Thursday, December 4, 2014

Teach The Children And Share The Gift

Tortillas for the week: 25

This week was crazy! First of all I am now in a trio, our new companion is Elder Fachin. He is from Peru. All my comps have been from Peru or Honduras, which is just unbelievable. It is funny to see the difference in the words. A use of a word that is bad in Peru or Honduras is perfectly fine here in Guatemala. So many things have different names in Peru and Honduras. There are times when it is so confusing especially now that I’m serving with a Peruvian and a Honduran. Enough of that, let’s get to the rest of the week. Last night I was able to see a friend from Santa Ana, Alexis. We are super close, so it was great to see him. He was visiting with family who are members of our ward. It is crazy to think of all the connections people have and we don’t even realize it until a random visit takes place.

This week we also did splits. It was crazy because my comp was going with someone from the ward and there wasn’t another person for me to go with. A returned missionary from San Antonio was in Huehue for some kind of returned missionary conference so I called him to go with me. Now that was a tender mercy. It was good to see him (Lacho) but the experience we had at an appointment was even better. We went to visit with a less active member and are focus was on the temple. I shared a very personal experience, I did not have any intention in sharing this personal experience but I was prompted to so, so I acted upon the spirit and shared my personal experience. Then Lacho shared such an amazing analogy about the temple. (I just love this analogy) He explained that the temple is home; our homes are not in San Antonio or Huehue or in another country. Our home is the temple, for it is the house of the Lord.  As Elder Gary E. Stevenson shared, “The temple will provide direction for you and your family in a world filled with chaos. It is an eternal guidepost which will help you from getting lost in the ‘mist of darkness.’ It is the house of the Lord. It is a place where covenants are made and eternal ordinances are performed” When people ask, “Hey elder Mcilmoil are you baggy (trunky) my answer is yes, because I can’t go home (to the temple) whenever I want. I can only go home (to the temple) every 6 months. So ye I am beyond baggy. I just want to go home (to the temple) to feel my Heavenly Father’s love and to feel the eternal love of my family.

I love December not because mi cumpleaƱos (my birthday) is in 28 days (jajaja/hahaha). I love December because it is CHRISTmas. I just love Christmas; it is a time of giving and it is a time to truly remember Christ. He was the first gift and He is the only gift that means everything. I remember the two Christmases that changed me; the Christmas I spent at the Huntsman Cancer Institute/Hospital with Gramma and my first Christmas in Chichi. Before those two Christmases I was blinded by all the gifts, the toys, lights, stores, all the things of the world. I never focused on the true meaning on Christmas which is CHRIST. I know Christmas is Christ. So many people say Christ is Christmas but then they go about buying way to many gifts and worrying about what we are going to eat on Christmas day or who is coming or anything that takes their heart and thoughts away for the true meaning of Christmas. We truly don’t take time to slow down and teach the children:

“Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room, and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree. He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out.
"What are you doing?" I started to ask him.
The words choked in my throat, as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement, “TEACH THE CHILDREN!” I was puzzled:
What did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there bewildered, Santa said, “Teach the Children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that a now-a-day Christmas has forgotten!”
Santa reached into his bag, pulled out a tiny FIR TREE, and placed it on the mantle. “Teach the Children that the stately fir tree remains green all year round, showing the everlasting hope of mankind. The needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of our prayers that always reach God.”
Next, Santa pulled a CANDLE from his bag. “Teach the Children that the candle symbolizes that Jesus, God’s Son, is the light of the world. When we see this light remember the One who overcomes the darkness.”
Once again he reached into his bag and then removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. “Teach the Children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection.”
Santa then pulled from his bag an ornament of HIMSELF. “Teach the Children that Santa Claus symbolizes the generosity and good will we show to others because God has given us His very special Son. Don’t forget to tell the Children that Saint Nicolas was not part of the first Christmas in Bethlehem.”
He reached in again and pulled out a HOLLY LEAF. “Teach the Children the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent blood shed by Him.”
Santa reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. “Teach the Children that the candy cane represents the shepherd's crook. The crook on the shepherd's staff helps bring back strayed sheep from the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper.”
He reached in again and removed a delicate ANGEL and lifted it to the very top of the tree. “Teach the Children that angels shouted the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. These heavenly messengers sang ‘Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good will to everyone on earth!’”
Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL. “Teach the Children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of a bell, it should bring people to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.”
Finally, Santa pulled out a beautifully wrapped GIFT. He said, “Teach the Children that God deeply loves people, so He gave them His most precious gift—Jesus, His only Son. When the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, they bowed before the Child and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We should give gifts in the same spirit as the wise men."
Then Santa paused. He stared at the tree and seemed to be pleased. I saw that the twinkle had returned to his eyes. He turned, looked at me, and smiled. Santa offered these final words, “Remember to teach the Children the true meaning of Christmas. Please don’t put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant. Jesus Christ is the real reason for the Christmas season.”

Let us take time to teach ourselves and our children the real reason for Christmas. Let us take time and slow down and remember what the first gift of Christmas was, it wasn’t wrapped, and it wasn’t a toy, or bought in a store, it wasn’t a card, or cookies with a glass of milk for Santa, it was a gift of love, hope, light, and truth. It was the priceless gift from our loving Heavenly Father. This gift was in bundle of clothes and was given to us in the poorest of conditions, the gift is Christ. The gift of Christ tells us everything will be ok in our hours of despair, for He is our Savior and Redeemer. Christ is the gift of eternal life. We must always remember and never forget, HE IS THE GIFT. We as missionaries have been asked as everyone has been asked to share He is The Gift. We are sharing the gift by handing out cards and we also are going into homes and watching with people He is The Gift.

I love Christmas because it is all about Christ. And I love sharing The Gift. I have learned through my studies the three wise men were on the Lord’s errand to find the Son of God and give to Him gifts. President Monson shared this thought, “When we find him, will we be prepared as were the wise men of old to provide gifts from our many treasures? They presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These are not the gifts Jesus asks of us. From the treasure of our hearts Jesus asks that we give of ourselves: ‘Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” May we give the most precious gifts, our heart and a willing mind to serve others. This Christmas season and every day let us reach out and serve, teach and help others to discover and embrace The Gift. How will you share The Gift with others this Christmas?

I will admit this week I haven’t been the most focused missionary; I had to find myself again through my Savior’s love and by sharing The Gift.

What I love about Mom is that she still does my days of Christmas and what I love about Dad is that he would make me wait on Christmas mornings before I could come see what was under the tree.

con amor, ducks forever,
Elder Mcilmoil
December 1, 2014

Scriptures of the week: Mosiah 4:11–12, 19, 20, 26.

“Rich or poor, we are to 'do what we can' when others are in need.’” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case?” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Let us believe in the magic of Christmas again

“The simplicity of that first Christmas foreshadowed the life of the Savior.” President Uchtdorf 


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