Family and Friends,
This morning I got to open a package full of sweet Christmas cards from lots of family members and friends :) Thank you to everyone who wrote me the Christmas cards and to all who have sent me cards or written me through DearElder.com :) I truly do enjoy reading them and hearing how everyone is doing and what you're all up to :) They always put a smile on my face. Please forgive me for being super busy (you never have enough time to do everything you want as a missionary) and being awful at writing back but I'm trying.
I wanted to tell you all about a great investigator we have that is going to be baptized with his two nephews this Saturday. His name is Johnathon and he is a wonderful man and great friend. I remember the first day we met him we had been knocking on doors for a couple of hours because all of our appointments cancelled on us or weren't there (for those of you unfamiliar with missionary work door to door contacting for multiple hours on a hot day in Ecuador is usually not that fun, its better when you have appointments and are teaching people indoors) and almost everyone we had talked to was busy or weren't interested at all. I was feeling a little down but then we were walking down a street and my companion and I both felt that we needed to stop and visit a house on the corner. We quickly responded to that prompting and visited the house and Johnathon answered and happily received us. Usually we talk for a few minutes in the doorway and schedule a time that we can come by another day to teach them but Johnathon invited us to sit down and teach him in that very same day. He had a lot of great questions, was very interested, and was very receptive to the message we shared. We gave him a Book of Mormon and since that first visit he has read the Book of Mormon everyday without fail. Every time we visit him he shares with us what he read and what parts stood out to him that he liked or asks us some questions about what he read :) He told us that all of his life he has been looking for something to quench this thirst he had and has gone to various churches but in all of the churches he still felt empty inside. But now he says that when he reads the Book of Mormon and goes to church with us he finally feels that his spiritual thirst has been satisfied and he feels that he's finally found what he's been looking for... let me tell you those are the types of comments that you live for as a missionary :) We love that guy so much and we're way grateful that we've had the privilege to find and teach him and be his friend :)
I've been realizing lately that the key to having a firm testimony and unbreakable conversion to Christ is having daily scripture study. In 2 Nephi 31:20 we learn that we must feast upon the word of Christ in order to endure to the end. When I was a kid up until high school I would read my scriptures from time to time but it was never a regular daily habit and I would never really feast upon the word of Christ. I’d usually just kind of nibble a bit or snack on the word of Christ. I’d open up my scriptures and read a chapter or two but I wouldn’t really get into it and often my thoughts would wander and I’d be thinking about what I was going to do tomorrow or about basketball or something else not really immersing myself in the words of the Prophets. Then in high school when seminary started and especially when I went to BYU for a year, I really started the daily practice of feasting upon the words of Christ. I read everyday without fail for at least 30 minutes, I always started and ended with a prayer to invite the Spirit, I would take notes and write down spiritual impressions that came to mind, and I would truly apply the things I was learning. When you do that hearts change, miracles happen, and strong conversions to Christ occur. I’ve seen that my strongest investigators, strongest converts, and strongest companions that are truly truly converted to Christ they always have the daily habit of studying and applying the scriptures. I invite all of you to study the scriptures every single day without fail and apply what you learn. You will find peace of mind, solutions to life’s daily problems, and a growing desire to choose the right.
I love you all very much and hope you're all healthy and happy :) Enjoy life