Monday, December 21, 2015

I Know

Hey everyone!!!! Guess what?!? Merry Christmas! Holy cow I can't believe it's already that time!
      This week was just another typical week. We've been working our guts out trying to find and teach. We've been teaching more lessons than we ever have, spreading the message of Christ this Christmas season, but have had very little luck. We know that we're planting seeds, and as we can keep doing so, we'll find those who are prepared. We'll keep working and know that someone will accept the gospel!
      With Christmas in only four days, my mind is strictly on teaching and testifying of Jesus Christ. This is the best time to be a missionary and give witness of Christ and how He truly is the gift. It's been the hardest Christmas, but so incredible as I feel, for the first time in my life, I'm centered on Jesus Christ. I haven't always been like this though.
      A few years ago, I reluctantly agreed to go on our Stake Youth Conference. I had never been to one, and truthfully, I didn't even really want to go. My sister had just left on her mission, we had just been sealed as a family, and I felt so in tune with the spirit. Even then, I didn't want to go. However, thankful to church leaders, they convinced me to go, and I had an experience that truly changed my perspective of Jesus Christ.
      I walked into the Visitor's Center in Salt Lake City, and beheld the statue of Jesus Christ standing before me. It's truly breathtaking. I thought it was pretty cool, but I didn't understand it. It wasn't until an older man came up the ramp and entered into the room, being pushed in a wheelchair, and came right next to me. The man looked at the statue in awe, and began to weep. I looked at the man thinking, "Why are you crying? There's nothing to cry about here?" It got me thinking of the question, "Why do people cry when they think of the Savior?" Nearly three years later, I realize that the man sitting beside me knew Jesus Christ. He knew of His sacrifice, His love, and His mercy. I didn't. I simply knew of Jesus Christ, but I didn't know Him as I do now.
      I've went through three phrases in my life to get to where I am right now. The first phase is "No." I don't want to go to church, I don't want to go to seminary, I don't want to go to young men's. No, no, no. I had very little to do with the gospel. I knew it was right, but wouldn't act on the knowledge I had. Finally, as a sophomore, when my family was sealed, I baptized my younger sister, and sent Whit off to Peru, my phase then turned to, "Please Father, let me know." I needed to know if it was true. I began to read, to study, and to ponder the gospel. I read the Book of Mormon, and knew it was the word of God. The gospel began to grow within my heart. One thing led to another, and I built, precept upon precept, until somehow, I found myself here in Korea when the phase instantly turned to, "I Know." It took me years to come to know this gospel is true, and it all started with an older man, weeping at the feet of Jesus Christ. Like that man, I now can't think of my Savior without wanting to weep.
      This Christmas, I pray that we'll all come to know Jesus Christ. One day, we'll all stand before our Savior, and metaphorically, stand at the feet of that same statue in Salt Lake City. When that day comes, I will kneel at the feet of my Savior, and wet His feet with my tears. I will not know any more surely then, than I do now, that Jesus is the Christ. He is the literal Son of God who paid the price for each one of us. How grateful I am that this Christmas, I finally know Jesus Christ.
      I'm so grateful to be a missionary in Korea at this time. I'm so happy to be serving. Despite this Christmas not really being Christmas at all, I've come to love each and every day. It's truly such a blessing and opportunity of a lifetime that I cherish.
      I love all of you. I've received so many emails and letters and I can't thank you enough! I have the greatest support and I'm truly blessed with such incredible people in my life. The power behind me from home is felt each and every day and I'm eternally grateful for every single one of you. I wish you all a Merry Christmas! I love you all and will never be able to thank you enough.

Elder Roper

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