Monday, November 23, 2015

THANKSGIVING




I begin this post with a scripture from the New Testament. The Apostle Paul wrote the following to the Colossian Saints while he was imprisoned in Rome.

COLOSSIANS 2:5-7

5: For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 
7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 

Cathy and I are certainly not imprisoned in the Philippines. The exact opposite would be our description of this beautiful land filled with kind and loving people. We have had our hearts touched and our testimony strengthened so much in the 6 months that we have been here. What a blessing they are to us and how thankful we are for having all these people in our lives.

We are, however, absent from our family and friends back home in America. And so this scripture is applicable to us and to our relationships with family and friends from the Philippines, to New Zealand and Australia, to England and many places in America and other parts of the world.

Many years ago my brother Boyd told me that Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday. I had never thought about what my favorite was until he told me and explained why. Thanksgiving is a holiday where there are no gifts, no work or social expectations. It is a time to spend with family and reflect on all the blessings we have been given from our Heavenly Father. It is a day to share favorite foods, stories and memories. It is a day to simply enjoy the bounties of life, the blessings of family and the love of all the family past and present.

I have so many memories of Thanksgiving through the years. I have so many memories from my childhood of going to Idaho for Thanksgiving. All the cousins would be there and we would run and play and have so much fun together. We always had our own table in the kitchen and the grownups had their table in the living room. That was heaven for us kids. I have wonderful memories of having thanksgiving dinner with my Mom and Dad and my Brothers and Sister. After we got married we often shared thanksgiving together in one of our homes. What good times we all had. Recent years we have had thanksgiving at our home and the homes of our children. We always have a large group and we always have a wonderful time. This year will be the smallest group we have every had, just two missionaries in the Philippines.

Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated here and so will be a work day for us. But that is perfect for us because there is no better way to show our gratitude to Heavenly Father than to serve Him by serving the people we love in the Philippines.


Two weeks after we arrived in the Philippines I received this email from my grandson Parker.

Hi Papa!  
I love you so much! :) 
I'm glad you went on a mission because we are a family that serves.  
Love,  
Parker 
p.s. please write back!! 

This is just one of many sweet messages we have received from family while we have been away from them. Read the scripture above one more time and I hope you will see why I chose it today.

I am so thankful for my family. I had the best parents I could imagine being blessed with. I grew up with 3 brothers who taught me so much and continue to teach me what is important in life. My brother Wayne passed away almost 10 years ago but I often think of things he told me and learn new lessons from them still today. I was blessed with one sister, Karen Mae who was the apple of her Daddy's eye and my best friend growing up. Our family has so many good memories of all the fun times we have shared.

Our four children are the best in the world and they each married the perfect partner for them. Together they have given us 14 grandchildren that light up my life.

I am thankful for the Gospel in my life, for my Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement which reaches everyone who has ever been born.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and send my love around the world to each of you.

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