This morning for Christmas morning, we woke up and I love love my hermana roommates (so it's just me, my comp, and the two of them in our room) and we are all good friends so this morning we woke up and opened gifts together and hung out and had a lazy morning and it was just so great and so fun.
Then we all went to our morning meetings. First we saw MoTab music and the spoken word - oh, man, I secretly kind of love the motab. They're way better at their concert things than they are at general conference. And, I told my comp about the your team, my team game, and so now she always turns to me and says, "you know which one is on your team." And, of course, I always know which one she is talking about. Then we had sacrament meeting. They passed the sacrament to allll the missionaries and Elder Bednar came to speak to us. You guys! It was awesome. I'm sometimes a little tiny bit scared of Elder Bednar because he is stern and strict, you know? But it was so awesome having him speak to us because he was so personable and wonderful. So he talked about how having a testimony is not good enough, we have to have a testimony AND be converted unto Christ. And talked about examples in the scriptures when people were verted unto Christ in addition to having a testimony. He was very bold and talked about how like statistics show that a significant portion of us, good strong missionaries, will be inactive in a few years. And the only way to avoid that its by being truly converted unto Chirist. I feel like you, Mom and Dad are such a good example of that, because they have been through a lot of hard things, but you can tell that they are converted unto Christ because they always believe in Him and His gospel and His Atonement. He talked about how if for some crazy reason a general authority were to apostasize from the church, it shouldn't have any power to shake our testimonies because we are converted unto Christ, and not unto anyone or anything else. He talked a lot about how the natural man is an enemy to God, and over and over again as we learn OF Christ (not just about him), we see that He consistently turns out, while we (the natural man), turns in. He was very bold and said, "This mission is NOT about you. Get over yourself." But it was so awesome to hear, because I'm always thinking about how I want to change and how I want to be, instead of focusing on what the Lord wants me to be and what He wants me to do. He said on your mission, you will be your biggest convert, but if you try to convert yourself, it won't work. You must turn outward and away from yourself, and then you will be converted. When you lose yourself, you will find yourself. He talked about how when you are converted unto Christ, you are being consistently true to what you know. (He defined character as having moral qualities which are consistently lived, strikingly displayed and strongly developed - thus being consistently true to what you know.) Oh, also! Since he talked a lot about the natural man being an enemy to God and that the natural man turns inward instead of outward, he said, "I don't mean to be light-hearted, but when I think of the natural man, I just think of the Cookie Monster." And then he did like 2 cookie monster impersonations throughout his talk - so funny, because I could never imagine a general authority doing that. He was just so great, and firm and bold, but still loving. I know that he is called of God to be His apostle, and a special witness of Him. Right before he closed, he said, "By desire and diligence, you will increase in understanding of the true character of Christ and every spiritual gift and blessing you need now and in the future will be yours." So awesome. Oh! He also testified that we were each called by the Spirit, and by an apostle to go where we are called on our missions. He assured us that we are not just part of a stack, but that each mission call is divine inspiration and that the power of revelation is never more apparent to him than when he is helping to issue missionary calls. Awesome. His talk made me realize and want to be one million times better than I am now. And let's all try harder to be truly converted unto Christ.
Family, you should study these scriptures in conjunction with his talk: Matt 4:2-11 (read JST - Christ sends angels to John, not to Himself even though He was in need - example of Christ always turning outward instead of inward)
Natural man, mosiah 3:19, I think
Alma 23:5-6 (knowlege of Lord = testimony, converted unto the Lord = obviously is what it means and what we should be striving to do)
I can't even wait for all you cute brothers to go on missions. You're all going to do so, so great and learn so much and you will love it. And you really will love learning more about Christ and you will love working hard and trying hard to be more like Him and literally do His work and help Him in His work by preaching the gospel. Niels, I am so especially excited for you right now. What is the status of your mission papers?? I can't wait to see where you go. And I can't wait for you to also have these missionary experiences that I am having.
You guys, YOU GUYS! I love you so much I can hardly even stand it. Thanks again for EVERYTHING you do for you - you are all some of the best humans EVER. You are such good examples to me and you are all total besties. Thanks for the sweet gifts and sweet notes. Thanks for the life updates. Seriously, just love you all so dang much. I hope you've all had such a merry, happy Christmas. I'll get to call you (pretty sure) IN A COUPLE WEEKS (CRAZY) when I leave the MTC, and I'll write again on Tuesday, since it's my p-day. Love love love all of you so much. And miss you all a ton, but I'm happy that I'm doing this and I appreciate all your support.
Love you and miss you!!
Kayla, I love you!