I can´t believe I only have one more week at the CCM!! This time has just flown on by! It´ll definitely be a change of pace when I get out into the field, but I´m super excited and ready to go!
On Christmas Eve, the entire CCM had kind of a choir festival, where 2 zones combined and sang 2 Christmas hymns. It was super cool! And quite a bit chaotic. Last Sunday, I decided to join the CCM choir. We only had one practice for singing on Christmas Eve and we´d be singing this great arrangement of Santa la Noche (O, Holy Night). And when we sang it after the festival.. Wow. There is definitely a strong and loving spirit in singing hymns about Christ, or hymns in general! Truly amazing.
I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and were able to remember the Reason for the Season! It was definitely a good one! We were sitting probably 14 out of the 16 hours we were awake, but it was still good! We had a ton of amazing devotionals. The first one was given by Elder Russel M. Nelson and his wife. Sister Nelson talked about how we can make everyday Christmas (because everyday really can be Christmas). Christmas is a time for miracles, a season of angels, a season of music, and a time of intensely focusing on our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we are able to keep a Spirit of Christ everyday in our lives, then everyday can be Christmas! It´s fantastic!
Pretty much immediately after the first devotional, we had another! It was given a couple of years ago at Christmas by Elder David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ". If you can find it and read it, it would definitely be worth your time. He talked about how Christ´s character is shown when He reaches out in love and compassion, when the natural man in us would be self-absorbed and turn inward. He gave a couple of examples from Christ´s life. One that stood out to me was in Matthew 4:1-11, where Christ is fasting for 40 days before his ministry, and gets tempted three times. At the end of it, verse 11 says that angels came and ministered to Christ, but the Joseph Smith translation completely changes our understanding of this event. It says that Jesus knew that John was in trouble, so He sent the angels to minister to John. Christ was physically and spiritually spent. Completely. And he would have, no doubt, benefited from the ministering of angels. But, even in His moment of distress, He saw someone in need and reached out. There are so many examples that explain this basic, yet powerful principle of the Character of Christ and I would urge you all to learn of Him.
On Christmas night, we had the opportunity of watching Meet the Mormons! A fantastic movie, giving a few stories of some ordinary Latter-day Saints. It was definitely a grand Christmas present from Presidente Pratt, who´s the president of the CCM. A couple of things really stood out to me. One: Our Heavenly Father is the author of diversity. There isn´t just one flower, or one aspect of this world. There are so many things that are different, including us. Each of us have different personalities and opinions, but that doesn´t mean we should build a wall in between us. Like Elder Bednar said, we need to reach out in love and compassion, when we normally tend to be self-absorbed and turn inward. Two: The Lord calls ordinary people to bring forth His work. That is so true. The Lord calls teenagers to proclaim His gospel to the world. It´s truly amazing how much trust He puts in all of us. That reminds me. This last Sunday night, we saw a devotional given by Elder Richard G. Scott. He talked about prayer. He explained that when we pray, our answer received usually comes in three ways: 1) We receive a peaceful, feeling that is the Spirit confirming to us our answer or the truthfulness of the Gospel, 2) We receive a stupor of thought, which is the Spirit telling us that whatever we ask or hear is not true, and 3) (Which is the most common) We don´t feel anything. When #3 happens, this is our loving Heavenly Father showing His trust for us. He wants us to follow through with a decision so that we may grow, progress, and learn.
Tengo un fuego en mi corazón. Sé que esta Iglesia es la Iglesia de Jesucristo restaurado en la tierra en los ultimos días. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios y por el poder de Dios, José Smith lo trandujo. José Smith vio a Dios el Padre y a Jesucristo y recibió una respuesta de su oración. ¡Jesucristo vive! Lo sé con toda mi corazón. Y Él nos ama perfectamente. La Expiación es eterna y perfecta. Podemos ser limpios por medio de la Expiación y podemos tener paz y feliz en nuestras vidas cuando seguimos a Jesucristo.
That´s about all the time I have for this week, but know that I love you all and I love hearing from you each week!
Para siempre Dios este con vos.