So... there are some amazing people in the world. Such strong faith. Eddy and Reiki (Villa's siblings we met last week) are amazing young men, who really just desire to do what is right and do what God wants them to and become closer to Christ. I'm humbled again and again at the jewels that we meet--people full of goodness. Last night we had a lesson with them about the Restoration more in depth, and I was touched by their sincerity. Eddy asked us sincereily what faith is, inquired about prayer, Reiki about when he was younger he felt like he'd rather hang out with friends than go to church but now that's changing and he's feeling that following Jesus Christ is the most important thing for him. These boys are examples to me--I wish you could meet them!!--of having the heart of a child, even though they're 21 and 15 years old (and live on their own). They are so sincere and submissive and meek and open and desiring what is good. After this lesson on the bus ride home I felt that my heart and mind were filled with the things of Heaven. "Of such is the Kingdom of God." It's so true. The qualities of a child are so much the same as the qualities of the Savior. We need to grow in wisdom as we have learning experiences, and have the minds of adults, but our hearts need to remain pure as a child's. And it's totally possible. Those are what the people in Heaven are going to be like.
This week I have been working on/focusing on loving the people more. Yesterday I found this quote from Joseph Smith: "A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." I also love 2 Nephi 26:33 - "He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female ; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." Another quote that's been on my mind is from O Holy Night. My favorite line, probably, is "Chains will He break, for the slave is our brother."
Before my mission I never realized the depth of this truth (actually I'm still learning and will continue…). All people truly are children of our Heavenly Father, endowed with divine attributes and given the precious and powerful gift of agency. God really does shine his sunlight on both the good and the evil. As followers of Christ, it's our responsibility to love everyone, EVERYone. In the Bible it's explained how even wicked people love those that love them, but it takes spiritual strength and a truly good heart to love those that do not love you or treat you well. That is true Christianity. Definitely working on that one. To me it is one of the most noble things: to love purely, with your entire heart, someone who is difficult to love/does not reciprocate. We need God's divine help to get to that place but it is more than possible.
I'm so grateful for Christmas and this time to reflect on the reality of the Savior and Redeemer of the world. It's the most powerful thing. Reflecting on His life and what it means for me, and also reflecting on generosity and how to spread His love to those around me. Christmas is incredible. It's a time of prayer, generosity, forgiveness, love, family, sacrifice, and the Spirit of God. I hope that your faith and testimony of our Savior deepens and grows as Christmas comes nearer.
P.S. If you are in a place that has snow, will you play in it for me?