Thank you all for the packages I've received this week. They have been great. I now have a lot of candy and am sharing with my roommates. Also thank you for the Christmas present, I'll have you know that I have not opened it. I also haven't packed yet, so we will see how much space I have.
This week was an interesting week. It is our last full week so some things in our schedule changed. We had "In Field Orientation" yesterday, which is supposed to better prepare us for the actual mission field. It took all day. So we have Preperation day today, Saturday, instead of Friday. The other big change this week was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is unlike any day in the Missionary Training Center or any Thanksgiving I've had. It was nice to have Thanksgiving right before leaving. For Thanksgiving there was a devotional, as well as a humanitarian aid project we worked on. At the devotional they selected two missionaries to speak, one of them was Sister Ycmat from my district. She spoke to the missionaries about tender mercies of the Lord. The other missionary spoke mostly about how thankful he was for the missionaries that found him. Following the missionary speakers, Sis. Wendy Nelson spoke. She spoke about doing things after the manner of God and not of man. She gave an example of the Nauvoo temple and how the architect wanted a different style than Joseph Smith directed, but Joseph Smith insisted on the Lords way. She also told a story about Elder Russell M. Nelson trusting in the Lord and doing the things God told him to even though it was against the wisdom of man. One of those was to leave his prominent career to become an apostle. The last speaker was her husband Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He talked to us about giving thanks, an appropriate subject for Thanksgiving. He told us about the word Alleluia, which means Praise to God. He talked about the many hymns and shouts of praise in the scriptures. He told us of some miracles in his life, and ways that he personally gave thanks to God. He showed that everything we are is because of God and he deserves our thanks every hour of every day. He said that he does his best each day, and then thanks God for everything that has been done, because God ultimately made everything fall in place. He told us about his first few years as an Apostle, where he was new and inexperienced in his calling. He told how much each day he had to be thankful for and about some of the ways he could see the Lord each day in his life. He told us about special prayers of gratitude he has given, and that after great blessings we need to give a special thanks for them. It was really powerful. He was a very amazing and spiritual speaker.
As missionaries we did a Mission wide service project. We made relief kits for suffering people in South Sudan. My district didn't actually make them, we helped set up beforehand, take down afterwards, and during we were the human conveyor belt for the boxes to be moved. It was a good change from the normal service at the Training Center. Usually we clean classroom buildings, but this service project better helped the people of the world. We are done teaching our progressing investigators. We finished a few days ago. We took a language assesment last Monday to see how we've progressed. Because of these things we've had a lot of study time to read and learn the scriptures. Thanksgiving we didn't have any classes so we just studied. Actually we were allowed to watch 17 Miracles too, the MTC presidency encouraged us to go watch it in the gym so we did. But there was a lot of time for studying as well. From here out I have nothing scheduled at the Training Center except for "Study Time" and "Prepare for Departure". I know it won't take me long to pack, it just won't, so I have a lot of study time. I don't have too much time left, but I also want to mention that we had another awesome devotional on Tuesday and Fireside the previous Sunday. Both excellent talks. Tuesday was D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve, I wish I had time to tell you about his talk as well, but I instead I choose to talk about the Thanksgiving devotional.
All the Elders and Sisters in my district are really excited, and nervous, and scared about going to the Philippines. I don't remember exactly what my new mission address is. It should be in my call packet, which I'm pretty sure is at home and available for you to look up. If you can't find it, I will send you a letter from the Philippines anyway and you can get it then. Be sure to tell everyone what it is when you get it.