WHAT THE CRAP!? You went to New York City??? Hahaha, my my my you are all so sneaky! Was this a planned trip, a surprise trip, a spontaneous trip, or what the heck kind of trip was it? Sounds like a sweet trip if anything! Holy cow! Seriously, had you not told me you were doing that on purpose, or what? Ha, wow. Biggest shock. I was reading Ste's email first and he was talking about NYC like it was no big deal so I was thinking he was completely kidding and making a story up because he felt his Thanksgiving was just normal or boring or something. My goodness, that is so awesome that you all were able to do that! I forget who I was talking to about the Macy's Day parade and how crazy it is, etc, but I definitely was and I can't believe you were all there. Ha, welcome to New York weather my friends. It's been nice and I'm adjusting for sure. In fact, the last couple days we've gone running in the morning; it's been great. Man, I need to take a deep breath and calm down I'm typing like a thousand words per minute I'm so excited. So it sounds like Thanksgiving was a blast. I can't believe Ste had chicken tenders for Thanksgiving..I hope I read that wrong or something. Goof ball. I love you all so much. Where are all of the pictures from the trip? Speaking of pictures I will try and send my memory card home today. I have a dentist appointment at 3:30 which should be really good. So thank you so much for the awesome Thanksgiving tidings. I really appreciate it, Drue and family. I appreciate the CD's you sent - they're alright. I know Handel's Messiah is incredible but having listened to a little of it I don't think it carries the same Spirit I want to maintain - just fyi to know maybe in future for other music selections. Thanks so much though it really made for a great day. I know I owe Ste a letter, I'm working on it baller. Elder Stratton gets good mail, there's no need to send him anything. But I do want to mention - please don't do anything out of control for Christmas. If you've already done something that's alright no worries but I feel impressed to say I do not need excessive decorations, etc or stuff like that. And I love and appreciate how generous and kind you all are but please don't do anything over the top present wise either. For one, I don't need excessive stuff; two, I don't have room for excessive stuff :). I love you but I just feel impressed to say that.
So my week was really good; it basically seemed like it didn't exist, though, how fast it went! Between Thanksgiving, Return and Report, and an exchange the week's activities were certainly out of the norm. Thanksgiving was good - perhaps not the most effective which is unfortunate but it's tough. We went to the bishop's home and had a classic really good meal there with he and his wife, her parents, their daughter, and a less-active single woman in the ward. Later we went to the Badger's and had some dessert which was fun. We spent the night in the Downtown Albany Elder's apartment; it was a good time and cool to be in the heart of Albany. Return and Report was awesome on Friday; I love President Bulloch. Then after I went straight on exchange over in Greenwich, so I spent two consecutive nights in a bed not my own which was odd. The exchange went well though, no skunks or anything like that! I actually learned a good principle from the new elder I was working with. What I picked up from him is something I've been trying to improve on: loving others before myself and truly wanting to have their needs met above my own. Looking for opportunities to help and serve others, charity, is what missionary work is all about. I often times get too caught up in all of the logistical matters of missionary work and forget that it is the people and their needs at the very core. It's something I'm working on and I look forward to the road ahead with this important outlook. Anyway, while I was away the baptismal interviews for Dawn and Sophia went very well! They're set for this Saturday! I'm so excited! We're working on finalizing all of the plans and things for it which is awesome. With the somewhat odd week due to the abnormal events we didn't see tons of people and stuff, unfortunately. Sandra is doing amazingly still and is progressing well toward her baptismal date January 8 - aka her birthday! The Whitman's are great as well, too. Again, we technically will need to move their dates back but they're as excited as ever. We taught the Word of Wisdom yesterday and Brother Whitman had/has already been in the process of giving up smoking. That's so awesome; they really are being prepared and have been prepared. We're staying faithful that these bigger changes in their lives will happen quickly but if not they're becoming converted and will be baptized soon enough. Other than that there isn't really anything else noteworthy to mention work-wise. We're going to get as many of our investigators possible to the baptism on Saturday, confirmation on Sunday, as well as the Christmas Devotional Sunday! Exciting stuff! I love this time of year, just the feeling in the air is nice. Downtown Saratoga is all bling'd out with decorations and stuff, it's pretty neat. Anyway, I'm happy and love it here. The work is great, we are working hard and doing everything that's in our ability to be obedient and diligent. Elder Stratton and I get along great. We're certainly different people, as we all are, but we have a common interest and goal that stands priority above everything else. I love his ability to just go for it and his drive.
I love you all so much and hope you have a great week. I still can't believe you all went to New York City! Incredible. Ste, good luck with the advent calendars; you can do it! I appreciate all that you do for me and the willingness that you have to help me out and care for me. You are simply the best and I love you so much.