I guess this means I’ve been here for two months now. Wow, it’s crazy to think that I’m already 1/12th done… time really flies. So this week has been awesome! Getting ready to go and doing the things I’ve needed to be able to leave. I’m already about half packed, with two more days to go!
Thanksgiving was a little odd this year. I missed all of you, but I got a nice surprise while I was here. Elder Holland came and spoke to us yesterday morning, and brought his whole family! I think one of the coolest things he said to us was that no matter who we are, where we’re from, “the Hollands are your family today,” so that we can share the wonderful season of thanksgiving with our family. Throughout the whole day yesterday, it was nice to be able to sit and think about all the things I’m grateful for, and although I wasn’t with ‘my’ family, I was with my missionary family, all 2600 of us here, joined in the Spirit of Christ, in giving thanks for what we have, and giving back to those who need it most. We did a large humanitarian project yesterday, and made 33,000 backpacks for children around the world who need them (and the supplies that they contain). The biggest thing that Elder Holland spoke of was the need for us to give back to our Savior. He did all for us so that we may be free to do anything we desire, and that we have the responsibility to ‘square our shoulders’ and to give back some part of our lives to Him who gave us all. That’s what I’m doing right now. We can think of it as a tithe, 10% of my mortal existence so far in exchange for untold blessings. Whatever we do to try to repay the Lord, He always gives us back more. And so we are always in His debt, but who would not want to be in the debt of the One who can give the most precious gift of all?
I’d like to share really quickly how incredibly grateful I am for all of you and all the things that you have done for me. Although I may not have seen it or said anything about it at the time, everything every single one of you have done for me has been for my betterment. Even those times where nothing was going right, where we didn’t get along, or when I or you were angry. I’ve learned from each of those experiences, and I thank God that I was able to learn and to grow in such a wonderful time, and that I am blessed to live in this, the dispensation of the fullness of the Gospel. What a wonderful blessing to grow up with wonderful friends, family, and comrades. To grow up never wanting for anything, but especially never wanting for love. To you, my family and friends, I cannot thank you enough. While I wish I could spend this wonderful time of year (and indeed, all the rest of the year) with all of you, I am grateful that you are thinking of me and that we can still at least communicate. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that He knows me and helps me in every aspect of my life. I’m so grateful to be going to the country of Mozambique, to be able to help those who need it and to be able to do all that I can to give back to Him who gave me all.
Quick shout out before I leave:
- Congrats to Johnathan on his Eagle! Super excited that you were able to get that and follow through!
- Congrats to Kayla on her YW medallion and good luck with your learner’s 😛
- Thanks to G’ma T and G’pa Wayne: The ties are awesome, and I love the socks 😛 (thanks for the DC temple picture, too)
Thanks again to all of you who are thinking of me and continue to support me. I leave Monday morning, early, and will probably call you (parents) then. Which means like, 8-9 AM monday morning for you (sucks, I know). But we’ll see. By Wednesday morning early (for all you east coasters, it will be noon for me) I will be in Mozambique! I’m so wicked excited to get out of here and to go share the Gospel.
Eu sou grato por todos que eu tenho, incluindo minha família e meus amigos. Obrigado a todos de vocês quem têm fazer muitas coisas para mim. Se faz favor, sempre lembrem-se todas as coisas que seu Redentor e Senhor tive fazer para si. Nesta tempo está o tempo para grato, e eu espero que todas de vocês lembrerem-se estas coisas para sempre.
Elder A. Spencer Leake