Hi Mom! Hi Dad!
Happy Thanksgiving! You get two emails from me this week. My preparation day is each Thursday, but I was able to write to you both on Tuesday because my companion needed to write home before she left for her mission on Wednesday. What a blessing I get to write to you twice. How are things back home?
I am so grateful for a lot of things this year. The opportunity to go on a mission, to be a student at BYU, to have you both as my parents who love and take care of me with loving siblings interested in the Church again, for friends in the Church who share my faith and friends outside of the Church who help me realize how blessed I am to have this Gospel and Jesus Christ in my life, and for the health and spirit that my Heavenly Father has permitted me to have. There is so many more blessings I could count, but they are innumerable.
Thanksgiving at the MTC is a little different for all of the missionaries. Instead of our normal schedule that we follow each Thursday, which is my preparation day, we have the privilege to hear from a General Authority from 10:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. for a special devotional. We already got to hear from Elder D. Todd Christofferson on Tuesday night for the weekly devotional, but now we are blessed to hear from another one today. This is the first week that I have heard from a General Authority and I get to hear from two! "Count your many blessings, see what the Lord hath done!" This evening, they have scheduled the movie 17 Miracles to play for all of the missionaries to watch. Yes, missionaries get to watch movies. Actually, each Sunday evening before we retire to our residence at 9:30, we get to watch church movies such as Legacy, Mountain of the Lord, or Elder Holland talks. He is an especial favorite because he gives such good talks pertaining to missionary work. Apparently he visits here often to give firesides and devotionals. Hopefully, I am here to hear him talk.
I was very grateful to receive your DearElder letters on Tuesday. I cannot believe that Stephanie, Nathan, and Megan all created DearElder accounts to write to me. I really enjoyed hearing from them. I will try my best to write back to them today, but because of the Thanksgiving festivities, I have been robbed of most of the free time on my P-day today. It may be brief, but I will write them and have them sent in the mail tomorrow. Mail isn't sent out on the holiday. But oh, did it bring joy to my heart to hear from them, and to hear that they all went to the Single's Branch, including Mike! It made me realize the blessings that can come to my family while I serve a mission. Oh, my heart is singing with felicity right now!
So are you going to participate in Black Friday? Dad, this would be the perfect opportunity to buy speakers for my MP3 player. ;-) To answer some of your questions, Dad, I am using my signature card a lot at the MTC Bookstore. It is a blessing that I got that at the ID center before coming here. Thank you. Also, I will need about $75 to get $200 for the airport when I leave for Ecuador. There is an ATM here next to the Bookstore, so I can withdraw money from that. As for what I would like for Christmas, skirts and shirts. Mom, please send me bright colored cardigans that have a three-quarter sleeve length and button up with frilly button-up shirts to go underneath the cardigans, if you would like. That is all I would really need. Please keep in mind that they should be cotton or appropriate for Ecuador weather. I have been going through my clothes and giving a few old things away in preparation to go down to Ecuador. I have plenty of shoes though. Thank you. Love you both!
I think I wrote a lot on Tuesday, so I am going to keep this email pretty short. Mom, I received your package of "surprises" and I was surprised to find those letters from Sue S., Reid, and Joyce. Please tell them thank you. I will be writing thank you notes home to them today, but it was such a joy to hear from them, wishing me luck that my knee will get better soon. You both are too good to me.
I hope you have a great holiday weekend. Enjoy Megan's healthy Thanksgiving dinner. That does sound interesting. You will have to let me know how that goes. And Dad, please tell Kelly's family that I say hi and Happy Holidays. Give the children and nephews all kisses and hugs for me. Maybe place a lifesize cardboard cutout of me to sit at the table with you guys. ;-) This is a great holiday to remember what we are grateful for and to spend with the family.
Hermana Melanie Forbush