Sunday, January 3, 2016

¡Feliz Navidad!
   I can't believe it's already Christmas again! The year went by way
too fast. I'm so blessed to be in Zaragoza for Christmas. We have a
lot of amazing members who we will be spending our Christmas with.
This week we tried to spread the Christmas cheer and sung Christmas
carols with the young women to the all the old folks in the retirement
homes. They loved the songs even though we did not sound so great. I
think they just loved having people to visit them. It was fun to go
around and talk to them afterward.
   We had a good week planned out, but nothing went according to plan.
We had very many interesting experiences as well as many blessings. My
companion and I just learned to laugh. I believe that laughing is the
best cure when things don't go as you had planned. It's a lot better
than getting angry or sad. It says in 2 Nephi 2:25 that "men are that
they might have joy." My companion and I have had a lot of fun in just
spreading that joy especially in this Christmas season.
    We went to the house of an investigator to teach her, but when we
got there we found that she was a little sick and cleaning her house.
So, we took advantage of the situation, rolled up our sleeves, and
started helping her to clean the kitchen. As we were helping her, we
talked to her and got to know her better. Our love grew for her as we
served her. We realized her needs and wanted to help her. Everyone
deserves to have a happy Christmas.
      Our ward had a Christmas dinner. A family came that had not been
to church in a while. They had two young girls who I just fell in love
with. They were so funny. They were a bit shy at first, but I started
getting to know them. They said I looked like Katniss and asked if I
would give them an autograph. Umm.... Instead I just wrote a little
note to the two of them and signed it Hermana Schmidt and below, in
parentheses, "Katniss." They flipped when I gave it to them, and in
return drew my companion and I a Christmas card. They came to church
the next day! I was so happy to see them!
      In the mission we help a lot of members who have fallen away
from the church and we also help people to come to know the church and
make covenants with God. It amazes me how their are so many people
that fall away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many times it has to
do with certain people getting upset and rumors spreading, sometimes
it's just a lack of interest. I felt confused as to why people fell
away. Didn't they have a testimony? As we all know, life is not always
easy. There will be trials in our life that will test our faith, we
will feel as if our testimony is weakening and start to question if
things are true.
   One day as I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I could not get
this question out of my mind. Why did so many people let the trials of
everyday life effect their faith? I tried to put myself in their shoes
and think of things in my life that could possibly test my faith. The
passing away of family members, the feeling of being judged by others
or rumors spreading, lack of love in the ward, etc. ... Then a
question came to mind: "Do you know the Book of Mormon to be true?"
... That made me think. Then, without hesitation, I thought to myself,
"Yes! I know the Book of Mormon is true!"
    Things started to fall into place after that. Because I knew the
Book of Mormon to be true, I also knew that Joseph smith was true
prophet of God who restored the church of Jesus Christ and translated
the Book of Mormon by the power of God, and because that power has
been restored, we are also able to make sacred covenants that will
enable us to return back to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father
and be with our families for eternity.
      It makes more sense to me now the saying of the Prophet Joseph
Smith: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most
correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a
man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any
other book.” As we read the Book of Mormon everyday and study its
teachings and pray to know that it is true, I know that we can receive
the answer that it is true and, as we receive that testimony,
everything else will fall into place. I am so grateful for the Book of
Mormon in my life. It really is the keystone of not only our religion
but also our testimonies.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

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