Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Philippines Cebu Christmas Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters, Sister Schmutz and I want to wish you all a merry merry Christmas. We hope and pray that you will feel the joy of Christmas in your hearts and feel the Savior's love for yourselves and for all the precious children of God that are here in our mission. We are so blessed to have revealedknowledge about our Savior and his atonement, the reason for his birth. Even though we are far away from the snow of Christmas that whitens the fields and rooftops of our home, we have received a marvelous blessing of joy to enjoy this first Christmas in the heat of Cebu. Even though we are far from our home and family, we feel as if we have our family all around with the many many sons and daughters that we have found in the mission. Thank you for your love to us, and your prayers in our behalf. We really feel it. Two Thousand Years ago, an angel announced to Mary that she would be blessed to be the mortal mother of God's own son. Her heart leapt with joy at that great news. When the time came that she was with holy child and knew that the Savior of the World was growing in her womb, she needed to share her joy with another person and so she traveled to share her joy with her cousin Elisabeth, who was also carrying a godly child, John the Baptist. When the two women greeted one another, and Mary saluted Elisabeth, the babe who was John "leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost." Mary exclaimed, "MY soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46-47) The two women rejoiced together at the wonderful experience they were sharing. I think in some ways it is the same today. When we greet others with the news of Jesus Christ, those who are prepared will be filled with the Holy Ghost and filled with joy as was Elisabeth. And we rejoice together in the news that the Lord has restored his church and brought revelation back to the earth. This is his gospel. We love sharing it. At this time of year, i want to express my great love for Jesus Christ, who so long ago came to earth as a holy infant in swaddling clothes. He brought joy and the hope and promise of resurrection and eternal life. How special it is to know that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that all who might believe in him and keep his commandments can have life enternal in his righteous kingdom. I feel that He is smiling down upon our mission now, a resurrected perfect God. He has accomplished his work, and his work continues to roll forth. This mission is a part of his vineyard. I feel blessed to declare his word and bring his love to those in need. All our love to each of you in this Christmas season. We are so excited to see you for the Christmas program. Until then, All our love, President and Sister Schmutz

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