Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!! Mine was full with food- and surprisingly it wasn’t tacos! We met with a lot of different families and Thanksgiving and it was really neat to be able to be in their homes and talk about gratitude. That morning for personal study I was reading in Alma 26 and and verse 35 hit me hard. "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we..." That was kind of the theme of the day and I can't explain the joy and gratitude I felt- It was as if my soul had been carried away because of my overflowing joy! I am extremely grateful for Ammon and the scriptures to help make my Thanksgiving the best. Also all the families we went to eat with. Yes having 4 meals (and not just any meals, but thanksgiving meals) back to back was SO HARD but I can honestly say I am so grateful for the love I felt from all these families. We first went to Hna Morales- her husband actually passed away on Tuesday, and had a great time with her and a lot of her extended family. I love eating with her because it really brings her so much joy to feed us. We then rushed to the Melendez family's home. They have a daughter serving in Brazil so it was a little sad being in their house because they were really missing her. Reminded me of all of you missing me and matt though haha Then we went to the Rodrigues family. By that time Hermana Tanner and I were already wanting to barf. We then ended the night with a menos activa. We were busy and it was so fun to visit with a bunch of different people. Lots of funny stories but I figure I'll just save them for you in 8 months.
On Saturday we met with this amazing man named Ramiro. He is an old investigator of about 4 years. We brought a member with us so that we could go in. It was one of the most powerful lessons of my life. We was crying because he really just wants to change. He kept telling us how in the past there never was a good time for him to get baptized but he has a goal that before the end of this year he will get baptized. We then set a date for the 28th of December. He has such a broken heart and I know that by being baptized he will have full access to the atonement and be able to find peace with himself again and prepare to meet his mother again. Pray for him. Ramiro Solache. Is that not the best name you have ever heard?
Also on Saturday was Emily Castillo's baptism. This is Teresa's younger sister. There was such a pure and special spirit throughout the whole service. Teresa gave the first talk and it was the most tender talk I have ever heard. This was a really special baptism for many reasons but I think it was so special because when Teresa's was giving her talk, I had a flashback of when Kayla and I went to the Del Mar Stake Girls camp right before my senior year and she was baring her testimony. Teresa and Emily are 5 years apart and their relationship really is similar to mine and Kayla's so it was special to see Teresa get all emotional and then have Emily laughing at Teresa's because that is totally a Kayla move. I loved Teresa's talk though because she talked about what a big step Emily was making to get baptized and how proud she was of Emily. It really brought a sweet spirit in the room. We then had a testimony meeting right before I got up to speak. There was one Elder who said that Emily's decision to get baptized says a lot about the kind of person that she is. And it is so true. Emily's desire to follow Christ is pure. I don’t have any other word to describe her. She is amazing and I am so blessed to know and teach these elect daughters of our Heavenly Father. This morning I actually was reading in Alma and there was a promise given to all missionaries that work diligently. The promise was that God would grant that we may sit down in Heaven with the fruits of our labors and praise God together forever. As a missionary, there is nothing sweeter than that promise. I am so glad I get to be with Emily and Teresa FOREVER! They bring me so much joy and literally radiate light. They are beautiful.
I am really happy. I love being a missionary still! I am pretty sure that is something that will never change. As hard as it is, there isn't anything that can compare to the joy that you feel. I am grateful for the prayers you send to this mission. Miracles are happening and lives are changing. God is preparing His children in ways that are sometimes hard for us as humans to recognize and appreciate but I know that he has us in the palms of his hand as he gives us challenges. My companion is amazing. I love that we are both just willing to change everything and relearn how to do missionary work sin pena. We were talking the other night because we really felt like we have lost ourselves. We cant say who we are. But we both find comfort in the scripture that says those who lose themselves for my cause, find themselves. We know one day we will know who we are and right now we just need to keep focusing on the people here. God will take care of us and there is no need to freak out when you feel like you don’t know who you are. You are God's. The mission is a constant progression and it is amazing. I am so grateful for this opportunity to grow and serve. I love these people.
I love you all!