Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful time of the year!  I love serving the Lord.  It is
hard trying to be exactly obedient in both law and spirit, but I truly
believe that is what a companion is for; to help uplift one another.
This is why the Lord has given us our weaknesses, our strengths, and
our spiritual gifts, so that we can come and rely on each other.  In
similar fashion, we all need to rely on the Savior.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to recognize our blessings and give

thanks to God for what we have.

President Bulloch included this in his email:

On October 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln, recognizing God as the
source of all blessings, and the need for all people to do the same,
sent a “Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day.” President Lincoln
said in part, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been
filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To
these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to
forget the source from which they come…[as] the ever watchful
providence of Almighty God… [Therefore], It has seemed to me fit and
proper that [these blessing] should be solemnly, reverently and
gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole
American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every
part of the United States… to set apart and observe the last Thursday
of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our
beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.“  Thus, Thanksgiving
Day was born.  It was not a day about pilgrims, Indians and turkeys,
but a day about recognizing God’s hand in our life, and giving thanks
to Him.

President Monson commented on this beautiful principle of an attitude

of gratitude.  As we show thanks to the Lord for our blessings,
letting him know that we truly care for his sacrifice and love for us,
he is willing to bless us even more with greater joy.  Ingratitude in
not in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is not a part of the plan.  It
is a device Satan use to trap us within selfish, prideful thoughts.
If we are constantly thinking of what we do not have or what I lack,
or the misfortunes of life, we will miss the beauty and blessings
around us.

I am so thankful for my ability to serve the Lord.  For my family and

friends that support me and have helped me come to this point in my
life.  For our church leaders.  For President Bulloch, his wife, and
other missionary leaders.  But most of all, I am thankful to my
Heavenly Father who loves me.  Who sent his Only Begotten so that I
may be forgiven of my sins as I strive to follow His example.

Hope is going great!  She has been going through a ruff time right now

with family and her kids, yet she is still comes to at least
Sacrament, when many would not do such under the same conditions.
Elder Potter and I have realized on how she is understanding things
better, feels the spirit more since she has stopped drinking coffee
and has been living the Word of Wisdom.  What a great witness of
blessings that the Lord has promised us as we obey this commandment!
We taught her about tithing this week, and she is readily willing to
obey this commandment as well, despite the financial difficulties she
has.  What a great woman of faith!  She is still scheduled for baptism
on December 11th, the Saturday right after transfers.  Elder Potter
and I are hopping that both of us will be here for it!

We were not able to meet with Amy this last week.  But last Sunday

(14th), her daughter was blessed at church.  It was a beautiful
experience.  The electricity went out right before church so we all
crammed into the Relief Society room, and has one of the most
spiritual sacrament meetings I have been to in awhile.

We have not been able to meet with many of our other investigators

this week, for some reason or another, but we where able to see many
more less-actives.  Yesterday at church we had Hope come.  Also we had
2 less-actives who we saw this week come.  They had not come in
awhile, so it was great to see them, and the branch was so excited

I went on exchange with Elder Call on Friday.  It was strange working

with him again.  He has changed so much since I worked with him last
time.  He asked me a question: If a lot of people got baptized in
Oneida right now, would the unit be able to handle it?  He talked
about the Jacob 5:73, where the root of the tree and the top grew
equal, and how this is how it works in our branches and wards.
Straighten the roots, and new growth will happen.

Love you all,

Elder Shurtz