I'm sure that all of you are already aware, but Thanksgiving is this week!
Is has been SO long since I've had a real, at home Thanksgiving dinner. Last year I was in the field and we went to a Mexican restaurant. The year before that I was at SVU and went home for the holiday but we were too lazy to cook so we went out to eat at the Grand America hotel. The year prior to that I had just had my jaw surgery the day before and wasn't able to eat anything. I'm determined that this year is going to be a good one though! This afternoon our district is going to buffet it up to celebrate and on Thursday we're having dinner with all of the ex-pats here in the branch! They have assigned me to bring the jello...#MormonHoliday #GreenJello
Of course as the holidays come close we all take time to reflect on the past year and the things we are grateful for. The year of 2014 is one for the books! I've met a lot of really difficult trials this past year that required a lot of faith to overcome, but I have also seen and experienced so many miracles! I am so grateful for the opportunity I've had to spend this year as a missionary in Vietnam and Cambodia. Through the ups and downs of missionary life, I've been reminded of the counsel of the hymns to "count your blessings." In doing so I have seen that boy oh boy, I have been blessed with so much! And to quote another hymn - "Because I have been given much I too must give." That is what keeps me serving - throughout my entire life I have been blessed with the Lord's strength to overcome so many things. Now, the least I can do to repay a tiny portion of my debt is to serve for a year and a half. My favorite scripture is found in Mosiah 2:34:
"...ye are eternally indebted to your Heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are..."
We are all in debt to Heavenly Father. So as you think about what you are thankful for this week, remember that all of those blessings come from our Heavenly Father. And then remember that because you have received so much from Him, you now need to go out and give. Have a fun week eating lots of food and loosening your belts after every piece of pumpkin pie, and please try and find a way to serve while you're at it.
So what is Sister Egelund thankful for this year?
There is a looooot to be grateful for, but I am most grateful for all of the people in my life that have supported me on my mission, and I am grateful for all of the new people that entered my life this past year. So now is the time that I make a typical Emily-style list full of shout outs:
@ÔngMập - My dad, Dan Egelund, the coolest dad ever! He goes on trips with me to Disneyland. He's the only one in my family that emails me each week. He teaches me how to be a missionary by sharing experiences from his own mission. He's a legit boy scout. He makes delicious food. He taught me how to make boondoggles. He's a white man but can speak Vietnamese. He taught me how to do math, AKA count money. His jokes are impeccable! Basically he taught me everything I know and I love that man!
@MẹHùngViệtNam - My momma, Hương Egelund. She always tells me she loves me. She lets me hold her hand when we're at church or the mall. She's the reason that my English sounds funny (I've realized while on my mission that I say a lot of words incorrectly.) Momma Hương always tried to help others. And the best part about her is that her English name is also Emily. We're kinda like Alma the older and younger!
@EricEnrique - My little brother Eric is a stud! I like him because he washes my car. And he's got jokes on jokes on jokes. He has lots of muscles so I can always count on him to take the groceries from my car into the house. He's a good example of loving all of those around you. And he always shows his love for me by picking up food from La Frontera, or by running down to Arby's for me.
@WhiteWashErin - So my little sister Erim may look like a full white person, but she's got some of that typical feisty Viet blood in her. She's cool because she likes a lot of the same things as me. It's been kind of funny to watch her grow up and have a personality really similar to mine. Erin is a million times smarter than I am and she can help me with my homework when I get home...She lets me borrow her clothes. She always goes out to eat with me so I don't have to go alone.
@TheWhiteFamily - Kristin, Gabe, Michael, Marianne, Grandpa, Sherolyn, you're all super cool. I miss all of the times that the whole family would get together for the holidays at Grandma Karen's house. Or the times we would go to Cherry Hill and the funnest part of the whole day was receiving ziplock bags full of candy from Aunt Marianne! Ahh, those were the days!
@PresMoonie - I have the coolest mission president! It's a good thing that he's such a calm man because each week I send him crazy emails. Most of the time he puts up with all of my shenanigans. And he even laughs at my jokes!
@TommyMonson - Quick shoutout to President Monson because I love him!
@AshTheAlligator - The best best friend ever! She has nice white skin. She emails me every week and always has good stories of what's going on at home. She always listens to me complain, but then encourages me to keep going! She drives me to get donuts and chicken sandwiches. She lets me choose her outfits for her. She teaches me to be cool. And she always lets me be friends with her friends - she's good at sharing.
@ModernMedicine - Thanks for keeping me healthy so I could go back out to the field and keep serving!
So there are a million other people that I want to give shoutouts to, but I can't be late to the Thanksgiving buffet or the elders will kill me! Have a good holiday everyone, and remember to find a way to serve! I love you all! I love my mission! I love the Jonas Brothers...
I LOVE Thao Dien! (I was bored with it for like a week, but I love it again.)