Learn from mistakes. Be happy. think, dream, pray, be, become. Live pursuant to becoming perfected through consecration.
As for Brazil, it feels like an ethereal idea for the distant future rather than a reality. One day they'll call me and say go to Brazil and I'll say "make me." :) Arizona is great.
I've wandered into mists of obscurity, and so here, at the turn, I leave you. Find your own prestige. I'll keep looking for mine.