Monday, December 26, 2016

December 26,1016

This one I'll keep relatively short given that you got 40 full minutes of face time with me yesterday! The rest of Sunday was really fun, I got to conduct our Christmas sacrament meeting, and it went very well.  The talks were well done, and the Spirit was strong.  After my companion talked to his family we went to visit one of the бабушки because no one should be alone on Christmas.  It was a very nice meeting, and we've been working with her for a while, trying to help her and answer her questions, so whereas we had a Christmas message prepared, we ended up talking about the fact that God is Our Loving Heavenly Father, because that is what she needed to hear.  It was really fun.  Also, as an update from the Christmas party, that was really fun.  I can know say that I was Дед Мороз two years running on the mission.  I have the big, jolly nature, but unfortunately (or fortunately) I've lost the пузо so we've had a pretty potbelly-less Дед Мороз.  It was really fun, and as I told you, there were about 12 kids, when usually only about 2 come on a regular basis, it was so much fun seeing the spiritual atmosphere that the children bring with them.  

I'll just wrap it up with a couple of thoughts about the reason for the season.  My favorite account of the Christmas story is in Luke 2.  This is the record of the angels visit to the shepherds and their subsequent visit to see the newborn babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  When the angel came to visit the shepherds, he said the following: "10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

The good tidings of great joy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Without Christmas, or in other words, the birth of Christ, there would be no Easter, or the Resurrection of Christ.  Christ came to save all people, and to share these good tidings of great joy.  The Gospel is such a blessing in my life, and I'm grateful for this special time in my life, to share this message which shall be unto all people.  In Russia, the only difference is that we don't stop people on the street to share a message about Christ, but that's the only difference.  The opportunities to testify of Christ and the peace that knowledge of his Gospel are still many.  I encourage all of you to think about how you can adopt the Russian way of sharing the Gospel into your lives, because I'm sure none of you want to start stopping random people on the streets.  As you look for opportunities to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15) you can find those oppportunities, and help others find the same hope.  

I love you all so much, I hope you have a great Christmas Season!  And a Happy New Year!  I'll talk to you all next year!


Elder Belnap 

A couple of pictures Caroline took of me while we skyped.  Love you!

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