Thursday, December 24, 2015

Letter #75

Dear Mum and Family,

Merry Christmas to you all. I know that it is not Christmas quite yet, but this will be my last letter that I write before Christmas. I hope that you are all prepared for the wonderful Christmas Day and I hope that you were all good so that you don't get a lump of coal from Santa. I am sure that you were all good this year. I am a little nervous about mum though. I think that she is on Santa's naughty list, but I guess we will see. If she is on the naughty list then she will not be able to Skype me on Christmas so she better be a good little girl for the next couple of days. Haha

Well you all already know that I have been transferred back to Wales because mum had to do some stocking. That is why she is on the naughty list.  I guess it is no surprise to you all that I am now in Swansea, which is only 20 minutes away from Llanelli. That is where I served last Christmas if you don't remember. I know that you sometimes forget these things because you are all getting a little on the old side. It is kind of weird being in Swansea because I have been here before a couple of times on exchanges with other missionaries. I have always wanted to serve here and now look my wish has come true. I am so excited to be here and I can't wait to see what great things are going to happen this transfer. I have a great companion named Elder Vaitoa. He is from Samoa. We get along really well and we have some fun together. He has been out for about 8 months now so he knows what he is doing. 

We had a really great zone conference this past week. The Merthyr, Cardiff, and Cheltenham zones all met together at the Cheltenham chapel where we had a great time together. We had some time in the chapel where we had some spiritual thoughts about Christmas which was amazing. It was focused on the nativity and learned some great things from those who spoke. It was mainly President and Sister Leppard, but it was amazing. We then had some fun in the cultural hall where my zone acted out the nativity, and the other zones did some other Christmas things. We had a great lunch and spent some time together for a few hours. It was a great day.  

 I have not received the package with your letters and candy in it. I have received e package that says there is 2 shirts and a rubiks cube though. Haha. For Christmas we are going to be hopefully going to the beach in the morning with a few other missionaries and playing some soccer on the beach for a couple hours and then we are going to go visit a few members that have invites us over. I will be Skyping about the same time I did last year. So I hope you are all ready to see my beautiful face. I know you are all excited. 

Well I don't want to keep you too long because I will be talking to you in a few days. I guess I will share my last thought before Christmas. 
Weekly Thought

I think that it is pretty obvious that I am going to share a thought this week that relates to this special time of the year. As I have been thinking a lot about the Savior’s birth I am always drawn towards the Atonement. That is the most important thing that has happened on the earth and everyone is affected by it. As I have been thinking about His life starting at His birth and going through His whole life to His crucifixion there is something that always sticks out to me about the Savior. I can define what sticks out to me using one word and that is Love. 
Before this world the Savior agreed to come to this earth to pay for all of our sins.  He was willing to pay a debt He didn't owe because He loves us and He knew we couldn't pay that debt. He was born a humble birth. The Son of God was born and laid in a manger for there was no room for Him in the inn. At age 12 He was teaching at the temple. I believe He had great love for those He was teaching. I believe that He understood, at the age of 12, the Plan that God has for us and he wanted others to know and understand it too. We don't know about His life in the teenage years, but we do know about His life a few years before He was crucified. He loved so many people and He truly showed them that he loved them by His actions. He healed the sick, He raised the dead, He blessed the little children, He forgave those who did wrong, He taught people the gospel, He served in many other ways and He did it because He loves everyone.  The greatest act of love as we know was the Savior suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane for each of us and then being crucified on the cross. One of my favorite scriptures reads: 
" But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."  
(Isaiah 53: 5)
He went through all of this because He loved us.  We need to become like the Savior and show love towards others.  Showing love to others is something that we need to do every single day of our lives, not just during the Christmas Season. I don't like to think that there is a special time each year to love people the most. I believe we need to be like the Savior and love everyone no matter what time of the year it is. Christmas will come and go really fast. Christmas is 1 day out of the 365 days in a year. Instead of showing great love towards our neighbors just on this day we need to strive to show that love every single day to the best of our ability. The savior said that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. We don't obey this commandment just around the Christmas season. We obey it every single day of our lives. 
I really love how the "Spirit of Christmas" is really the "Spirit of Christ" when we drop the last syllable. In this quote give by David O McKay I changed the spirit of Christmas to the Spirit of Christ. He said: 

" True happiness comes only by making others happy. .... The Spirit of Christ makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. It is the Spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
There is no better time than now for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart - and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much; he who gives time gives more; but he who gives of himself gives all."

Yes the Christmas is a great time of the year to show love to those who are less fortunate than us. It is a great time of the year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I just think that if we were to love everyone the same no matter what time of the year was then we would feel greater joy in our lives and we will become closer to our Heavenly Father and we will become more like Him.
Again I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. I can't believe that the time is almost here when I get to see you all. Have a good one and don't get too excited about Skyping me that you lose sleep. That was more to Mum than anyone else. Haha
Elder Peterson 

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