Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 4 Christmas in the MTC

Mom added me to the Christmas Tree this year!

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year!!

This week has probably been my favorite so far. I learned so incredibly much about Jesus Christ and this Gospel.

Last Saturday, one of the Elders decided to go home from our Branch. He had only been out a few days. It was so hard on the Branch, but everyone grew closer together because we had a Testimony Meeting about why we're here and the reason we came on this Mission. It was especially tough for his companion, but he has been so strong and continued to work hard.

I was called to be the District Leader on Sunday! I am very excited to serve, I love my District and we work very well together. We are working hard on Spanish and learning the Gospel, and things are coming along very well.

Tuesday Night we had the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Gary E Stephenson speak to us. It was amazing, he talked about the wonderful gifts we as missionaries, and we as members of the Church, have the opportunity to receive and to give. He focused on The Gift of Jesus Christ, The Gift of the Spirit, and The Gift of the Restoration of the Gospel.

"I love you so much, Have a great week!"

I sent Chandler a Nativity Set that he could open
 one piece each night for the 12 nights leading up to Christmas.

Christmas was an amazing experience here in the MTC. Wednesday we got to watch a Live Nativity for Christmas Eve, and on Christmas we had Russell M Nelson come speak to us. He is one of the greatest speakers I've ever heard. He talked about 9 different aspects of the Doctrine of Christ. He talked about everything you can imagine: The Godhead, The Atonement, The Plan of Salvation. Overall, what hit me the most throughout these amazing subjects was the fact that the people we are going to be teaching have never heard of these things! They don't have the Plan of Happiness like we have, they don't know what it is. How lucky I am to get to teach them these wonderful aspects of the Gospel.

I learned so many things about Jesus Christ this week. We watched a short video that relates The Atonement and Missionary Work. I loved it, it talked about how many Missionaries wonder why they can't get everyone to be baptized. Why it is always so hard. Jeffrey R Holland said: "Why would it be easy for us when it was NEVER easy for Jesus Christ? How could we truly understand the Atonement if we have never felt hardship? A mission helps us feel a little bit like Christ, a tiny tiny bit. We are not the first to ask: 'Why is this hard?' Jesus said this to his father, ''Father, isn't there any other way?' As missionaries, you do not have an entirely easy way either, but the Atonement will carry you." I love this. Through Missionary Work, we get to be in the shoes of the Lord. How much easier it will be for me to teach the Atonement when I've been rejected, I've felt a very small part of what the Savior felt!!

Brother & Sister Parrish from our Home Ward 
serve at the MTC & saw Chandler on Christmas Day!
One story of the Savior that stuck out to me is the one about "Feed my Sheep." It's where Peter decides, after the death of Jesus, to go back to his life of fishing. Eventually, Jesus shows up on the shore and Peter jumps out of the boat and swims to him. This moment was the most important of Peter's life. He made the decision to finally devote his life to the Lord and the work of a mission. The Lord repeatedly asked him "Peter, do you love me?" We watched an amazing talk by Jeffrey R Holland entitled "The First Great Commandment." He talks all about this.  My favorite part is when Jeffrey R Holland explains what he pictures the conversation as: "Peter, do you love me? Then why are we here on the same shore, having the same conversation? I need someone to be a disciple, I need someone who loves me, who will feed my sheep. I do not need fish.  So, Peter, leave this and testify of me and my work. Did you think this work would be killed because I was killed?" I love this so much. How often do we say that we love Christ, but then continue in our worldly ways? How often are we having the same conversation with the Lord that we've had before? We have to leave the fishing and join the work of the Lord. I love that about the Savior.  His work is always ongoing. I know that I am on a mission for that exact reason: to leave my fishing boat and come be a Missionary for him. I bear testimony of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Have a great week!
- Elder Leavitt

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