I didn't realize it until it was gone, but Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. I'm pretty sad I missed it with the family, that St. George trip was always one of my favorite times of the year :) It's been the Holiday season here for the last few months (I swear they start it here even earlier than in America). Yay, Christmas music!
Something cool about England is that a lot of people are still Christian, so there seems to be more of an emphasis on the Christ. It's interesting to see, because I never really saw that in America. Really missing the family, can't wait to pick up that package :) Hopefully they get it to me soon, maybe I'll get it at a district meeting or something.
As to your questions, Mom, I'm doing well for coats and warmth. I did get a warmer from the flat (yay, flat finds!) which I now wear underneath my good coat. Have a hat and gloves as well, which come in handy every day now. It gets pitch black here around 4:30 now -a-days so it's cold really early in the day. I'm doing well, though.
Alright, now for the week: It's been a pretty good one (even though the numbers don't really show it). Got to go on exchange with my district leader. He gave me something he called "future leadership training" which was very helpful and interesting. This district is a lot different from the last because we are so spread out in Oxfordshire. There's not nearly as much contact or relationship between us. It was nice to see Elder Reed and have him become someone more than a person on the phone who we account with. I learned a lot and felt like I became a lot better missionary. That, and I learned how I would like to lead in the future, which is good :)
I got to meet Guy this week. He's a leader in a local church (St. Mary's), and we had a nice discussion about the Bible, Joseph Smith, Authority, and the like. He's a really great guy, with a lot of apprehensions about the Book of Mormon. We're invited to a Bible study weekly with him and a small group from his congregation, in which we talk about the Bible (and we always get our bit in about the Book of Mormon).
Serving in the digital zone, I feel, has really prepared me to meet him. He's very knowledgeable when it comes to the scriptures, history, and even our church's history. Some of his concerns have to do with Anti-Mormon material. All of which I now have a much better grasp on. Hopefully we can help him resolve them in a Christ like manner, and not contend with one another.
Elder Teixierra (Tah-Shee-Rah), our general area 70 over England London South Mission, is currently on a mission tour. Really cool! We had a Zone Conference on Friday in which he addressed us and blew our minds. My goodness, Elder Ganta and I have so much more we could be doing. I wish there was more time in the week!
Cool thing: I got to sing a solo during that meeting. A really gorgeous arrangement of Abide With Me, Tis Eventide, with someone from my MTC group on the piano. It went really well; my singing, whether bad or good, is now known to the mission ;)
A miracle happened the other day. We were having a really rough day. A lot of rejection, our plans fell through, and we were about to just go home. Sometimes, it all seems too much. Finally, it was about 5, so it had just gotten really, really dark. Elder Ganta said "let's go home..." and I was in total, disheartened agreement. Then, a different thought came to my mind. "Pray instead." So, that's what we did. In the middle of the street (which is pretty normal by now, we do it everyday with the people we meet. You'd be amazed at how willing people are to pray with you places). When we finished, we decided to turn around and keep contacting in the city center. Like, two seconds later, a member caught us, took us home, and fed us on the spot. Yaay, faith. [Note from Meredith: I do believe that this may have actually been an answer to MY prayer....but whatever :)]
I've learned that being on a mission is something seemingly indescribable to others, especially those who haven't experienced it. I now realize why all of the advice that I sought from returned missionaries seemed so inadequate: it's because you have no idea how to describe it. It's ultimate sorrow and joy. Anyone who's had a kid would be familiar with what you feel on a mission. You just don't know how you do it every day, except you do, because you're upheld by something more than yourself. It's the Spirit, and although the earthquakes and the storms and tempests rage, that still small voice is always there, giving you strength and helping you brave the world (1 Kings 19).
I know Christ lives and is our redeemer. I know that because of the Book of Mormon, and how it has changed my life and allowed me to become who I am now. I've seen it change lives in which I've been a part. I love it :)
This is a gospel of joy and happiness. Tell your friieeeeeends!