Ziua Reconostei Fericite! (Happy Thanksgiving!)
Last week was wonderful, and I am looking forward to this week, the beginning of English classes and Thanksgiving! Sora Cutler and I have loved the opportunity to study about gratitude, "the parent of all virtues." The more I learn about gratitude, and how it can turn our hearts towards the Lord and open it to the love and light He will bless us with, the more I want to do all I can to remain grateful at all times, just like President Monson said, "to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." I have so much to be grateful for, so many blessings that I can't even measure: a wonderful family and friends supporting me at home, friends I have made here (companions, districts, members, investigators, less-actives), the chance to come share the wonderful news of the restored gospel, the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, and for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, whose love brought about the Atonement, the greatest act of love deserving gratitude, because through that love, we can become better, try again when we make mistakes, follow the example of our Savior and listen to the Holy Ghost so that one day, through this great love, we can one day return to live with Them and all those we care about again. I am thankful for every day, every day is a beginning, a chance to learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in and love every minute. Every moment we become something more than what we were, and I will do all I can to make it a more Christlike person. Just like President Utchdorf said, "How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."
I am so, so thankful for Elder Ballard, the Kearons (President of the Europe area), and for what President and Sora Ivory said at the Missionary Conference. They all gave wonderful talks, and shaking hands with an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is an experience I will be forever thankful for. I don't want to say it to boast, but because I am humbled that an ordinary girl like me could have such a testimony-building experience and I want to share it with others. Sora Kearon talked about the Atonement and that through sincere repentance, through His scars, my soul can be free from scars, I also love what she said about honoring our promise to always remember the Savior. Elder Kearon said, "Don't just come and feel good and leave, come feel good and bind yourselves to act! Today is a day of stretching, so get ready! Please pray for the power to stretch and step it up, to be fearless. When you let your fear go, joy and peace come." When he said this, I thought of what Sora Kearon had also said, and marveled that although I struggle, God loves me because I am His child and He has called me to be His hands, feet, voice and smile, just as Elder Kearon said. I have taken much of what was said to heart and I want to act upon all of it, but the moment that touched me the most was at the end of Elder Ballard's talk. He said, "Sometimes I get so discouraged that I can't do everything that I once could." Then He pulled out a picture of Christ from his wallet and said, "But whenever that happens I look at this picture and remember that I do not and cannot do what He had to do, but I can do what He asks for me to do. I will do what I can, the best I can. Hearing this coming from an apostle, I committed to bind myself to act by remembering the Savior always. I believe that by keeping Him in my mind and heart at all times will help me with all the other actions I want to take: being bolder and talking with everyone, being more optimistic, patient, grateful, obedient; being a better leader, stretching myself farther, working hard, loving others with the love of Christ, and keeping the Spirit of the Lord with me always. Elder Ballard blessed me and all the missionaries to be the greatest teachers in the history of the Church, a blessing I am so thankful for, with all my heart and soul. I can't do this on my own, I need Him, the Savior's example, strength, Atonement, and love for me and for all people, but I can't if I don't do all I can to remember Him and then act. I will act because I love Him and I am grateful for Him always. I'm also grateful for all of you, iubire mele si mutumesc intotdeuna! (My love and thanks forever!)
A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE & POEM FROM HANNAH
I'm so sorry that the last few weeks have been crazy but I hope that you will like this little poem, I wrote it because you have always taught me love through your example and I believe that the root of true gratitude is love, seeing the beauty in everything because we see and hear and feel with the love of Christ. Va iubesc si sper ca voua avea o zi reconoscultei forte bine! (I love you all and hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving!)
A Bloom For All Seasons
I am not the best gardener, at least not in soil.
But I'm learning to grow a special bloom.
There's no soil for it to grow, at least not in earth.
There's no water that will nourish it, at least not earthly water.
There's no light that will strengthen it, at least not by sun or man.
It's the most beautiful plant of all, because it blooms in every season.
It's as pink as the spring when life begins again, and I can smell the sweetness of the tulips and roses, and the fresh rain on the new leaves.
It's as green as the summers when time is my own, and I can hear the voices of family and friends, every moment I cherish with those I love.
It's as gold and red as the autumn, when the leaves change to the colors of treasures, and I can see the faces of those who taught me through word and example, my true treasures.
It's as white as the fresh snow, and I can feel the warmth of the love that home brings, home where the heart is the center, as warm as the fireplace.
This little bloom is the greatest treasure for it always grows and will never die if I guard this treasure.
And if I share it freely, all that I see and hear and feel, it's beauty and warmth and light will help it grow.
I am not the best gardener, at least not in soil.
But the garden of the heart is another matter.
Love is a bloom for all seasons, a gift from the best gardener.