Hello Everyone and Happy Holidays,
I hope you all received the Christmas cards I sent out to you all. The picture is very dark but you can still tell it's me. I took that picture at Sister Newbold's house (the lady we used to live with). I appreciate the gifts that I've received and truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers. The present I sent Mom and Dad is for the whole family because we all started in 1980 at the alter of the Salt Lake Temple when our parents were sealed for time and eternity. Merry Christmas everyone!
Yesterday was a wonderful day! The performance at church went great; not because I was apart of it but I think it was the best Christmas program I've heard. I loved the pieces I got to play on the piano. My favorite part of the whole ordeal was in Joy to the World when I got to play fortissimo this sweet into that blew my mind and then the organ came in to blow my mind again and then the choir belted out "joy to the world, the Lord has come!" You should have heard it. I also really loved playing Peace, Peace with the sweet runs in the left hand and the beautiful melodious choir part written with silent night by the congregation. If only I had a digital recorder I could share the magic of music.
A really great step happened with Travis Stephens yesterday, he is the one who had a 13 year old son commit suicide a few days ago. When we visited him he, of course, was in shock and despair but even with all of this happening in his life he asked us if we would give him a priesthood blessing of comfort and guidance. I was shocked that he even knew what a blessing was or even that he would ask for one; goes to show the humility of a disciple of Christ. We offered him a very reverent blessing and I want to share with you a part of the blessing that really stood out to me. In the blessing it was stated that "soon he will be sealed to his son in the temple of the Lord and will one day be reunited with him again". How powerful those words were to Brother Stevens yesterday. At the end of the blessing he gave my companion and I a hug and broke down in tears. I will forever remember this sacred moment I had with him. As I've reflected on Travis and this event the Spirit taught me something very important, he taught me that although God can't control our actions because of our agency, he can prepare us for events that take place in our life. How wonderful it is that Travis had gained his testimony of eternal families and the restoration of the priesthood right before his son passed away. Heavenly Father could not control the death of Brother Steven's son but he could send missionaries to bring him the comforter and the Gospel. How great is the plan of salvation!
This Christmas season was wonderful. I really feel that I missed Christmas, which is a good thing, because nothing really changed for us. Sharing the Gospel is the same now or in July and is definitely the best thing I can do. I've really come to understand the true meaning of Christmas and that the Lord doesn't care about gifts or lights or music, even though these things are great, but what he really cares about is that we remember him and commit to follow Him. May we all remember the perfect child born of Mary and Joseph and rededicate ourselves to follow His example. He lives now as He did when He was born and loves us ever more. How grateful I am to bear His name and declare His message of peace and safety. As His authorized representative I leave with you my witness of Him and His love for our family and each one of us individually and specifically.
All is well here in Idaho. This Gospel is the great news of our Lord. I love you all very much and will continue to do my best to fulfill my purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ; I pray the same for you.
Peace and Love,