Merry Christmas everybody! thank you all so much for sending me letters and presents and things! i am attempting to write everybody back a hand written card so be patient with me!
Things have been great at MSU. we have our half-mission Christmas Party tomorrow in Grand Rapids and Wednesday in Mt Pleasant. it will be great! there will be some short trainings from Elder Rhodes and me, many musical talents from the missionaries, and lots of mini games and jeopardy. it will be sweet. pictures to follow.
Everyone here is doing well. Richard is attending church in DC and doing great. Mark is doing well too. Derek is home for the holidays as well haha. its basically us and like 5 people who are still here. but we still managed to invite lots of people to learn this week and find many new investigators so God is still blessing us! We have had some wonderful lessons with new investigators lately.
Some thoughts I have had recently... I love this quote from a Neal A. Maxwell talk where he quotes another guy:
Becoming a true believer, however, means trusting not only in the Lord's plan for all of mankind but especially trusting in His unfolding and particularized plan for each of us. This means much more than merely acknowledging that God is in charge. Alma's warning that living without God in the world is "contrary to the nature of happiness" (Alma 41:11) was not just for agnostics but also for passive believers. Putting first things first is vital, as these eloquent words of Malcolm Muggeridge attest:
When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is that what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now futile and absurd. For instance, success in all of its various guises; being known and being praised, ostensible pleasures, like acquiring money or seducing women, or traveling, going to and fro in the world and up and down in it like Satan, exploring and experiencing whatever Vanity Fair has to offer. In retrospect all these exercises in self-gratification seem pure fantasy, what Pascal called "licking the earth." They are diversions designed to distract in this world, which is, quite simply, to look for God, and, in looking, to find Him, and, having found Him, to love Him, thereby establishing a harmonious relationship with His purposes for His creation.[Thomas Nelson, A Twentieth Century Testimony (New York, 1978)]
Isn't that true? As i review my life, the saddest points are the times when i spent the most time for that which ended up being of little or no value to me. when my priorities were out of line. Serve others this Christmas season and throughout the year. It will bring you joy. Gain a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost that God our Father lives and that He loves each of us. Find out for yourself if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. These things are worth the time. Family is worth the time. Developing a Christlike character is worth the time.
Why does God command that we judge not? Is it because people's feelings get hurt? Possibly in part. Is it because we ourselves are not perfect? that definitely is true also. I think it is mostly because we would just get it so wrong. we know so little about a person. all we know is what they put off. we know nothing of their thoughts, very little of their past, and not much about who they truly are. God sees and knows all. This is why we must leave judging up to Him. He says, unequivocally, "of you it is required to forgive all men." (section 64: 9-11). no exceptions are made. we do not have to trust everyone, but we must forgive. "but they did this!" He lovingly responds that He will set it all straight. He can heal you. He will, in the end, make all things right. Forgive and forget. Ask God to heal you of the wrongs that have been done to you. Celebrate the birth and life of our Savior this Christmas by forgiving as He so patiently forgives us.