Mom Speaking!! Our Bishop, Bishop O'Brien, surprised all the families of missionaries in our ward at home with Christmas emails from their missionaries. He read each and every one of them over the pulpit as part of our Sacrament Program on Christmas Eve. Here is Shannon's:
OK. Sorry. I'm here. Been pretty crazy with Christmas stuff sorry I didn't have time for spell check
Buenas Dias de Tarija, Bolivia, Hermanas Y Hermanos de Barrio Los Alisos!!!
Bishop O'Brien has asked me to write a special Christmas message to you all today, I don't have much time but I can't pass up the opportunity to share some Christmas missionary spirit with all of you.
First of all, I hope all of you have been taking advantage of the wonderful Light the World program that is up on mormon.org. It's an amazing way to remind people of the reason we have Christmas and the to remind them what the "good tidings" actually are about. It's about the the birth of Christ!! Can you all just imagine for a second, the thousands of years that prophets like Noah, Enoch, Moses, Isaiah and more spent prophesying that one day, the Savior of the world, even the son of God himself would some to earth to redeem mankind? Can you imagine how long people waited, and watched for that new star to appear in the sky? Can you imagine what is must have been like for those faithful watchers to see the sun set and rise with out any sign of the darkness of night? No wonder the world rejoices over this glorious day! A day so important that the world literally restarted counting the years.
Of course, if we don't have a very good understanding of the Atonement that Christ performed for us, this rejoicing loses some of its significance.
I invite you all to study and learn and listen so you can tuley understand the atonement of Jesus Christ and you may truly rejoice this Christmas.
But id like to leave you all with my own testimony that I've gained though my 13 months as a missionary.
I know that Christ lived. I know that He was the Son of God and his life was perfect. I know he showed us a perfect example and taught us the path that we must follow to return to our home in heaven. I know that he healed the sick, raised the dead, and was completely obedient to His Father. I know that because of his divinity he could not have been killed by any man unless he permitted it. And he did permit it. I know that Jesus Christ loved us, God's Children, so much that he CHOSE to suffer in the garden of Gethsemane for all of our sins, for ALL of our pain and afflictions and loneliness and doubt. I know that he suffered for every one of us individually. I promise that he knows you, he understands you, and he loves you.
I know that he completed his atonement for all mankind, by dying on the cross and gloriously overcoming death itself by resurrecting the third day. I testify that He Lives.
I know that above all else, Christ taught us that we must Love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. and the secondly that we must love our neighbor with all our heart, might , mind, and strength also.
I testify of this because I know that only through serving others can we truly change the world. and I also know that service is the easiest thing we can ever do.
Smile at people more often, make generous donations, give thanks, tell an uplifting joke, cry with those who mourn. Comfort those in need of comfort. Lift the hands of those who hang down in discouragement. Be like Jesus Christ.
Light the World with His Light.
I'd like you all to enjoy this beautiful Christmas eve, in beautiful southern California by remembering that you are sons and daughters of God. The plan of salvation is real and god has given each of you a special talent to share. Have faith in God and have faith on Yourself. You can do it!
And I'll end my testimony with an enormous "Gracias". Thank you for everything Los Alisos ward. thank you to each and everyone of you. To my friends I've grown up with, to my church leaders who have helped me have the testimony I have today, and a very special thank you to my family. Brown Family, thank you for staying strong, and thank you for supporting me. Mom and dad: thank you for your faith and love.
I love you all and I testify of all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
<3 Hermana Brown.
Misión, Santa Cruz (de los milagros), Bolivia.