Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Received December 21, 2010
Dear family and friends,
It was a pleasant surprise to us to receive this email last night. We did not think we would receive an email this week. We are very excited to speak with him on Saturday!
We wanted to thank you again for your support for Jonny. He is continuing to grow in so many ways and we are grateful for the encouragement and support you offer which has helped him work through the many challenges and adversities that have led to his growth and maturity. We thank Heavenly Father in every prayer for all you are doing to support and help him.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas. We add our testimony to the testimony Elder Oviatt expresses below. We are grateful to know that the events we remember this Christmas season were real. The Savior's birth began the most critical events of the eternities for all of us. We are grateful for His teachings, His example, and His atoning sacrifice for all of us. We rejoice in His resurrection and the promise of Eternal Life. We are grateful for His grace which blesses and strengthens us and allows our redemption! He Lives!
It is our hope and faith that brings such joy this season. We offer this testimony to you with love and wishes that, without regard to the trials and difficulties we each face, we can rejoice together in the reality of our Eternal Savior. We love you and hope the best for all of you. Our home and our hearts stand ready to help you however we might. God bless you all. Merry Christmas!
Dear Family and Friends,
It was so great to hear from all of you this week! I was so surprised that we were able to email during our conference this week. I have been able to receive a few emails from you guys. That was so great so thank you so much!
You are probably wondering why I am writing to you when I told you that I would not be writing you, You may also be wondering why I am writing you on a Tuesday night. So I will tell you.
Right now we are at the mission office! Today we started our Christmas conference and it is going to go for two days. We have had a great first day so far. We started the day off by going to El Yunque, which is the only tropical rain-forest in Northern America. It was so sweet! We hiked to the top of the mountain and made a Title of Liberty for the mission. We raised it on top of a castle tower and we all went a little crazy. All of the tourists that are here on Christmas vacation were a little confused by us. But it was just awesome to be able to get united as a mission. We came back and went to one of the biggest and most popular malls in Puerto Rico. We went to do a "flash mob" or something like that.
Apparently that's when you go to a public place and just start singing. So we were all sitting in the food court and all of the sudden, one by one, we all began to sing Christmas songs. It was sweet! I think the best part about it all was that it made me think a little more on the reason why we celebrate the season. Here we were, in the middle of the busiest place before Christmas, and we were trying to help everyone remember the real reason why we celebrate this holiday season. It was unlike anything that I had ever done before and it was a privilage to be able to bring a little Christmas cheer to all of those people.
Anyways, so that is what we are doing. We just got done playing a mission-wide basketball tournament. Tonight we will party a little bit more and then tomorrow will be a day full of spiritual activities. Needless to say, we are way excited for what is about to come!
But I am sure that these events are the last things that you are wanting to hear about!
This past weekend we had the baptism of two of the three people we were hoping for. Don't worry, we aren't disappointed at all. Andres and his son Andy were baptized on Sunday in what was one of the most beautiful baptismal services that I have had in the mission. It was so sweet to be able to see a Dad and his son, two future holders of the priesthood, enter the waters of baptism together! Andy is so excited to be a missionary! And I don't think that I have ever met a convert more excited then Andres. They came to church and were confirmed. We passed by after church and Andres told us that he felt so great! He said that he could still feel the hands upon his head and that he had never felt so good in his life.
Alexis told us that she will be baptized in the coming weeks. Her mom is a very traditional lady and was putting up so much opposition and negative feeling towards her baptism that she just decided to let her mom cool down. She said the last thing that she wanted was to feel like she was doing something bad the day of her baptism. She said she wants to get the sabbath day holy thing down before she gets baptized. But the incredible thing is, that without the pressure of the quickly approaching baptismal date, the negative pressure from her mother is decreased and the spirit is now so much stronger in our lessons. She will be baptized within the next couple of weeks. And the best part of it all is that her husband, who will get the priesthood this week, will be able to baptize her.
I want you all to know how much I love you and how much I love this work. It is such a great blessing to be able to remember the Savior at this time of Christmas! I know that He lives! I know that He came into this world as the most important gift that anyone could have ever given us! How grateful I am for Him and for His Atoning Sacrifice for me. I know that because He was, we too may be able to be born de neuvo as well. I know that this is His church! I know that His gospel has been restored and that our families have the right to be together forever as we do what He asks of us!
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a white one as well!
Merry Christmas to all! HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!