Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 14, 2014 He is the Gift

First things first. A great big thank you goes out to my wonderful parents who sent a super awesome birthday/Christmas package that managed to get to me right on my birthday! Thank you also to everyone that sent letters! I love you guys! I set up the Christmas tree right away and put it on a little box to make it taller. Then I put the nativity you sent in front and placed pictures of Christ all around. I love Christmas time! Unfortunately, the box I packed last year with all the ornaments and decorations you sent disappeared... I probably forgot it somewhere :P Thanks for making the Christmas season a little more Christmas-y!

Elder Child was actually talking about that just the other day. It's not very Christmas-y around here. There's actually pretty much nothing to remind us of Christmas outside of our homes. Most of the people around here know that Christmas exists but that's pretty much it. It's kind of like how you see "Boxing Day (Canada)'' on your calendar every year and you know like basically when it is and that someone is celebrating it in Canada but you don't really know or, frankly, care what they're doing to celebrate it or even why they're celebrating. It is cold though. You know, relatively cold. It gets down to like 65 degrees at night sometimes. All those people sleeping outside at nights could get a cold...

Speaking of cold, Elder Nheom has been playfully complaining that we have turned the bedroom into Utah. It stays a chill 17 degrees C in our room at night. I'm cold too but there are 5 in our bedroom and they've out voted us.

A member of our congregation was speaking in church yesterday.  He is a recent convert to the church who has absolutely no Christian background. In fact, he constantly turns to us when he is teaching to check if what he is saying is doctrinally or scripturally correct. That's one of the difficulties with a lay ministry in a third-world Buddhist country, but we deal with it.

Anyway, he was speaking up at the front of the congregation and he wanted to share a scripture. "Now I'm going to turn to [Luke] chapter 3 and share a scripture" he said. " Yes chapter 3..." He had his scriptures out and was poring through them but couldn't seem to find the verse he was looking for. Embarrassed he cleared his throat and said, "Well, I can't find that verse but it goes a little something like this.." and then he paused. As he paused and the congregation waited his wife stood up from the pew behind me and called out to her husband, "I found it! It's verse 16-17!" He looked at her and mouthed "16-17?" which she replied to audibly. Then he shared the scripture. I love it when everyone is so involved in the learning process. :P

In a couple of recent lessons about Christmas I have asked the question, "Does anyone know why we give gifts at Christmas?" That's a fun little question and there are probably lots of cool historical answers to that, but maybe the most basic answer is found in Matthew chapter 2. Wise men, magi, came from the east to worship the Christ child and bring him gifts. We follow that tradition and give gifts to our loved ones.

I love both giving and getting gifts and it's a really fun part of Christmas, but as we all know, it's not really the point. The greatest gift to be had at Christmas time is the gift of Christ. It is a time to be grateful and a time to remember the greatest gift ever given, from a loving Heavenly Father to all of His children.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)"

Merry Christmas!
Elder Vore

                                                               Santa at the Christmas Party


                                       Pictures with Church Members

We were heading out to a small group of members in an area far away called Chuu Dtial when we stopped to talk to some people. Afterward we realized that we had stopped in a really pretty place and took some pictures.

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