December 28, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

 

Christmas has gone and passed and soon new years will be on its way. This past week has been a real eye opener for me. Being out here in the mission has taught me more than I thought it even could in a years time. I have fallen down many times, been rejected, lost hope, and missed home more times than I can count this past year. But even more than all that, I have been lifted up, found faith, been blessed, and have been led to the greatest and most powerful blessings I have ever been able to find in my life thus far.

 This past Christmas was a little different for me. It was wonderful to see some familiar faces. Everyone has grown up so fast. I guess I am not one of the older kids anymore. Seeing the family again really brought me to a quiet and simple understanding of my purpose here in the mission and in my life in general. This gospel exists to bring families together, to unite them for the eternities and allow them the chance at true happiness. I am glad that I could remember that this holiday season. Seeing Mom and Dad and Josh and Joy Joy was something of a miracle, and for once I think I finally told my family how much they mean to me. I think now on the people that we are teaching. Sometimes I make the mistake and forget that they are more than just another baptism waiting to happen. They are families, people who want and need their chance at eternal happiness, and this Christmas, my only hope is that I did enough as the Lords missionary to allow them that chance.

 The day of Christmas wasn’t anything too exciting. We baked cookies with a member family, shared some scriptures, sang hymns, and enjoyed some good company. It wasn’t anything like a Filipino Karaoke party, but it was nice. When I got home that night, I thought back on my labors this past year and made the resolution to my Heavenly Father that this next year I would give it my all. 

 Being a missionary is the best choice I made in 2015. I hope that 2016 will bring even more blessings.

 I think to wrap up this letter I would like to share my testimony. Its a testimony that I have been working on since day 1 of my mission, and I think I have come quite far. I witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that he is the greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has given us. He came to Earth in the most humblest of circumstances, was rejected, raised up on the cross, laid in a tomb, and on the third day he rose again. To this day that tomb is empty, for He lives. I know he cares about each and every one of us, and for that cause his true and living church exists today. Through obedience to the Gospel, all humankind can find a happiness and peace that the world simply cannot offer. It is a happiness and peace that only can be found in the exalted kingdoms of our Heavenly Father, the same kingdoms that we will someday be able to inherit if we are faithful. I know that this is the true Church, I have seen it, felt it, and experienced it time and time again and there is no doubt in my mind that the work that has been appointed to me comes from God. The Book of Mormon is true, there are prophets and apostles that walk among us today, and each and every one of us has a divine potential to achieve more than we think is possible. Of this I bear testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 Elder Cruz

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