I sure hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did. We ate SO much food! We were invited to the Garcia's home to celebrate it with them. I was expecting Hispanic-style Thanksgiving, but MAN, did Maria hook everyone up! All of her slaving in the kitchen all day really paid off. It was DELICIOUS! There was SO much food. From mashed potatoes (yummm) to stuffing to turkey to ham (mmmm) to rolls to vegetables-the only thing that was missing was Grandma's delicious sweet potato salad that I love! :) It all still made me feel so much like at home. I loved it and I am very grateful for the chance I had to spend it with a great family. Thanksgiving was a success once again, this year! And P.S.- I'm STILL full. O.o
Also on Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to have a mission-wide (well, 3 or 4 zones) service project at the Honda Center. We helped clean up an all-day event they had feeding the homeless. We got t-shirts and everything. :) They had sent it all up in the parking lot and there were a LOT of chairs, tables, tents, food containers...the whole shebang. I was jealous of the homeless people, because all the leftovers smelt so good! ;) (We hadn't eaten yet, so I was STARVING for some Thanksgiving dinner ha) It was great to have all us missionaries show up right in the nick of time! The event had just ended, and all the volunteers were wondering how they were possibly going to finish putting everything away and still make it home in time for dinner with their families. Then we showed up, and they told us we looked like a bunch of angels coming up dressed in our white shirts, ties, and for sisters, their dresses. We saved the day! We all worked hard, got all the stuff put away after a lot of work, and it felt good to do service that day. Made me take a step back and realize all that I am grateful for that these people don't have. I can tell you this much-I sure was grateful for my bed at the end of that day! ha Tired, worn, and full, but happy. :)
I feel that would pretty much be my creed for the week. ha We had a LOT of work outside of the usual this week. We moved a lot. Sadly, again, another sister was emergency transferred from my district again. Isn't a transfer without an emergency transfer. Nothing that she did or that went on in this district...never is. Sister Ballard-one of the veterans from this district was moved to Fullerton. Something happened to a sisters area in the English program, and so a sister from Fullerton was sent to fix it from the Spanish program, and Sister Ballard was sent to fill her spot. She will be missed! It was really sad because Elder Richards, Sister Ballard, and I have been together in the same district since the beginning of their missions. Elder Richards and I since March and Sister Ballard and us since April. It was really hard for her to leave, but she will do a great job wherever she is! Now her companion, Sister Pratt was put into a trio in the south area, so, once again, the trio of Sisters will be covering two area for the rest fo the transfer. Soon, it will be only 2 companionships and 4 areas ha. When Elder Smith leaves, I will be put with Elder Richards and Elder Dehlin in the north area and we will be covering their area and mine. So we will be down to 6 missionaries in the ward-the lowest it's been in two years! Crazy stuff, but we are ready to work hard to keep it going! So that was move #1.
Move #2 was pretty much all day Saturday ha. A less-active family needed help moving all of the sudden because they finally got permission to move in from the complex. So, the sisters asked if we could help, and lately our moving opportunities have been pretty simple-a few boxes, a dresser, bed frame, and ya. BUT, this was more than what we bargained for. We show up, and the U-Haul awaiting us should have been the wake up call! ha We stayed in our regular clothes because we were expecting something small like usual, but boy were we wrong. We should have changed. We spent the next several hours moving a washer and dryer, a couple beds, tables and chairs, had to take a fridge apart to get it through the door because the room was built around it, and a GIANT old piano. Getting it all out of the house was pretty easy...even the piano wasn't too hard...but little did we know that there was 2 flights of stairs awaiting our arrival at the new appt. Long story short, after moving all the stuff, we were EXHAUSTED! Especially the piano... I didn't realize that piano way the same as the Corolla I used to drive. It was insane how heavy it was and I am SO sore from it ha. It was a blast though. After being sandwiched against the stairs and walls all day and a few great laughs from it all, it will remain as one of my favorite memories here in the misson-especially when Hno. Jaramillo showed up with a REAL moving dolly and made it look so easy. ha Good times...good times.
In all, I was so grateful for all the memories I have had this week. As I reflected, I have come to gain an even greater appreciation for all the many creations that our Father in Heaven has made for us, and all his loving guidance that he shares with us. I am so grateful to have such a great loving family and this amazing opportunity to have even more family members out here in California. I know it's been said many times, but these really are the Best Two Years. And I know this because no matter how tired of work I may be, no matter how worn out I may be, no matter how full I may be, I still remain happy. I love you all so much and hope you continue to enjoy the lovely holiday weather. Sure is beautiful here right now! Lots of rain...my favorite! :) Love you and miss you! Take care!
"Christmastime turns our hearts to the Savior and to the joy His gospel has brought us. We show our gratitude to Him best as we offer that happiness to others. Gratitude is turned to joy as we offer names to missionaries and as we take the names of our ancestors to the temple. That evidence of our gratitude can make friends and families that endure forever." President Henry B. Eyring
P.S. Here is a picture of us all right before Sister Ballard left :( Elder Smith's final district.