I loved seeing the fun Thanksgiving pictures frrom the dunes, glad you guys had a blast. Wish I could've been there to show ya how its done!
My week went by too quickly. We had a great Holiday and spent Thursday with the gracious Cox family. Jesse Cox is a cowboy through and through and we got to go help him with his chores on the ranch in the morning feeding cows. Fun stuff! The landscape was gorgeous, the trees are brilliant orange and red and the oaks are so thick you can't even walk through them. Deer hunting season is in full force around here and we see guys with guns and orange vests almost everywhere we go haha. Thanksgiving dinner was awesome and you bet your sweet bottom that I ate way too much. Highlights had to have been the fried turkey, marshmallow sweet potatoes of course, and the cherry pie! We ate and napped and played some card games. Everyone was astonished when I conquered them at Pit. Felt like I was playing with the family just like Thanksgivings in the past.
We had a slower week in terms of lessons with the holiday in our way, but we set two more baptismal dates with investigators which is awesome. We have 3 people lined up to be baptized the 12th and 2 more in the 19th. It's going to be the best Christmas season! We have several more who are getting really close as well. I pray earnestly that they can put in the effort and receive a testimony and make the necessary changes to live the commandments.
I am starting what's called the "purification challenge" for the next 40 days.(check out this website to learn about it http://www.personalpurity.
com/) Essentially I am fasting from habits and choices that inhibit my reception of the Spirit. Let's just say I've got a big list. It's going to be tough, but the Spirit has already begun to teach me what I can do to draw closer unto Him. That's all that really matters in this life, how close are we in line with our Heavenly Father and His will for us? What weapons of rebellion do we need to bury in order to bring our hearts in One with his? Such sacrifices bring me confidence in the Lord and peace in my soul. For example, I've become a huge chess player on my mission. I love playing it with members and investigators alike, and I like playing it with my companions at night. But I know that it takes too much of my thought away from my work, so I'm fasting from it! I do so in faith because I know that greater blesses than stomping my companion in a game of wit are in store for me.
I love this Christmas season and can't wait to share the joy of my Savior with those whom I meet. We got transfer calls Saturday and I'm staying here in Cleveland :) My companion Elder Thurgood is going to serve in Branson 2nd ward (which is in my last zone in Missouri). My new companion will be Elder MacArthur, no idea who he is! Excited for new things, new challenges, new memories.
Elder T. Hakes