Winter is Here!

After I emailed last week, Sister Wankier and I went to one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I've ever attended.  It was at the Markoff cabin/barn/property (I don't know what to call it), and it was so much fun! As we were walking up to the cabin (which Nick Markoff (also known as 'Chief') built with his own hands) we started to see people dressed up in Pilgrim costumes.  Then the assistants came around the corner.  One was in an Indian costume, complete with a feathered headdress and moccasins, and the other was dressed as a Turkey.  So funny.  I will show you pictures one day.  

Elders Bigelow and Sanchez. (Sister Matsumori included this
picture in her blog for the parents of missionaries.)
It was great.  Then we got inside the cabin, which was just one huge room with three tables and a little kitchen, and we realized that everyone was dressed either as a Pilgrim or an Indian.  And you'll find out why in a second.  The dinner itself was great.  We listened to the Chief (who is 70) and one of his sons talk about their recent adventure with the other 2 sons.  Two weeks ago, the four of them raced a sailboat all the way from Maryland to the Caribbean.  Crazy.  I was trying to imagine this 70 year old man with his three sons in this little sailboat, going through hurricane Sandy on their way to the Caribbean.  And they survived.  Ah! They're crazy.  But that's just how this family is.  

After dinner, I learned why everyone was dressed as Pilgrims and Indians.  It wasn't just to remember the beginnings of Thanksgiving; it was to establish teams for the games.  They had set up rows of pumpkins on these shelves outside of a shed, and we had to use a bow and arrow to shoot the pumpkins.  We had three tries, and if we shot a pumpkin we got to collect any money that was underneath.  I was the only one of the missionaries to hit a pumpkin, (and I actually knocked it off the shelf), but no money.  Just pride.  :]  Then there was a three-legged race.  And bareback horseback riding (which we couldn't do as missionaries...probably a good thing because someone fell off of one of the horses.)  And more food.  What a day.  Then everyone went home, changed, and went to the Hanson's house for dessert and a talent show.  I loved it.  I want to adopt every single one of these traditions.  I loved that it was a whole day event and that it was just good family time.  That family loves each other, and it's easy to see why.

As for the teaching part of the week, our lessons with Tevin are going so well. He's changed. This past Monday when we were at his home, we noticed that his countenance was brighter; he's happier and better prepared for our lessons. We've pointed that out to him, and he didn't try to argue it. He's on date to be baptized on the 15th, and he will be ready. And it's interesting, lately I've heard so many stories from recent converts who said that they did not have a concrete answer until after they were baptized. I think that's how it will be with Tevin. He's keeping his commitments, and truly seeking his answer now, before he gets baptized.  So we're sure that he'll feel prepared enough to take the step because even now his heart is in the right place to do it. This is one of my favorite things about being a missionary - seeing people change. Tevin has definitely done that. He's sharing what he learns in the lessons with his family. He's understanding entire chapters of the Book of Mormon, whereas before he couldn't comprehend even the simplest verses. He's staying for all three hours of church. He's more helpful around the house. He prays now like he's talking to someone. He has stopped arguing every point of doctrine with us, and now asks questions that lead to conversion. He's come so far. It's incredible to see. My testimony of the power of the atonement has been strengthened because as Tevin has tried to live the gospel, that power has influenced him, cleansed his spirit, and strengthened him. Ah! It's amazing.

Margaret is wonderful as well. We weren't able to see her last week, but the Chinese elders went over to see her son who was home for Thanksgiving, and they spent some time with her. I've never had a district that is so involved with one another's investigators, but it's helpful and I love the unity.

We're seeing Claudia tonight and extending a B-date. For the past couple of months she's been telling us that she'd be baptized Thanksgiving weekend, and now that time has passed. Sister Wankier and I had a neat experience this morning, because we both studied for her, felt like she needed a lesson on gratitude, and yet what we studied was different from each other, but worked together perfectly. It was a sweet confirmation that this is what Claudia needs, and we are headed in the right direction. 

Also, we're teaching a woman in the ward and her 7 year old son, Romey.  We were going over the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and asked Romey to go get his scriptures.  He went into his room, came back out a second later, and said, "They're out of battery!"  It took a minute to register what he'd said, but then I couldn't stop laughing.  Oh, this time that we live in.  We'll have to work on getting him an actual copy that he can mark and that has pages.  Too funny.

Last thing.  Festival started last night (Ambassador's Night) and I was able to shake Elder Nelson's hand.  I love that man.  He is an apostle and I felt it as I heard him speak.  It was interesting to be among so many distinguished ambassadors, the Marriotts, and other high-class citizens, and then to hear an apostle so naturally and eloquently bear his testimony of the Savior.  The reverence and respect that came over the room was remarkable.  I felt that he was more influential and powerful than them all, and solely because of the purity of his faith.  The church is true. 

And stay true to it, and all that is eternal.  I love you all!

-Sister Welch

No comments: