Monday, December 19, 2016

Season of Christ

Hey everybody!
     It's been another great week here as Christmas just keeps coming closer and closer! Only a week left! Holy cow, can't believe it. This week has been full of the Christmas spirit, and the power of the Holy Ghost has been so strong as we've been talking with everyone about the Savior. This week I've been thinking a lot about recognizing the hand of God in my life, and how small and simple a touch of His hand can be. I would like to tell you about a few of the experiences I had of how the Savior has touched my life this week, and throughout this Christmas season. 
     This past week I had the opportunity to travel to my previous area, and do a companion exchange. It was a great opportunity for me to see the members, to see my recent converts, and to see people who I've dearly come to love. I got to meet a young man named Bryan who is from the Philippines. He took us to lunch, and spent the day with us. He's preparing to go to the temple, and his wonderful example of faith, despite hard circumstances was a touch of God's hand in my life this week, realizing how the gospel truly changes us. On that same exchange, another recent convert of mine, seventy years old, walked into the church and started yelling my name as loud as he could in his broken english. "Roper, Roper... where are you Roper??" We met in a big hug and got to spend the night teaching him, and preparing him for the priesthood. What a blessing it was for me.
One of the greatest examples I had this week of God touching my life was yesterday in sacrament meeting. I had to give a talk and was astounded as three of our investigators showed up to the meeting. I came down from my talk, and sat down, and just looked around the chapel. On my left, a young man, very poor, very humble, listening intently to the talks. His parents separated, no job, just praying to get into college, and has found his way into the LDS chapel. On my right, another of my investigators who is a rapper. At first glance many would wonder who he is, where he comes from, and why he's there, but as I looked at him, I saw a man willing to change, grow and try to be better. Yesterday it was a tender mercy from the Lord as he turned to me and said in his broken english, and like a rapper, "I love ya man." And lastly, my third investigator sitting with my companion on the other side of the room. I was speechless. How the gospel has changed their lives, opened their hearts, and changed who they are.
I know this Christmas season as we look for the small tender mercies of the Lord, we'll find them. Maybe it's in receiving, or maybe in giving. Maybe it's in things you've never recognized. But I know the only way to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas is to search for the hand of God in service to others. I know that as we do our best, He will manifest Himself to us. Not physically, but in feelings of peace, warmth, and comfort. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of God. I bear His name on my chest, right next to my heart. It is my humble prayer that we will let Him in during this final week. I know that as we do, the satisfaction of the Holy Ghost will enlighten our minds and souls with the pure and perfect love of God. May we always to drop the last syllable of Christmas, and make it the season for Christ. 
I love you all, and I am eternally grateful for all of you. With all my sincerity and love, I say thank you. Have a wonderful week, and I'll talk to you on Christmas Day.

Elder Roper

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