Warmest Christmas Greetings to my loved ones!
You are loved immeasurably by your Father in Heaven! My testimony for that statement has grown since I left to the Iowa, Des Moines Mission in June. His whole purpose is to make us feel JOY! He gives us temporary things to be happy in this life, but when those things fail, He has given us His Son, Jesus Christ, to help us get through everything in life and always have hope! I’m dreaming of a “White Christmas”…and the snow isn’t where I want the white to come from! This Christmas, I want the white to come from a white jumper that my new friends and investigators will be wearing when they enter the waters of baptism to have all of their guilt washed away by someone holding the priesthood power of God! The gift of the Holy Ghost will then enter into their lives to help comfort, protect, enlighten, and direct them to receive a fresh new path down the kingdom of Heaven! J
The greatest gift I’ve received on my mission is seeing the change occur in people’s lives when they read the Book of Mormon, attend church, and start praying. The investigators start realizing what kind of person that God sees them as, and what potential they have inside of them. I pray that the Book of Mormon has done that for you in your life. I promise if you read it with real intent, it will bless your life forevermore! If you don’t understand it, pray for comprehension and get help from the missionaries! Because you don’t want to miss out on this blessing! J
When we went around the table on Thanksgiving, I said I was grateful for Miracles. I’ve seen more miracles in the past year than I have in my whole life! Heavenly Father made miracles happen for me to be able to leave on a mission, and now He’s making more miracles happen for the past six months while I strive to bring others to partake of the gospel of His Son! I intended my service on a mission to be a “gift” back to the Savior for giving me such an amazing 21 years so far! However, as soon as I landed in Iowa, I found out that Heavenly Father was giving ME a gift!! Silly me…thinking that I could ever try to give a gift without getting something in return.
I’ve been blessed to serve with three companions who’ve been PEACHY to serve with, and an area in Peoria, Illinois that’s pushed me to the limit. Peoria has all kinds of people that I JUST KNOW I knew them in heaven!J It’s “CATERPILLAR” headquarters, where they make engines and tractors for construction work all around the world. So I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from India, Chicago, Zimbabwe, the Philippians, Brazil, and even some of my Utahan neighbors! I’ve eaten a lot of “Soul Food” with bones and spices…I’m so blessed! J
I wanted to share my favorite quote from this year’s Christmas Devotional from President Dieter F. Uchdorf. “Have we received these gifts (forgiveness, personal revelation, the Savior’s peace, the certainty and comfort that death is conquered, and the Only Begotten Son) with humble gratitude, with joy? Or do we reject them out of pride or a false sense of independence? Do we feel our Father’s love expressed in these gifts? Do we receive them in a way that deepens our relationship with this wonderful, divine Giver? Or are we too distracted to even notice what God gives us each and every day. This Christmas season and always, I pray that we will see the marvelous gift of the birth of the Son of God through the blessed eyes of a child. I pray we will strive to become good and grateful receivers. As we do so, the spirit of this season will enlarge our hearts and expand our joy beyond measure.”
Support your local cows…and missionaries! Hehe I love you all! Merry Christmas forever and ever!!
THE pictures: “Tracting in the Mission Field”
J Love, Sister Stephanie Tobias J