Happy Thanksgiving and Roll Tide!

Hello!

I am so grateful for a wonderful Thanksgiving week as a missionary! We experienced a lot of great things this past week that were so awesome! Early in the week not too much happened, but on Thanksgiving and through the end of the week I had so many great experiences. On Thursday morning, my companion and I woke up and went to the ward “Turkey Bowl” for the Vestavia Hills Ward which is the English-speaking Ward that meets in the same building as the Spanish-speaking branch I attend, and I tell you what, the men here in Alabama are serious about their flag football. They went over all the rules before we played and had certain people designated as referees and scorekeepers. It was crazy!! I felt more pressure to play well at this Turkey Bowl than when I played high school football at Woodbridge!

After being super sore and tired from that, but also really enjoying ourselves, my companion and I jumped in the car and drove out to meet our Zone Leaders who had set up a Thanksgiving dinner for us with a member family. So we went to this family’s house and they were absolutely amazing! They jokingly called themselves the “Weasley family,” like the famous family from the Harry Potter series, because their family was very large and they were all red heads – ha! They made so much food and it was so delicious!

Then my companion and I jumped back in the car and drove to the Stake Center where the missionaries in our branch had put together a “convivo,” or a party. We put on a Thanksgiving dinner for about 60 people from the Spanish Branch. For many of them, this was their first Thanksgiving meal! It was a really fun day!

The next big day of the week, Saturday, was “Iron Bowl Day”! Almost everybody we talked to during the week when were contacting or tracting was gearing up in some way for the Iron Bowl (College football rivalry between Univ. of Alabama and Auburn). Early in the day, there was the usual amount of people in stores and allowing us in for discussions. But as the day went by, it seemed like less and less people could be found until about 5 o’clock in the evening when there was NOBODY outside. Thank goodness we are Spanish-speaking missionaries because the few people that were not glued to their televisions and out and about were Hispanic! We went over to Wal-Mart and it seemed like everybody inside the store spoke Spanish. So that was pretty fun. But even this group dwindled when the game started. It’s pretty amazing to see so many people committed to viewing this one football rivalry! Then on Sunday, the only thing anybody was talking about was the game – ha! So even if you hadn’t watched the game, you were going to hear about it because everyone wanted to retell every detail.

In other news, Sunday we had a really awesome lesson with a young married couple that are really interested in the gospel and all that we teach. At the beginning of our lesson, the husband told us that he was Catholic as a child, but had a hard time believing the Catholic doctrine because from what he read in the Bible, he believed that God and Jesus Christ were separate beings – absolutely perfect idea and fits well with Mormon doctrine! He also was really interested in deep doctrinal issues and asked us questions like when would Jesus come again and he even asked us if Jesus had a wife! All deep questions that we couldn’t give him a specific answer to, but allowed us to discuss other gospel doctrine with him and his wife such as “eternal marriage” and the importance of the “restoration.” They are a great family and I am so glad and grateful I had the chance to meet them!

I’m so grateful for the wonderful week I’ve had and all the amazing experiences I’ve had being here on a mission. I am so grateful for my family and their wonderful examples in my life. I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the wonderful opportunity I have right now as a missionary to spread the wonderful message of the Gospel, especially going into the Christmas season. The church just launched the “He is the Gift” campaign which everyone is welcome to check out @ christmas.mormon.org. Be sure to watch the video that explains how Jesus Christ is the reason for this wonderful season! The church is awesome and true! I love and miss everybody back home and wish you all a great Christmas season!

Love,

Elder Neser

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