So many wonderful things are happening here in Butler, PA! The first and foremeost being, the church has started a new initiative called "A Savior is Born"! When you guys get a chance, swing by christmas.mormon.org and check it out. There is a whole website and it's going to be amazing and the video will give you chills! It's only two minutes, so that's all it takes! We are busy passing out cards and inviting people to remember the real reason behind Christmas, and letting people know that Christ's gospel has been restored to the earth. What a great time to be a member of His church!
There are also lots of other wonderful good news things to talk about today!
1 - WE GOT A NEW APARTMENT! The apartment shopping is over! It's right on main street in the smack center of our area, it's beautiful and wonderful and we love it and can't wait to move in. There is also no mold in the bathroom and I can't tell you how thrilled I am about that. A true Christmas miracle, my friends.
2 - I learned how to crochet this week!! So basically I'm going to be the afghan queen as soon as I can get some yarn and my own little hook! I will be crocheting afghans and baby blankets up the wazoo! I'l probably start a business!
3 - it was Thanksgiving this week and for all you lucky chumps who got to spend it with your family, so did I! (In my own little way...) I had the grandest time skyping home and getting things all prepared for my arrival in 30 days and talking to my family and laughing with them and letting them know how much I love them. I have the absolute greatest family in the world. I can't wait to see them and hug their little necks off.
More about Thanksgiving - it was just an all around wonderful day. We woke up in the morning and drove out to the Turkey bowl in Evans city. When we pulled up in our car, we realized that we were literally the only girls on the field, but we weren't about to let that stop us! We had a super good time playing, and I even made a touchdown! It was so fun. I love it when you step out onto the field and people are all like rolling their eyes, "who invited the girls?" and then by the end they're all like, "Who is covering the sister!?" because you're a force to be reckoned with and by golly you showed them!! Must be a pride thing ;)
Besides the turkey bowl, we had our lunch/dinner appointment at the Jones' house. It was amazingly delicious, we stuffed our faces until we couldn't eat anymore, and then we went out for a Thanksgiving walk to enjoy the brisk autumn air and to hopefully do something productive to help ourselves feel better about the number of calories we'd just consumed. It was quite lovely. When we got back from our walk, the Jones children played their saxophones for us, and then we all told jokes and laughed so hard our stomachs were hurting. I don't know if any of you have had the experience where you've just eaten so much food that you feel like you're going to die, and then you start laughing so hard that you think you're going to throw up... it's equal parts terrifying and enjoyable. I want to recommend it, but I feel like I shouldn't. Try at your own risk, I guess.
We also had pie after all the festivities were over because, obviously, what kind of Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without pie?
I'd like to take a moment and personally thank the pilgrims for creating such a wonderful holiday filled with so many delightful foods. I want to shake hands with the person who first pitched that idea. What a glorious human being.
So, yeah. Thanksgiving was great.
We also had a super productive week as far as lessons go. Some highlights from my week were:
1- Bill, obviously. He's doing so well. He got a priesthood blessing yesterday to help him stay strong with living the word of wisdom. He's over a week with no smoking now and we are getting everything set up for his baptism on the 12th. We are praying so hard for him, he's gonna start going to the ARP meetings and we are so excited for him! We had two awesome lessons with him this week, one at the Bonetti's house. We talked about Joseph Smith, and how we all face persecution and times of darkness, but that we just have to stay strong! Then we invited one of the sisters in the ward who quit smoking several years ago to come out with us and they shared experiences and things that he has been doing. I guess he got into an accident at work with a hose and it bruised his ribs and he said it hurts him to breathe and so he hasn't been smoking and he said, "I prayed for help and I guess the Lord has a funny way of helping out."
He works in mysterious ways, my friends.
2- AMY AND IAN. Okay we had this super amazing lesson... Amy is a less active member, she has been struggling with the word of wisdom for a long time but she has such a powerful testimony of the church. She recently met Ian and they started dating. He said he was an atheist and wasn't open to learning about the church. But the more she talked about it, the more it made sense to him. So she told him about the missionaries, and he said that he wanted to meet with us. SO WE MET WITH HIM, and it was like one of the best lessons of my mission, I mean they were both lighting up the whole time we were teaching and I came out with my head reeling from all the second hand smoke, but he said he wanted to read the Book of Mormon and that he'd come to church next week, and they wanted to meet with us again. He told us, "I'm not converted, but I'm ready to learn." His heart is going through this tremendous change and it's amazing to see the atonement at work in his life!
3- Nora! Nora is this adorable little Chinese girl that I love teaching because she literally knows nothing about God or faith or anything. I've never taught the gospel so simply before and it's such a neat experience. We saw her yesterday and we were talking about what faith is and her eyes were just lighting up. At the end, we invited her to pray, and she did! She said it in Chinese. I told her she had to say "Amen" in English though, so we'd know when she was done haha. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and loves Nephi. She is adorable.
4- Cynda! Cynda is this awesome lady that literally lives right next door to the church. She found out about the church because of a quilting groub and she loves quilting, so now she's pretty good friends with a lot of the ladies. Anyway, we felt a prompting to stop by yesterday, so we took one of her friends and dropped in and she said she's interested in learning, but she brought up the handbook change about homosexual couples and their children. Anyway, she's the first person that's brought it up to us, but we were able to have a really open conversation and it was really good. She said she would like to learn more, and it was really cool!
5- things seem to be going really well with Perry as well. Last time we saw him, he said he was going to decide on a baptism date and let us know the next time we meet! SO hopefully it's good newswhen we have our lesson!
There are so many other wonderful things that happened this week, and so many things to be grateful for. I absolutely adore these people that I'm working with. The Hook family has been an incredible blessing in my life - Anthony and Sister Hook are some of my role models. I love the Hoys. Tira and Shana and Shakira and Lamont are the funniest kids in the whole world, they make me laugh all the time. Sister Cook and Sister Critchlow and Sister Demartini and Jeanette and Tiny and all of these people I just love. I finally feel like Butler is my home, and I am terrified of saying goodbye. God has blessed me so much, I am the luckiest girl alive.
I love Him more than anything!!
Give thanks for the blessings in your life, and remember the greatest blessing of all as Christmas gets closer and closer - Christ was born, and He lives today!! He is your Savior! HE LOVES YOU! What a joyful message.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to everyone.
We'll talk more next week.