Merry (late) Christmas!! I hope you are all doing fantastic! Mom, Dad, and Eric, it was so nice to Skype with you this past week. You all looked great and it made for a wonderful day. Thank you so much!
|Santa Kuro-osu didn't have a beard, |
so we made one out of his boot trim
Christmas was a great day. We had a Christmas lunch with some church members up in the mountains (no joke.....they live in a treehouse), spent a good part of the day talking to people on the street and sharing Christmas messages with them, and I even got to play Santa for some kids at a party. Probably my favorite part of the day was spending my morning talking to the family on Skype and then the rest of it reading all of the beautiful accounts of the Savior's birth....the greatest story ever told....in the scriptures and then going out to testify to people in trains and on the streets and in their houses about their Savior and what He has done for them. I love the Spirit of Christmas, especially as a missionary.
Mom and Dad, remember the beautiful blue set of scriptures that you got me for Christmas exactly four years ago? I have almost completely filled up those scriptures with markings and notes and highlights and they have become one of my most treasured and favorite possessions. This week I bought myself a Christmas gift and got a new small-size black quad set of the new 2013 edition scriptures to read alongside my treasured set of blue scriptures and start afresh with marking and highlighting the new things I learn in the new set of scriptures. Thank you so much for getting me those scriptures 4 years ago....I am still going to continue to use them for years to come. They are still in great condition, and they will always be known to me as my "mission scriptures."
I have really come to absolutely love and treasure the scriptures. I have found so much peace as I have read them. Elder Sugimoto and I use the scriptures in every lesson we can with our investigators and we always find so much power in using the Word of God. The words are beautiful and inspiring and captivating. My testimony grows each time I crack them open.
Last night while lying in bed I thought back on the past year and realized that 2014 will be the only full year of my life in which every day was spent as a full-time missionary and servant of the Lord. As I looked back and reflected on the memories of this past year, I realized that this has been the best and by far the most rewarding year of my life. I have loved every minute. It has not always been easy, but it has 100% always been worth it.
There is nothing greater than losing yourself in the work of God. I love this work so much and I love the people that I have met and worked with. I have seen people's lives change as they come to know their Savior and their Father in Heaven. The happiness in their lives that they now have as a result of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gift beyond price and of immeasurable value. I can't believe I was so blessed to have this gift in my own life as well.
I testify that the work of God is moving forward and filling the world with the love of Christ. As missionaries we are mere instruments in bringing about a culmination of a work that has began since before the foundation of the world, a work that is far greater than any of us can possibly imagine and which is infinitely glorious. I don't fully understand the blessings that God has in store for His children, but I do know that they are accessible to anyone, anytime. I love this message.
I love you all so much! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!
Peace and love,