Monday, December 27, 2010
This past week has been beyond eventful, and there would be no way to fit in everything, so I decided to focus purely on the Christmas weekend instead, and I'll inform you about the earlier part of the week next email.
So, Christmas Eve/Day/Weekend was incredible. It was sad to not be at home with the family for Christmas, but it was fun here as well. Christmas Eve Devotional was with the MTC Presidency. They are great people. We did a 12 days of Christmas, MTC style which was the highlight of the night for me. Our district had a sleep over and opened our presants from home, and participated in our gift exchange.
Christmas morning we had a talent show, and got to here a lot of awesome music, skits, stories, etc. It was a great change of scenery, and I really enjoyed it. Then, after lunch, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles spoke to us. It was absolutely incredible. He talked about teaching simply and quickly, looking for bright young people to teach, etc. He had a funny response to polygamy: "Well if you want to get excommunicated quickly, then do it! The other sins take longer." What a perfect response that gave me a good laugh. We went through Matthew 1, Luke 1 and 2, and analysed the birth of Christ. He disected many words, which was cool to see what everything meant in other languages, and roots of the words. He ended reading the testimony of the Quorom of the Twelve, from The Living Christ. What a powerful document.
After some down time during the afternoon, we heard a 2 man rendition of A Christmas Carol, acted out by 2 long time MTC employees. Following that, Elder Nelson shared a few thoughts, and his testimony.
At this time of Christmas, I feel inspired to share briefly my testimony that Jesus is the Christ. That He was born in Bethlehem, and that He is the Son of God. I know that He came to earth and established His true Church, and is at the helm of ours today. I know that He performed many miracles, and lived a perfect life, setting a flawless example for me to follow in every aspect of live. I know that He paid the price for our sins in Gethsemane, and that He suffered beyond measure there, and died on the cross so that we can return to His presence, with our families side by side. I know that He is my Savior, Redeemer, and that He lives! He wants us to be happy, and we can be happy through faith and repentance. Through His atonement, we can feel clean, and being clean truly is being happy. I'm so thankful for Jesus Christ and all that He has done, and continues to do for me in my life today. I am honored to be a representative of Him as His missionary. I know that through the power of God I can change lives, and invite them to come unto Christ as well. I'm excited to get to Paraguay and to help others feel Christ's love for them, just like I feel every day!
Last night, I was able to finish reading the Book of Mormon. I want to talk about that, but first talk about yesterday's events.
In the morning, Elder Nelson was able to attend again and spoke. Once again, it was fabulous (i'm running out of adjectives to describe him). It was a solid hour of open scripture study with an Apostle of God. He cited numerous scriptures, analyzed Hebrew and Greek origins, and expounded on the Abrahamic Covenant, and the gathering of Israel today. He blessed the missionaries here, and their families that they will be blessed because of our service. I love my family and I hope that they can be blessed from my service as a missionary. He ended by saying a quote that was spot on: "We will always be a minority, but we have God on our side, and that's the kid of majority I want." I love Elder Nelson and I appreciate the love and support that I felt, "on behalf of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve".
On the topic of the Book of Mormon, I was able to finish reading it while here in the MTC. I took Moroni's Challenge, to ask God "with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ." I know without a doubt in my being that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have never felt so calm, peaceful, relaxed, and sure that this book is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. It perfectly compliments the Bible. I know that the Church that espouses it is the true Church of God, which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that through him, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church of God, and the Priesthood keys associated with it were restored. I am thankful for this opportunity to share that knowledge with others, and to help others feel Christ's love for them. I know that missionary work is real, and that I took that leap of faith to serve a mission, because the knowledge I've gained here has changed my life. I am honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for the Christmas letters, notes, packages, presents, EVERYTHING!!! I love you guys at home and I hope that the holiday season has been splendid!
Please keep writing me, every letter means so much!
Pray for me and the people of Paraguay