Hey, so it turns out we can write letters on Christmas. That’s pretty cool. Maybe it’ll make up for the non-phone call. Probably not, but whatever. A phone call would probably just make me homesick.
But right now, I’m not really that homesick. Sure, I miss home and everything, but I’d rather be out here. Actually, I’d rather be in Mexico, but I get to hear a general authority (hopefully an apostle or member of the First Presidency) in the afternoon. So it all works out. Ah! I want to be in the field right now.
No offense, though. About the homesickeness thing: I’m agreeing with Elder (Gary) Thomson. Sure, I miss home, but I try not to think about home too much. It just make things seem bad when they’re really not. Geez, I can’t believe he’s already been out for over a year. Crazy. I still remember standing in the Thomson’s kitchen, hearing his voice coming out of the phone while he was talking to Raquel or was it Kaisa? I dunno. I guess my memory isn’t perfect.
I should probably describe my past few days though, eh? Well, Christmas Eve (or “La Noche Bunea”) was great. We had class with Hno. Anderson in the morning, as usual, but that’s great. Hno. Anderson is such a good teacher. Plus, he let us relax by watching the First Presidency Christmas devotional in Spanish. Good stuff. That was followed by a class with a substitute, since Hma. De Leon is in Guatemala right now, but that was fun too. We sang carols in Spanish, every single one in the hymn book.
Afterwards, Elders Roberts, MacDonald, and I went to stand in line for the Christmas Eve devotional. An hour in advance. That was kind of boring, but the devotional was good – the MTC presidency spoke, and we watched Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas while eating kettle corn. Good kettle corn.
That was followed up by a song back to the residence hall and hearing a choir entirely made up of Polynesian Elders singing in Samoan. There were touring the residences, and it was so cool. One of the elders in the choir was just going around saying “Merry Christmas” and hugging everyone. Wow, I love Polynesians. They’re always happy. Also, they’re the reason BYU’s line is what it is.
And Christmas morning! Awesome! I’ll thank everyone for their gifts individually, but it was pretty great. I even ate a couple of the cookies Grandma sent me. . . right now, I’m sitting in the best seats ever for the MTC Talent Show. I’m literally 10 ft. from the state. The MTC presidency is in front of me.
We sat directly behind the Presidency. Not joking or exaggerating at all.
[MTC Talent Show details]
The Talent Show was 2.5 hours long. Ah! Mis piernas! Me duelen mucho! (Ah! My legs! They hurt so much!) But yeah, that talent show was very good.
And guess what else? Because we sat directly behind the MTC Presidcency, Elder MacDonald was able to see his program that he was looking at (Pres. Smith). Guess who we have speaking this afternoon? Russell M. Nelson! Awesome! But, I’ll write more about him later. . . .
HAAAAAAAAAAAAA! FRONT ROW CENTER! ONCE AGAIN! I am 15 ft. away from the pulpit. And Russell M. Nelson, an Apostle of God & Jesus Christ is speaking tonight. Freaking awesome. I’ll write more about what he talks about later.
Well, that was great. I need to find some words that are different than “awesome” though. It seems like I use that one too much.
Anyway, the devotional. There were a lot of things he spoke about, of them good. But I’ll be brief with a few, and longer with others.
He started out by talking about all of the countries have recently been opened to the missionaries; I think 9 were mentioned, and it seemed as though nearly all of them were in the Balkans and/or former Soviet Union. It’s so cool to hear news like that – about how prophecy is being fulfilled, just a little bit at a time. Ah, fulfilled scripture: incredible.
His talk eventually steered towards when his son, the youngest of 10 children (the oldest are all sisters) served in Russia. He spoke of how the family back home loved to read his sons’ letters; it was apparently like a family reunion each week. He mentioned all the nephews that were there to listen, and have since gone on missions of their own.
It’s going to be really weird when Luke and Asher are older. That was kind of obvious statement, but geez is it strange. Hopefully my letters will help have the same effect – but if all they have to go off of are my letters, they’ll probably just get the good interpretations of everything since that’s all I ever write about. But, that’s a good thing, eh? Even if it is cliché at times.
The talk eventually came to the subject of Christmas, which isn’t that surprising. That was when Elder Nelson pulled out his scriptures and began reading from the New Testament; an Apostle was reading us the Christmas story from Mathew & Luke! An Apostle.
He explained the symbolism behind all of the traditions behind Christ’s birth; he even began defining the original Greek manuscripts that the New Testament came from. That gives me more incentive to learn Greek eventually, by the way. But as he went on, it’s just mind-boggling to think of all the intricate meanings and symbolism behind God’s actions. An example: Christ was baptized by John in the River Jordan, the lowest elevated body of running water in the world. He descended below all things. (D&C 122:8).
And yet, the most powerful part of the entire devotional was much simpler. Elder Nelson brought out a copy of “The Living Christ,” the written testimony of the 12 & First Presidency which was sent out in the year 2000. He explained the motives the Quorum had when making it, and the process of doing so. He read passages from it, and in the end, spoke from his own experience, not just the testimony sent out 10 year ago. Bringing into action his office and responsibility of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, he simply said that he knows these things are true. He knows Christ died and now lives. His gospel is now on the Earth, and we have it, and are trying to share it with the whole world. He used simple words, but it was powerful. It was incredible.
But he eventually had to end; he had been speaking for nearly an hour, which was strange, because I didn’t feel like it. Well, my legs and butt felt like it, but I didn’t.
And now I’m sitting in my residence hall writing this letter. The day has felt super long and short at the same time, and it’s great. I am loving this. And guess what? It’ll be even better in the field.
We had another fireside at night, which consisted of George Taylor (an MTC employee/official) and others performing a short performance/play of “A Christmas Carol.” It was really, really well done. It reminds me of freshman year at BV when I read “A Christmas Carol” for Mrs. McCabe’s English class. Ah, good times. Wow, that was 5 years ago.
After the performance (Elder Nelson was presiding at it again), President Smith stood up and told us to go back to our residence halls and read these scriptures:
1. Isaiah 9:6, 53
2. 3 Nephi 1:1-23
3. Luke 2:1-20
4. 2 Nephi 9:21-24
5. John 3:16-17
We were then supposed to record what we thought in our journals. I have done so. Wow, I feel grateful right now, even though this letter won’t be received until later, whoever reads this, please read those scriptures. They are powerful.
I loved this Christmas. I hope you’ve all done the same. Feliz Navidad! Paz y bena voluntad!
Elder (Brok) Humbert