Monday, December 21, 2015

Feliz Natal!

Exchange in Tocantins


​The Uberlândia Americans

​Elder Sanchez and I

​Talent Show

My Christmas tree! Hahaha 

​Atividade de Natal!
Wow! Christmas is this week? It’s hard to believe the 25th is almost here for a number of reasons. First, it’s hot. That’s not normal for December… Next, Christmas Spirit (Espirito de Natal) isn’t that big here… There’s not a whole lot of decorations, hardly anyone says Feliz Natal (Merry Christmas), and yeah, I miss Christmas in America haha. Also, time’s flown since we went to the Atlanta airport over 5 months ago. Going through security and saying goodbye to the family does feel like a long time ago, yet the fact that it’s already Christmas time is surprising. Man, life’s going quickly.

I’m immensely grateful for the impact my mission has had on me thus far. I’ve grown so much spiritually and mentally (physically, I’m still praying for that. A few more inches of height and another 20 pounds would be great blessings). My love for this gospel and my Savior and my faith and testimony have all skyrocketed.

My increased spirituality has given me a richer perspective on Natal (Christmas) and this season of commemoration of our Savior’s birth. (Wow it’s hard to write in English right now). That the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s was born in a simple manger is history’s greatest example of humility, which we all can and should learn from. The angels singing good tidings to the shepherds of the fields, the wise men offering gifts fit for a King, and the great and bright star in heaven, shining with glorious brilliance testified that that night the Only Begotten Son of God was born.

Two millennia’s later, we feel the Spirit of God witnessing of the truthfulness and miracle of the birth of our Savior as we read the writings of the New Testament and ponder on the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ. How awesome it would have been to kneel by that manger for 5 minutes! Christmas is like Thanksgiving, a holiday of gratitude, but with all of our thanks and praise focused on our most beloved blessing.

Today I finished a week-long study of Isaiah 53—the prophecy/description/tribute of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He truly descended to the lowest depths of pain, suffering, and sin, ultimately to death, so that he could be filled with mercy and serve as our infinite intercessor to the Father. I stand all amazed that He did that for me, and for all of us. He knows us. He loves us. He gave His life for us. We are eternally indebted to Him (Mosiah 2:20-21) and should never cease to give thanks and praise. How overwhelmingly grateful I am for my Savior and for this season of reflection on and gratitude for His life!

Friday we had our atividade de Natal! It was way fun! President and Sis. Kuceki were there with most of their family, and so were all the missionaries from Zones Uberlandia and Uberaba, about 40 of us. We sang, watched some videos about Christs’ birth, heard messages by President and Sis. Kuceki, watched a video of pictures of all the missionaries made especially for Natal, ate a great lunch, watched talks given by Elder’s Aidukatis and Costa of the Seventy, ate a ton of ice cream, talked for a while, had a white elephant gift exchange, and had a talent show (in which I played the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean which only went ok because the piano was messed up and it’s been half a year since I’ve seen that sheet music, but it was good anyway haha). Spending time with other missionaries is way fun because regardless of national, racial, character, or personality, or any other kind of difference, we’re all here for the same great purpose—bringing people to Christ. I love this mission!

I’m missing Christmas time at home, but I would rather be here! I wish you all a Feliz Natal from down under! I can’t wait for Christmas and for SKYPING YOU GUYS! It’s going to be great! Until then,

Elder Anderson

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