Dear Sisters and Elders,
It was wonderful last week to be with you at our Christmas Zone Conferences. I have always said this is the best mission in the church and that we have the very best missionaries, but I was impressed with the talents you shared and the testimonies you bore. Most of you are obedient and diligent and are serving the Lord the best you can. Many of you commented that you love hearing how your fellow missionaries are doing. So, here is another excerpt from a fellow missionary:
This week I’ve really caught hold of why I’ve changed so much...or at least a reason. Think with me for a sec...When you take away unlimited phone and car use, TV, radio, favorite songs, video games, friends, clothes, work, and school....what do you have? How much are you worth? More importantly...would you be happy? Right now...I have pretty much nothing...and I've never been happier in my entire life. As a matter a fact, I feel like I could fly. It's interesting to think about I think. It really changed me. What are my priorities in life? Anyway....that's my little spiel.
I desire that all of my missionaries feel this change of heart . As you do, you will be filled with the right spirit and you will be happy and successful. Here is a little gift for you to help you get this change of heart and to continue your perfect mornings. It is a 12 Days of Christmas Companion Study exercise. If you like it you can print it off and enjoy:
Scripture: 3 Nephi 17:12, 21, and 24, Christmas could hardly be Christmas without children. They are so much of the magic in the season. The Savior loved children. In both the new world and the old, he called the little ones to him. Song: I Think When I Read That Sweet Story (Children’s Songbook 56) or As I Have Loved You (Hymn 308) Assignment: Pray for each child that you are teaching. Discuss ways you can be a blessing to the children of your current investigators. (Can you improve the way you are teaching to help each child?) Discuss ways you can be a blessing to the children in your branch/ward. (Can you volunteer to do a sharing time in Primary or help with Primary Activity Day?)
Scripture: John 14:15; Matthew 7:12; Mark 10:43-44 and John 13:34-35, Turmoil and strife, combat and competition—our world is full of the consequences of man. But the Savior told us how to try to succeed, through peace on earth and good will toward men. Song: Our Savior’s Love (Hymn 113) Assignment: Today tell someone that you love them. Sincerely express your love for the Savior in your prayers.
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-22; Matthew 6:14-15; 3 Nephi 12:44, Jesus came to lift our burdens. One of the heaviest burdens we carry is that of hate. In teaching us to forgive, the Lord set us free. Song: Did You Think to Pray (Hymn 140) Assignment: Try to forgive someone who has wronged you. If appropriate, discuss the situation with your companion and get his/her ideas for ways you can go to that person and be reconciled. (You may want to write a letter next P-day to ask for forgiveness.)
Scripture: 3 Nephi 18:1,3,5,7,9-11, Have you ever wished you could be baptized again and start over fresh: When we repent of our sins and partake of the sacrament worthily, we renew our covenants and are clean. Song: While of These Emblems We Partake (Hymn 173) Assignment: Discuss with your companion your feelings about the cleansing power of the sacrament. As you partake of the sacrament this week, make a special effort to think about the Savior and your covenants.
Scripture: Matthew 8:23-26, We all have storms in our lives—storms of fear, anger and regret—storms at home, school and work. The Master’s hand can calm all our tempers. Song: Master the Tempest is Raging (Hymn 105) Assignment: Think back to the last time you lost your temper. Discuss ways you might have handled the situation differently. Today, be a calming influence on those around you--try extra hard to control your temper.
Scripture: Matthew 25:39; D&C 19:16-19, The greatest victory of all time was not won on a battlefield but in a quiet hillside garden. We cannot fully understand the cost of that triumph, but as Christmas draws hear, we should at least try. Song: How Great Thou Art (Hymn 86) Assignment: Accept the gift of forgiveness. Think about one of your weaknesses. Pray about that weakness and ask for help in repenting of it.
Scripture: Matthew 27:28-30; Luke 23:33-34 and Mark 15:29-32, Some things are very painful to think about. To see our Savior mocked and murdered is one such thing. And yet, through the scriptures, we should visit Calvary from time to time. We must never forget Jesus died so we might live and live more abundantly. Song: There is a Green Hill Far Away (Hymn 194) Assignment: Read the scriptures above and then share your testimony of these events with your companion. Write your feelings in your journal.
Scripture: Matthew 28:1-6; Isaiah 25:8, The morning of Christ’s resurrection was the brightest morning in all history—a time of transcendent joy following the gloom of the crucifixion. The worlds of the angel still echo down the centuries undiminished, “He is Risen!” Those words proclaimed the supremacy of life over death. As we celebrate Christmas, we also celebrate the free gift of immortality for all mankind. Song: He Is Risen (Hymn 199) Assignment: Study the accounts of the Resurrection. (See Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24, John 20 and 3 Nephi 11) Discuss these scriptures with your companion and then record your feelings in your journal.
Scripture: John 6:35; John 10:14; John 11:25; John 8:12, As the holidays get busier and busier, we become involved in so many things. Even as missionaries, our calendars fill up with branch/ward activities, dinner appointments, sending Christmas cards, etc. It’s easy to become focused on material things. Instead, let us remember where our lives ought to be centered. Song: Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful (Hymn 202) Assignment: As you walk home tonight, pause and look at any Christmas lights you might see. Discuss ways you can become more a more faithful missionaries and also on ways you can focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year.
Scripture: D&C 76:19-20, 22-24, Jesus is no mere figure from the past, captive in the pages of scripture. He lives today! He holds the universe to its course, and guides the work of his servants on the earth. Song: Once in Royal David’s City (Hymn 205) Assignment: Go caroling to several of your investigators homes. Bring the joy of the season to others and you share a few Christmas songs. Think about adding a few different hymns that tell some of the aspects of Christ’s ministry. (As I Have Loved You, Come Follow Me, etc.)
Scripture: Matthew 24:27, 29-30, 36, 42, Jesus came to Bethlehem a humble babe, born in poverty. But he has promised to return to earth in majesty. Then heaven and earth will be reconciled and the King of Kings shall reign. Song: Away in the Manger (Hymn 206) and When He Comes Again (Children’s Songbook p. 82) or Redeemer of Israel (Hymn 6) Assignment: Try to live this day as if it is the day of Christ’s second coming. Discuss with your companion what you would want to do to prepare for it.
Scripture: 1 Nephi 11:14-15, 18-21; Luke 1:30-32, 34-35 and 38; Luke 2:1, 3-16 Jesus was born in the meridian of time, thus giving an ideal vantage point from which to look both backward and forward. For the last 12 days you have stood, as it were, in Bethlehem, gazing in both directions. You have seen him minister, suffer, die and rise again. You have watched him return triumphant in the clouds of heaven. Now, you are ready to focus with greater joy on that moment when heaven came down to earth. Song: Joy to the World (Hymn 201) AND Silent Night (Hymn 204) Assignment: Consider what gift you could give the Savior and determine to give it all year long. Write it in your journal and refer to it often. Bear your testimony about the Savior to as many people as you can today!
Open this gift for you:
In your scriptures, turn to the Topical Guide and look under Jesus Christ. You will have 18 ½ pages of references! Christmas may pass, but you can go right on reading about the Savior’s life and mission. In fact, what you received during these past 12 days has only been a small taste of the scriptural feast available. The suggested assignment for the rest of our life is to read and enjoy the word of God as found in the scriptures. Give yourself a gift that fills every day of your life with the real spirit of Christmas! It will help you be happy and successful. That is my heartfelt desire for you. I love you and I believe in you.