I hope and trust that you all had a wonderful Chrsitmas without me! I hope everyone had a great time in the new home of the Harris Family in Idaho. I can't even imagine how awesome it must have been to go to Boise and see the girls and Luke! It was great that Matt and Carly got to take Olivia to Idaho for her first Chrsitmas as well! I bet they had a blast! Christmas without the family was very different, but I would not trade it for anything.
So here it comes! Christmas morning I woke up at like 6:00 so I could get my Christmas email off to you guys, then came breakfast! I just had the usual... Frosted Mini Wheats. Then we had the chance to do our little Christmas for the three Mongolian missionaries here. Let me just start off by saying that I have never ever felt those kind of feelings before when giving gifts. It was truly a life changing experience. Elder Zina and Enkjargel didn't really understand the whole giving presents thing, but then we explained it and they loved it! Elder Enkjargel tried to just give us back what we gave him because he is just that great and giving of a person. Sister Tumonbaatar cried when she opened our box to her! It was so amazing to give to people who have never had the Christmas experience before. It just really made me realize how spoiled I truly am. Maybe spoiled isn't the right word, but just extremely blessed. I have always had the joy of having a Christmas waiting for me every Christmas morning, and they have never had that. It really gave me a lot of perspective.
Next we had the opportunity to go to a MTC Talent Show. It was really fun and entertaining! Elder Enkjargel is a famous magician in Mongolia, and he made it into the talent show. He did like 40 magic tricks and everyone was going nuts! He received the only standing ovation of the entire talent show. He was so pumped and the smile of his face was incredible. GOSH I JUST LOVE MONGOLIANS ALREADY!
Lunch came next and we had a really nice Turkey dinner. I was starving by this point and so it was so great to get some solid food in. I am so grateful for the cafeteria workers who prepared these meals for us on Christmas Day. They deserve the most blessings, not us.
After lunch, everyone ran to the Gym for the much-awaited Chrsitmas Devotional. We found a secret side door, so when the doors were opened for us to come in we just bum rushed to the front! It is safe to say that the three sisters in my district and a few of the Elders that live next to me, got seats on the 4th row to the left of the stage. So we were approximately like 20 feet from the pulpit. Everyone filed in and we were all seated. A few prelude songs were sung, then all of a sudden we were all told to stand! There he was!! Low and behold, Elder David A. Bednar, and his family walks in the door, walks up on stage and takes a seat! Everyone continues standing and we sang as loud as we could. He immediately joined us in song, and that was probably the coolest part to me. It just goes to show how humble of a man he truly is. I can honestly say that I have never felt the Spirit so strong in my entire life. An Apostle of God just walked in the room right before my eyes, and might I add, only 20 feet away from me. Just his presence brought the Spirit like a hammer! I literally had goose bumps all over my body! His wife spoke first, and she just introduced her family. She had her 5 year old and 3 year old granddaughters come up and say their names and "Merry Christmas!" I got a little bit emotional at this part because they just reminded me so much of Kinzie and Addisyn. It was just so precious. Then when they went off stage, the 3 year old just wanted to stay and be with Elder Bednar, but her dad had to grab her! Elder Bednar was laughing so hard! It was great! Elder Bednar got up and took the stand and just said "Merry Christmas!" We didn't know whether or not to reply back or just stay quiet, so we all just stayed quiet! Safe bet when you have an Apostle of God right in front of you, but he made us all say it back! It was pretty neat! Next he informed us that this meeting would be historic, and he was going to do something that has never been done. At this point I was just thinking in my mind, "LET'S GO!" He explained that he would be passing out 200 cell phones to the 2,300 missionaries. We were all stunned. He went on to tell us that all this Devotional would be is him just answering our questions, which he is known to do very often. So with the cell phones, we could text his cell phone number, and he would just receive them while at the pulpit. HOW UNBELIEVABLE IS THAT! He made us promise by the showing of the uplifted hand that we would not text anyone or call anyone but the number that he gave us to text to. We all promised....obviously, and then he said, "If I find out anyone texted their mom or girlfriend, I will hunt you down personally, and I will do bad things to you!" It was sooooo funny! So the cell phones were distributed and the questions started coming in! It was literally incredible. One question was asked about why do I feel so inadequate here serving a mission. He had a very short reply, and said, "Because you are." It was as plain as that. We are all inadequate because we are standing in the place of the Savior, doing the work that He would do if He was on the earth today. He then answered a question that I have had in my heart ever since I got here. His answer literally brought me so much peace, and I now know the answer. He made it so clear, and it felt like he was literally just speaking to me one on one. If I ever have the chance to meet him, I would love to thank him for that, because it is literally something that changed my life. After a few more questions were answered he said that he would be answering only one more question, and right as he said this, I got my hands on one of the phones and asked the question I have been dying to know! My question was, "What does he mean when he says in his testimony, "I witness .... "? If you listen to his testimony he always and only says "I witness." So as I sent the message in, he started to answer the exact question that I just sent. So he didn't answer my exact text message, but it was my exact question, so it was pretty awesome if you ask me. Kinda like divine intervention I guess you could say. He said, "Being a Witness goes beyond the five senses." I will leave that up to your own interpretation, but I know I received my answer. He then bore his testimony and took a seat. I was completely mind blown. He soon left, and we did also. I will never forget that experience and that meeting. Never.
I want to thank everyone who sent me Christmas letters and packages! I am so grateful to be in your thought and to be loved by all of you. I want you to know that your packages weren't just to me, but they were also used to give to three Mongolian missionaries who need it more than myself. I hope that brings you great joy.
I know Christ lives. I know He is the Savior of all mankind, and only through Him can we be saved. I know this. The Atonement is real, and is the greatest gift we can possibly receive. I love my calling as a missionary, and I am so blessed to be here, bettering my life, but more importantly, acting in Christ's name, representing Him, bringing salvation to the people of Mongolia
I love you Mom and Dad. Thanks for being my everything.