22 November 2010
Dear Sisters and Elders,
During this Thanksgiving season, I feel to give thanks to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to serve with the best missionaries in the best mission of the church. Thank you-all of you. You have added so much to my life.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love the turkey, the stuffing, the veggies, the potatoes, the pies, the pies, the pies. I love the rich fall colors and our family traditions. We always start the day by running in an “Earn Your Turkey 5K” race. It gets easier every year for Sister Summerhays and I to win our age group-no one else our age is running. Our family always wins the “most family members participating” prize. They even have a division for 1 year olds-I smile when I think of those parents dragging their crying babies to the finish line. We then gather for our Thanksgiving meal. There are always quite a few of us, but everyone pitches in. We usually have a dessert contest in the evening with everyone competing-even our little ones. We have our family turkey bowl with the kids against the dads. They think they are going to win this year without Granny and Grandpa playing. We watch football and then have a Thanksgiving testimony meeting. It seems like we are up all night as we awake early for Black Friday. One thing I like about Thanksgiving is it is hard to be greedy. With all of the holidays focusing on buying and selling, Thanksgiving is still about people and not about things.
Our Thanksgiving story could be like many of yours. But, here we are-serving together our Savior Jesus Christ in the Florida Tampa Mission with all of our hearts, might, mind and strength. In fact, I remember being set apart as you have been set apart to have the power to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Together we have been recommended as those worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the Restored Gospel. We are official representatives of the Church.
I have gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. I have gratitude to serve with my sweet companion, Sister Summerhays. I have gratitude to serve with the Sisters and Elders and the missionary couples of the Florida Tampa Mission. I have gratitude for our family who is serving valiantly at home. I have gratitude that I made promises to live by in the Florida Tampa Mission. I have gratitude that I will be accountable to the Lord and to the leaders of the church for how well I honor those promises. I have gratitude and I would rather be here serving our Savior with you than anywhere else on earth. These are just a few of the blessings that I am grateful for this time of year. And I pray that we will all follow the prophet Thomas S. Monson when he told us in conference, “A grateful heart…comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives.” The Savior is the way. “Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.” Nov. 2010 Ensign. P. 90.
As always, I express my deep desire for you to be happy here and in your future lives. Developing the gift of gratitude will help you be happy. I love you and I believe in you.