Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas one and all, beloved family!

Thanks again to everyone for all the news! Thank you very much Matt and Nat for your lovely little package of Reeses, mint Hershey kisses, Sam´s drawing (and the interpretation thereof), and pictures! The pictures are great and I´m rationing out the candy. Kit and Kevin – thank you for the present ya´ll sent! It happily awaits Christmas morning under our humble little Christmas Tree. I´m sure there are other things in the mail that I haven´t received yet, some of which I will probably get at the next zone conference. And thank you very much Mom and Dad for those letters, and the Scrooge quotes, etc. That made my day!

What a blessing to be serving as a missionary at Christmas time! The important thing is to be grateful for all of the many many gifts that God has given us, especially the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Atoning Sacrifice for us. I am so grateful for a wonderful, huge, and supportive family! In a letter Mom shared something that Bispo Leite in São Paulo said – at Christmas time we can give gifts to Christ of our faith, service, and gratitude. And I remember those wonderful Christmas stories we would read as part of the countdown for Christmas, and how they show that we can give of oursevles and serve others, even ´the least of these our brethren´, to serve God! Matthew 25:40 and Mosiah 2:17. I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas!
Last Thursday was our Christmas zone conference, which was really great. One awesome thing was that we watched a Christmas movie that President and Irmã Terry really like called The Forgotten Carols, which I highly recommend for everyone to watch at some point. I also got three letters from Mom and Dad for the Christmas conference, and it was wonderful to hear from them. I finally got my other letters which were all sent to the office, so that was nice too!

Of course, this week before/of Christmas has been great. There is a Brasilian family from São Paulo that we taught the second lesson / the Plan of Salvation to, and it was great. They were all participating, asking questions, and were really interested. (They´re not brand new investigators, per se, but it was really cool to teach them.) And something that is great to look forward to, this Saturday is a double baptism! Simão, who is 9 years old (and as golden as it gets I have heard) – he wasn´t baptized because his parents were going through a divorce – and then Maria Augusta, a single mom of about 30 who has two kids 7 and 6 years old, who is really great too. We´ve been teaching Simão and the Irmãs have been teaching Maria Augusta. But it is wonderfully exciting! Well, I love you all and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

--Elder Ellis V
Ps – the FDP is also from Mom´s Christmas letter, standing for Faith Diligence and Patience

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