December 23, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

The following was included in a Christmas Card we received from Elder Bell:

As I write this, I sit in Sacrament meeting, looking around, being more blessed than ever. As I look around I see people less fortunate than I. I see families wearing the same clothes as they were this whole past week. I see kids who won't get much, or even anything for Christmas. I see in people's eyes that they are hungry, and won't be eating much for Christmas. There is one similarity I see in this congregation, rich or poor. Everyone in this chapel is happy. They aren't worried about how they are going to pay their bills. They aren't worried what their next meal will be, or even how they're going to make this a nice Christmas. I, having plenty of food to eat, plenty of clean clothes to wear, and more than enough money to survive, I am humbled. I am grateful for all I have. Worldly things don't bring happiness; this gospel does. I never really realized how blessed I've been until I got out here in San Bernardino. My mom has given me everything and anything I needed, and a lot of the time would give me things I didn't even need. I've truly been humbled with seeing all of these families together, happy because they get to spend time with each other and feel the love of our Heavenly Father while here at church.

I have taken everything for granted in my life. I just with I could go back on all of the times I didn't get what I wanted, or a certain toy. Especially take back all of the times I complained about what was for dinner. Some families have to work so hard for their next meal, and for even housing. I grew up just expecting it. I never thought whether or not I would be eating or not, it was just expected. I'm going to try harder to eat whatever is given to me, even if I don't like it. There are plenty of people not being fed, I can't be picky about what I like and don't. It's food, and some are starving as I complain about not wanting to eat that. Going around to different families, taking them snacks and seeing them eat it kike they haven't eaten in days just breaks my heart. I often see little kids wearing the same thing, the same socks that are completely black on the bottom because they don't have shoes, or enough money to wash their clothes. I just need to be thankful for everything. I complain about my pillow or mattress and then go and teach a family that all lives in the same bedroom. They have one queen mattress for a family of six. I need to take what I get and have and be happy with it.

Seeing these people happy with the things they do have, rather than complaining about what they don't have, has really opened my eyes. I asked one of my investigators, Billy, what he was asking for, for Christmas. And he said to spend time with his family. The first thing I personally think of and many others of when they hear Christmas is presents and gifts. The best present is spending time with you family, the ones that you love. That is when people can truly be happy. One of God's greatest and most precious gifts is the Holy Ghost. I'm able to share that gift with all. I can testify and promise that this is the true church, the church Jesus Christ established. The church restored by the prophet Joseph Smith.The Church that holds the proper priesthood authority and keys to act in the name of God. And the church that can bring eternal life and salvation. These things I know without a shadow of a doubt are true, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Amen.

It doesn't have to be Christmas to share gifts, especially the gift of this gospel. Please share that gift with others, don't keep it to yourself. Pray about specific non-members you know and give them a pass-along card and bare your testimony to them, or share a Book of Mormon with somebody with your testimony written inside the cover. I know by doing this, you will be blessed and will seek out opportunities for missionary work. We all are missionaries.

Have a merry Christmas!

Elder Landon Bell

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