Hello! Merry Christmas to all!
Thanks for putting down your eggnog and gingerbread cookies to read this email right quick.
This is truly a sacred time of year! I LOVE IT. Really, really, really a lot I love it. What a beautiful opportunity we have to reflect on the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ and on the love of our Father, who gave us His son.
I can especially feel their love...more poignant and present in my heart--at this time of year. I have been studying the scriptures and focusing on the Savior this week as we near Christmas day. But this week, during church at a Sunday school class, the teacher began quoting scripture like it was no big deal (and I was super impressed and decided to memorize all scripture so I could do the same thing) but the topic was faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what he quoted
Yea,even doth not Isaiah say: Who hath believed our report,and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth.
As a class, we produced a number of definitions of the word faith. And I would submit that we could discuss faith and what it is for at least 8 Sunday school classes, but our teacher said, it’s just believing in those words of Isaiah. Its believing that He really suffered in the garden of Gethsemane for MY SINS and MY WEAKNESSES. Just believing that He really did that.
And I was like....
It’s so simple! And so beautiful.
He lives! He atoned for us. And He was born...in the town of Bethlehem. I am so profoundly grateful for that truth!
So. Merry Christmas everyone. I’m trying to be a little more Christ-like today and every day. It’s the only thing that makes any sort of sense.
But...it was a very good week. I called up good ol Prez Hintze Monday night and got permission to go to the temple with our ward and converts on Tuesday evening. What a still spirit was there. I don’t know. It’s hard to find words to describe the peace of the spirit.
The other days...we just worked. And we found some crazy positive people! I got kinda tired of contacting but we have to open our mouths.
One time we started talking to this guy and he started warning us of the lady he lived with...like
You guys gotta get outta here. I’ll come to church on Sunday...but she’s coming
And I was just super confused. So we waited too long
because in the next nanosecond a rather rotund and tall woman flung open the front door. And she started screaming at us. hahah oh man... buuut. What interested me in this particular instance, was what she said (or maybe screamed) as we walked away.
She said we were wasting our time as missionaries...much more as Mormon missionaries and that we should be....studying.
Like in school.
Later that the day the irony of her comment struck me.
If I didn’t believe in a God, and that I could return to His presence, why the heck would I study? Why would I try to improve myself and get better? Just because it would make me feel good inside? I guess. But how.......disappointing. I’m so glad that I know intelligence is the glory of God, and that apart from relationships and my character, I will take any knowledge with me into the next world that I’ve accumulated in this. So yeah, I will study!
But I gotta finish this mission thing first.
Anyways. Life is good y’all. I love to be here in El Salvador. I love that it is Christmas time. I challenge you all to do something Christ-like the day of. Go out of your way to serve another. Listen. Be kind. Live the gospel, and remember that as Pres. Monson taught, love is the very essence of the gospel.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! Felix Navidad. I’m looking forward to talking to my family and eating 4000 tamales and sweet bread AND the ward Christmas party and the multi-zone talent show and serving the beloved people of El Salvador.