Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas...oh and Happy New Year

Monday, December 27, 2010
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR...well not yet the New Years part. But we can celebrate right now since I wont be on the computer that day. Anyways I hope that the Christmas spirit was with all of you this fine weekend. It was great to be in the service of the Lord while celebrating the greatest event that has happened on this planet. I'm so thankful for His life and sacrifice so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. There is no greater gift that we can give than the gift of gratitude that we can show both of them in our prayers and in our actions. I'm just really thankful to be living during this time of the year. It was amazing to see everyone on Christmas Eve and Christmas having a smile on their face and everything was a little slower. We all need to smile, always, and to take a break once in awhile.

During this Christmas season I haven't really taken much thought to the normal things that many ponder about during this time. Such as: presents, shopping, dinner, and so on. It has been an interesting Christmas this year, where it seems like it's another day on the mission. Now I know some may say well that is a wrong mindset but as I have been reading the scriptures and pondering as to why, I'm thankful. Thankful to finally be in a position to be truly converted, in a sense, to the Lord and His work. To me everyday is Christmas, especially those days when people come closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through baptism, a saving ordinance. We read in the book of 3 Nephi of how converted these people were, so converted in fact that the Savior, himself, said, "So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief. Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great thing as ye have heard." (3 Nephi 19:35-36). I have been so blessed on my mission and I'm thankful for each and every blessing that I have received, especially that of increase of faith. In the case of the Nephites they had such great faith that the Savior showed himself unto them, just as He did with the people of Israel. How great it is to know that He is the same with everyone and that He gives everyone the same opportunity to receive a witness of His divinity. In the last days, as Isaiah described, the church will be established and one of the counseling scriptures from Isaiah 54 says, "Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth..." As missionaries on the streets every day it is sometimes difficult to put of those who persist to mock but I know that they will receive their reward. How great the atonement is to all, both the righteous and those who have yet received that Heavenly gift. There is no greater power, nor feeling, than that of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

At the Christmas mission conference.

Christmas Eve dinner.

Making fire. Awesome.

Sister Parra and me.

Elder Hancock. The greatest Senior Missionary ever.

As far as everyone else, Walter and Cathalina are now official members of the Church. I had the opportunity to confirm them and do all that jazz. Other than that no one else is really progressing. Our area is really dead. We had to drop everyone since they were not progressing anywhere, so with a little bit of faith and patience I know that the Lord will provide us with more people that are ready to hear this everlasting gospel. I'm nervous though, not going to lie, since we will have to keep busy the entire day and can't tract. Come of find out that tracting is a blessing and I regret not taking advantage of it earlier. But luckily the works always goes on and never ceases so pray for us to find new people, somehow! But on Christmas, we went to the Millets and enjoyed Christmas with all the other ASL missionaries. It was great. We ate a lot, probably too much but that is ok. We made some blankets for the homeless children in the community as our community service project, too a long time but hey, it's Christmas.

I hope that you all have a safe and wonderful new year. Till next week.

Elder Leavell


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