Tom!!!! Congrats!!! I am so excited for you to get your patriarchal blessing!!!! that is one of the most precious things that I have in my life. you will love it. and then you will read it again a few months later and you will love it more! I love you little brother and I am so proud of you.
And Jeremy! and I am so proud of all the things you are doing and deciding everyday to be closer to the Lord. you are and will be an amazing warrior for the right and leader of the people around you. (something I've learned on the mission is that leadership is so much more than a calling. we can be leaders for righteousness-- or just leaders for whateverness-- in any calling we are given. what matter isn't where but how we serve. whate'er thou art act well thy part.) keep doing and being good:)
anyways family! i hope you had a great week and a great Thanksgiving! It sounds like you did. I'm sad to have not been able to be there with you all, but I was so grateful to be able to be here on the island of Madeira and have a great conference with a member of the area presidency and his wife and then a thanksgiving lunch that was really really great. and then we got to take the left overs home too.
And I got my pajamas from grammie too! (yes I opened them.. but then I wrapped them back up again and put them under the Christmas tree that sally sent a little while back). so it was a perfect thanksgiving.
This week has been a wonderful week for me to learn the importance of gratitude. I'm still a very very very very very imperfect missionary, it almost seems that I recognize a new thing to work on every day. but even so, Heavenly Father blesses me so very much. And recognizing that is one of the most important secrets to being happy. We had an alright week as far as the work goes. We had some great investigators that were finally starting to progress, and unfortunately we have also had a bit of a hard time with finding new investigators this week. but since I was still feeling that we were doing things that we were supposed to and that things were going to even themselves out for that week with the progress our other investigators were making, I just decided not to worry about it too much. But then along comes Sunday and nobody comes to church. all of our investigators just kept falling through for one reason or another, not answering phones, bus passes expiring, cars breaking down, etc. And so because of this, none of the 3 people that we had marked for baptism can be baptized on their scheduled days.
But then on Sunday night, we went to have dinner with a wonderful lady in the ward and her daughter (it really makes me so sad that she only speaks Portuguese and that my family only speaks English.) And after we gave a little message and really thanked them for all the work they are doing in the branch (because man do they do work.) Marilene just went on to explain how she feels about her service. because she thinks about Mosiah 2 (I think its Mosiah 2) every time that she hears someone thank her. that even with all the service that we give we are always still beggars before the Lord, because he has given us everything and on top of that made eternal life possible. and she thinks of that. and every time Satan whispers in her ear that she deserves a break or a pat on the back or she is so great and everybody likes her because she is such a good person she prays and asks the Lord to take that feeling away from her. Because it is good to feel loved and appreciated and important, but she doesn't want to feel like her service is about her. She wants to feel like all of her work and service and giving is given out of love for the Lord. is given out of gratitude to Him. so that night after reporting some of the worst numbers ever (which is only important because of what it represents the work and the love and the people coming unto Christ) I prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for all of the blessings I have been given. and I don't think that I have succeeded in being like Marilene (let alone Christ) just yet, but its a beginning. and I want every day of my service to be a gift to the Lord. a gift that I can give to him with a pure and willing heart and with a feeling of gratitude for everything and anything that we were able to get done.
I love my Savior and I know that He is there for each and every one of us when we need it most. He knows us so perfectly and He knows exactly when and how to answer our prayers, of that I have a very personal testimony.
I love you all so much and I hope you will pray for me and each other and the people around you who need to know the truth about the gospel. I Love You all!
Steph\ Sister Lofgreen
p.s. can you believe that Christmas is right around the corner! I can't wait to talk to you all!
p.p.s. Madeira is int he Guinness book of world records for their new years eve fire works so I'm stoked for that too.