Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving Dinner
 More pictures from our visit to 10,000 buddahs in my last area

 Scenery from my previous area
Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna! 
Wow!  You've had a crazy week!  I can't believe you're not the Bishop anymore Dad!  I guess I got so used to it that I thought you would be Bishop forever!  I hope you enjoy the change, the extra time and the new opportunity to serve in different ways!  Any idea what your next calling will be?  I've been struggling lately to find the balance between humility and perfectionism.  I realize that perfecting ourselves needs to be a sacred experience.  When we are humble and RELY on THE LORD, he will perfect us in the manner and at the pace that is best for us, but if we just seek to "be perfect," we just get overwhelmed and often have unrealistic and prideful expectations of ourselves and others.  I am also so grateful that Dad has been able to be the Bishop, I know it has really blessed and strengthened our family.  Thank you for your example.  
I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving!  The sisters are so cute!  I'm glad they were able to go hiking with you!  How fun!  And Nathanael since when are you so HUGE!!!!  You're pretty ridiculous leih ji mh ji dou (don't you know?)  Did you do the Shopping Cart Brigade this year?  Hahaha! I just thought of that! 
This Thanksgiving week has been sooooo good!  We've had so many miracles and so much to be grateful for!  We've been able to meet a lot of cool people every day and it has been a blessing to share with them the gospel and tell them how it will bless their lives.  First of all, on Thursday, we went finding after our Thanksgiving dinner.  We found two sisters and ended up teaching them a lesson right there in the park!  Then, as we were walking away we met another great lady and shared about the Book of Mormon with her.  We kept walking and met a lady who was just looking at the pond nearby.  When she saw that we were missionaries she said, "You're Christian?!  Can you give me a book or something about Christ?  I am Muslim, but it hasn't been that lucky and someone suggested that I try changing my religion."  Of course we had just the book for her!!!  We ended up sitting down and talking for a while.  She has had a really hard life, her parents and her husband have died in the past 5 years and she doesn't have any siblings, so she is pretty alone.  She is just here trying to find a job.  We shared about the Atonement and Plan of Salvation and taught her to pray.  It was amazing to see how she already felt comfort from the message we were sharing with her.  After she finished praying, she said she felt that her parents were happy with her, and that she felt like this could help her.  It was one of the coolest finding experiences I've ever had!  Well, we rescheduled her to meet on Friday.  Because she is Muslim we have to be very cautious with how we teach her because if she gets baptized and then has to return to Indonesia, if the government or any of her acquaintances find out that she is Christian, it could be very dangerous.  We talked with President Hawks and had a plan for how to handle our meeting on Friday.  We were all ready and excited, but she didn't come!!!! She didn't have her phone with her on Thursday night either so we were not able to call!  We were all so disappointed.  The miracle doesn't have an immediate happy ending, but the seed has been planted.  She has a Book of Mormon, and our number, so hopefully when she has a permanent visa and a better chance to learn and accept the gospel she will!  
We've actually had several sisters come back with us to the church for a tour and a short lesson this week.  We're supposed to meet with one of them, on her holiday on either Tuesday or Wednesday.  We texted her the other day and she said that she is reading the Book of Mormon already!  It is amazing to meet with these women. They are all so friendly and hardworking, and really dedicated to the gospel and their families.  
Another miracle of the week is that we had a 22 pound turkey for Thanksgiving and we didn't have to pay a cent for it!  I was in charge of food assignments and assigned 3 elders to represent the "turkey" category because I knew Turkey would be hard to find in China.  But they did it!  I saw Elder Blake and Elder Kranok in the store last Monday and they said, "Uh. . . Sister Nelson, we found a 9 pound Turkey for 500 pataca. . ."  I was like, "Well, don't buy it!!! You don't have to have Turkey, ham or chicken wings is fine. I trust you, you can figure it out."  The Elders responded, "Sisters, we will NOT have a Thanksgiving without Turkey!"  and "We will not rest until we find a Thanksgiving turkey!"  Hahaha ... driven by their stomachs.   Another Elder assigned to find a Turkey just followed them around, kind of bored, trying to figure out why these crazy Americans wanted turkey so bad!  The Elders called me that night and said that they called around to a bunch of members, and finally one of our bishopric members, who is from Canada, DROVE (that's already a sacrifice, no one has cars here) them to a place that supplies the casinos with their food and they found a 22-pound Butterball turkey for 300 pataca!!!!!!! What?!!! AND Brother Knowler said, "I won't be here for Christmas, so consider this my early Christmas present to the missionaries!"  Of course, we wrote him a nice Thank you note!  We had enough for our zone of 13 missionaries, and Elder and Sister Welling's family who joined us!! AND I've had 2 turkey sandwiches this week-end!! hahaha
Well, I love you so much and I am so grateful that I can e-mail you every week!  I love you so much!

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