Yesterday we had the Conferencia de Navidad with all of the 8 zones in Cochabamba and Presidente/Hermana Hansen. It was wonderful and it touched my heart. So many songs, videos, and testimonies were shared about Christ. Hermana Roberts sang Mary Did You Know, which has always been one of my favorites. A group of about 20 latinos sang a song completely in English and there wasnt a single accent. It was powerful. i dont know why but when people strive to speak another language while speaking about Christ, i can feel the Spirit so strongly. hopefully thats how the Bolivians feel about me. :)
at one point we watched a video by the piano guys of Christ. i found myself watching Christ´s hands. they were big, and strong. and yet they were also gentle. they were constantly loving others. constantly serving others. and most importantly constantly LIFTING others. we all have moments when we´ll fall in life but no matter what trial were going through or what mistake weve made Christ is always there to physically, emotionally, and spiritually lift us back up. sometimes it is difficult to change because were humans, but through the Atonement and especially His grace we can. we can trust Him. we can trust His hands. like the Cristo on the montaña in Cochabamba, His hands are always open to recieve us. i love His hands. we can learn who a person really is by watching and studying their hands. there are stories and eternal lessons to be learned from the hands of our Savior.
now is my time to be the Savior´s hands. its my time to love others. its my turn to serve those in need. its my turn to physcially lift the people who have fallen. to lift my brothers and sisters. to wipe away their tears, to give them a loving embrace, and to lead them by the hand to their Father above (& the pila bautismal ;) there are so many people here who need God´s help. He isnt physically here to help them, but i am. His name physically written on my heart everyday and it is my responsibility, my blessing, to help them. this is my time to give my gratitude to my Lord and all He has given me by giving my all to His work.
it´s a tradition of Christmas to give gifts. but let us all remember that the greatest gift that was ever and can ever be given was when the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born. i absolutely love the quote (forgot to write his name, but an authority of the church., from Jesus Christ, Key to the Plan of Slavation, 1991, 16). This elder states "Here was Jesus- a member of the Godhead, the Firstborn of the Father, the Creator, Jehovah, of the Old Testament- now leaving His divine and holy station, divesting Himself of all that glory and majesty and entering the body of a tiny infant; helpless, completely dependent on His mother and earthly father. That He should not come to the finest of earthly palaces and be showered with jewels but should come to a lowly stable is astonishing. Little wonder that the angel should say to Nephi, "Behold, the condescension of God!"¨
i abosolutely love that. the One who deserves all the glory, all the adoration.. yet he was born into the most humble circumstance. He CHOSE to come to a manger. not once did He look for the glory. He knew His purpose. He knew He was sent to do the Father´s will. i cant imagine how the inkeeper must have felt after he realized he rejected the Son of God.
i love in one of the videos of Christ´s birth when it shows one of the wise men when he sees the New Star and gets tears in his eyes. every time that touches my heart. you can just see the pure love he has for the Savior written on his face. the wise men rushed to the Savior. im rushing to the people here to bring them the same "glad tidings". im "sent unto (the bolivians) to declare it unto (them) also, that (THEY) might have glad tidings." (helaman 13:7). it is possible that we ALL can have these glad tidings, this testimony, this knowledge. there is no greater joy than the fact the Savior came into the world to give us all the oportunity to return and live with our Father in Heaven one day. there is no greater gift we have been given, and there is no greater gift that you&i can give than to love God´s children.
presidente hansen gave us the idea to visit everyone possible, and say, "hello. were representatives of Jesus Christ. wed like to pass into your home to read together from the Bible of Christ´s birth. can we take just 15 minutes of our time to remember Christ together this Christmas?" and then to read from lucas 2 and mateo 2. and after weve read together, to bear our testimonies of Christ. to testify we KNOW He was born, and that He is our Savior. and then when they agree to let us return, we will be able to share the message of His Restored Gospel. i am so excited to do this. it is all i want to do this week. i remember how strongly my heart was beating. it wasnt fast. it was slow. but it felt like it would beat out of my chest. and the desire to share my testimony of the Savior to literally anyone and everyone.
some missionaries dont want to work during Christmas, or they miss their families. not me (I). (dont worry family, i love you DEARLY). but in my opinion, a christmas without Christ is more heartbreaking. a christmas empty of His love is a sadder thought. this is most likely my only opportunity to be a missionary during the Christmas season. i plan on taking advantage of it. it is my desire to bring the true spirit of Christmas, the love of Christ, to the people here in Bolivia.
there was a video shared of photos of Christ to the hymn I Know That My Redeemer Lives. i have always loved this song. when the fourth verse began, i got GOOSEBUMPS. in the video, there was a picture of the angel rolling away the stone from where Christ´s body lay. let me add my testimony to the words of (one of) my favorite hymn(s) that i KNOW my Savior lives. i KNOW that He came to earth, was crucified, and was resurrected. the video finished with my favorite picture of Christ holding a Child in His arms. just like that child, we too can be spiritually held in His arms.
i love my Savior. my Lord, my Redeemer. He has so many names. He has so many roles. but He only had ONE mission, a mission that He worthily fulfilled. part of that mission was to "save His people from their sins," (Matt 1:21) ,that the "world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17), to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matt 3:15), to "save that which was lost" (Matt 18:11), to heal the broken hearted" (Luke 4:18), to "preach", and that "all be made alive" through Him (1 Cor 15:22). mas de todo, John 6:38 tells us why He came to Earth to be born in a manger. "For I came down from Heaven not to do my will, but the will of Him that sent me."
He fulfilled the Father´s mission because He LOVES us. one of my favorite scriptures i found that can easily be applied to Christmas is 1 John 4:9-11. By sending us His Son, Heavenly Father literally was sending, showing, and giving each of us His love.
there is no greater feeling than the love of God. the moments in my life that I have felt close to Him, that I have felt His pure and endless love, I am unable to ever forget. one day ill make a journal of all of those moments. to share a few that ive recently felt:
1. whenever i share the first vision of joseph smith to an investigator or MA. The Restoration truly is a sign of God´s children in these last days.
2. whenever i sing hymns, especially "que asombro es" (forgot what its called in english). the spirit always speaks to me when i praise His name.
3. whenever i get down on my knees, bow my head, and pray to my Father. i know He listens, because He loves me.
4. reading the Book of Mormon. an experience i had this week was reading the intro to the BOM, when it says simply that the BOM is published in many different languages today. it hit me HARD, the example that is of God´s love for us. the ability for more of His children to have His word, His Gospel, preached in their own language.. its incredible. its incredible that im able to preach His Gospel, literally translated to "good news", in Español.
5. last but not least, newborn babies (Hna Celeste had her baby). they are so innocent, so fragile. the love that Heavenly Father has for us to allow us to come to earth, recieve a body, learn, grow, experience heartaches, all to return to Him, is incredible.
but let us always remember, and especially this week, the birth of our Savior. let us remember this gift of love for each one of us the Father has given. I know that He knows and loves us individually. His love is perfect, eternal, and too great to understand it. but I testify that it is always here for us to feel. He is always here for us. He will never abandon us. if we are going through a trial, it is because He loves us. He is here to help us grow. if we are broken hearted, He has the power to heal us. He has the power to do any miracle if we put our faith in Him. while He was here He performed many miracles. but let us remember He is an Eternal God, never changing. there are miracles He is performing today. i see miracles every day as i am an extension of His hands, "His loving Hands" (song from Come unto Christ) here in Bolivia. i can feel His love so much stronger as i serve and love those around me, and I know that we all can. let us reach out to those in need. let us recognize the light of Christ we all have in us and "do some good". let us forget ourselves and remember those around us. let us love (1 John 4:7) and remember why (1 John 4:7). <3
i love my Lord. I love my God. I love this oportunity to be here, where I am, in Bolivia. ESPECIALLY now.
Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, are real. They live. They love us.
It is my prayer that we can all remember and renew our knowledge/testimonies of Him this Christmas. <3
May the Lord and His love be with you, and all of your loved ones.
I send my love as well. <3
con un corazon sincero y lleno de amor,
Joel 2:32 & Acts 2:21
Luke 1:46-55 (testimony of Mary; dont mistake her for being prideful in verse 48, remember her humility in verse 28-29).
bonus assignment... send me your own testimony of Christ, and scriptures testifying of Him.
every missionary got a stocking from mr and mrs clause :)
hna roberts and i, she has a beautiful face AND voice
im taller than hna gonzalez! whaaat
I LOVE HERMANA CRUZ (mi tiacita)
and my zone, some of them