Merry Christmas:)! And I love you all so much.OH OH OH OH MY GOODNESS!!! It was so wonderful to talk to my family. Everyone who is reading this email is SOOOO lucky to know them:). I was so fullll of happiness. Haha literally, it was like exhausting. I went home and took my first nap since becoming a missionary, I was so worn out from joy. Thank you Jamie, Chris, Kayden, Trace, Brooks, Jed, Shan, Jonah, Josh, Jen, Presley, Landon, Jess, Zailey, Jordan, Haylie, Bethany, Momma and Daddy:). And the pleasant surprise of Emmalee and Brady and Mauri and Luana and Grandma and Grandpa! It was wonderful to see all of you and feel of your love:).
Well Christmas was certainly WONDERFUL. Everyone says mission Christmases are special and meaningful in a different way, and it is so true. I felt so much more gratitude, sincere gratitude, that I have a Savior, and that He DID come to earth, and that He came to earth to help me (and everyone) return to Heavenly Father, Who loves us and misses us so much. When the maximum decoration around the city of Roiet consists of one random shops with a ornament-less Christmas tree painted on its windows, it was easy to not focus on the commercialized Christmas (which is fun and pleasant and exciting, but which I'm grateful to have experience Christmas without it). It's been fun to ask people the past few days what they know about Christmas, and then to share the real meaning with them; but it's also been heartbreaking to hear a handful of them say that Christmas is just the way "farangs" (foreigners) celebrate the new year.
Nephi and the angel set it straight:Angel: "Knowest thou the condescension of God?"Nephi: "And I looked and beheld a virgin, bearing a child in her arms."Angel: "Behold the Lamb of God, yea even the Son of the Eternal Father....Behold the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore it is the most desirable above all things."We are so blessed and lucky and blessed to know this, the thing that is "most desirable above all things," the knowledge of the Savior. I've never realized, until this year, how powerful that meaning is: the Son of God, the Only One, chose to come to earth, to subject Himself to mortality, for us. It was indeed a very special and meaningful Christmas. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have spent it here.
I hope it was beautiful and perfect and filled with the Spirit for each of you:).
Love love LOVE LOVE LOVE,Sister Roper