Hello, lovely people!
I had a most wonderful Christmas and my heart is so full of joy and gratitude. First of all, thank you to the Ball/Call family and to EVERYONE in the Lawrence Station Ward for the magnificent Christmas banners and cards. It’s quite astonishing to be loved and cared for by people I barely know or don’t know at all. Thank you so much for your love and kindness, and God bless you!
and to the Lawrence Station Ward!
Elder Russell M Nelson spoke to us on Christmas morning! What a treat! He bore testimony to us of the wonderful gift that, as missionaries, we have to share with the world. It was so powerful. He also chastened us a little bit for the rumors that always seem to breed at the MTC. Stuff like which countries will be opening soon and who will be the last prophet and speculation as to the cause of the missionary age change. Ridiculous things. But he told us to be rumor stoppers instead of rumor spreaders, and I think that goes for everyone. I know he is an Apostle of the Lord and I’m so grateful he took the time to speak with us to Christmas. I got to sing in the choir for that devotional, and we did some wonderful songs I’ve never heard before.
We had a missionary talent show, which was fun to watch. The LDS painter Greg Olsen gave us a fireside, which was AWESOME. I have a renewed respect for the symbolism within paintings. And we got to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” last night! Mom, I apologize for thinking that I hated that movie and for never wanting to watch it; it’s awesome! Jimmy Stewart is an awesome actor and the movie sucked me in so much that I forgot where I was. Love it, love, it, love it.
My favorite part of Christmas, though, was seeing the love and charity of so many missionaries when we found out that one of my friends did not receive any Christmas presents. He doesn’t have his family’s support as a missionary. Anyways, my heart was so filled with joy and gladness in seeing so many missionaries pitch in and collect presents to give to him. Some even gave their favorite presents. It was such an absolute delight to wrap these gifts for him–I was overwhelmed with the goodness of so many people who had never even met him. I will always be grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to participate in a small act of service and for everybody who did the same. That experience made yesterday hands-down the best Christmas I’ve ever had (no offense, Mom and Dad!)
I also had the opportunity to study the Christmas Story in a new way, with the question of “why is it important to know this? Why is this story in the gospels of Matthew and Luke? Why do we care about the shepherds and what are we supposed to understand about the gifts that the wise men brought? What is the significance of the star?” I learned SO much, particularly about my role as a missionary as a witness to the world of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I received specific, personal instruction from the Spirit by studying this story with the question of “why?”. If any of you would like to continue on with the Christmas Spirit and increase your testimony of our Savior, I’d invite you to do the same. I know that, if you do, you can be blessed with personal instruction through the Holy Spirit.
Well, I’m grateful for our Savior and for His wonderful example to us. I know I quote song lyrics all the time, but one song has been on my mind and has really spoken to me in recent days. It’s in last song from the play (not a musical: a play) “War Horse”:
Only the truth that in life we have spoken,
only the seeds that in life we have sown.
These will pass onward as we are forgotten:
Only remembered for what we have done.
Our Savior was the perfect example of goods words and charity. EVERYTHING He did was for the benefit of others. He was kind and spoke truth and blessed everybody He met. And most importantly, He suffered the Atonement for us. And this is what we remember Him by. Similarly, we will be remembered for what we do in this life. It is our time of probation. So what will we do with our time? Will we follow the example of our Savior by speaking truth and sowing seeds? Will we bless others’ lives? I think we need to consider why we do everything we do and the purposes by which we life our life. Let’s seek to serve others more and bless the lives of everyone we meet. Let’s be more like our Savior, whose birth we got to celebrate yesterday. I love Him and am so grateful to testify of Him on my mission.
Thank you all for everything you are and for everything you strive to be. May God bless you with love and light!
Yours in Christ,