"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou
dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
-Joshua 1:9

Monday, December 8, 2014

The true meaning of Christmas

Hey there familia and friends, I hope that you guys are doing great and enjoying the Christmas season. What ta great time of year it is and the time that we really reflect on what this time of year is all about. So this week was just another super duper fast week where I really don’t know where the time went. Well what do I have for ya’ll? We had a stake conference meeting this week so everyone was working hard so we could pack the house, and we did, so that was a success. It was all centered on giving and what this time of year really means to so many. I am so thankful to be serving at this time of year and where I am... This Christmas seams so much different than my last... my area here has a lot more money and it seems just a lot different than my last. It’s more centered on buying and all and last year it just had a different feel, but we are doing the best to try and help everyone understand the true meaning of Christmas. I love this time of year and really have had such a great time during my mission finding out what really matters in life and the things that will carry us during times of difficulty and times of many blessings and abundance. I love this time of year and learning more about our Savior and our Redeemer and trying to be the best Elder Mariano Long that I can be. Christmas time is the best, familia time together, no better thing than to be with your family.

I am so happy that I am here with my brothers and sisters here in Honduras... I love them so much and am going to miss them. I am making the most of it every day with them because I just love it here and the time that I have every day with the most loving and humble people on this earth. I want you each to give a little more this Christmas season. Serve others. Be there for others, doing something that’s not expected. Give it your all every day. I just want people to serve each other this Christmas season. Serving others brings a joy that nothing else can bring... What gift are you going to give back this year to the Lord, We cannot buy him a gift and send it to him, but what are we going to do for ourselves to grow closer to Him or help another person draw closer to our Savior. What gift are you going to give this year? What are you going to change or do better?  I want to share a few things for you guys to read or watch. Listen, read and ponder and make a change. I promise you that we each can do something better this holiday season, what can we give back to the Lord?? 

I want to share this link for all of you to take a minute and watch this great video. ENJOY!!

Getting Ready for Christmas by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf; Second Counselor in the First Presidency
From “Seeing Christmas through New Eyes,” 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional (December 5, 2010).

As an old tradition, our family has always celebrated the Advent of Christmas. Starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, we would get together on Sunday afternoons, light wax candles on a pine Advent wreath, enjoy delicious homemade cookies, and read passages of scriptures that center on the Christ.
We read accounts of ancient prophets who yearned for the coming of the Messiah. We read scriptures that proclaim the wondrous story of His birth. Each week by singing beautiful Christmas songs and having a fun time together, our family tried to refocus on the true meaning of the season. I must admit that delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and tasty homemade cookies helped a lot to catch the joyful feeling of the Christmas season!
While celebrating the Advent of Christmas is not part of all cultures around the globe, there is something we can learn from this widespread Christian tradition. Perhaps even this year we might carve from our busy schedules some time to study and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas—personally and as families.
When we prepare for Christmas by pondering its real meaning, we prepare to experience the Christ and His message. May I suggest three things we may want to study, ponder, and apply in this season of preparation.
First, rejoice in the birth of our Savior.
Second, ponder His influence in our lives today.
Third, look steadfastly for His coming.
I pray that each and every one of you will have a wonderful and merry Christmas season.
The word Advent means “the coming of Christ.” In Germany, where President Uchtdorf grew up, many families celebrate Advent for four weeks before Christmas.

Remembering Christ
President Uchtdorf’s family used a pine wreath as part of their holiday tradition. You can make a wreath to help you remember what you learn about Jesus Christ this Christmas season. Cut the center out of a paper plate, turn it upside-down, and paint it green. Cut simple candle shapes out of colored cardstock. Fold about a half inch at the bottom of the candles. Choose some scripture stories about Jesus Christ to read as a family throughout the month. As you read each story, glue a candle to the wreath.

Here are some scripture stories to get started:
Jesus is born. (Luke 2:1–21)
Jesus calms the storm. (Mark 4:35–39)
Jesus feeds five thousand people. (Matthew 14:13–21)
Jesus teaches about the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25–37)
Jesus heals the ten lepers. (Luke 17:11–19)
Jesus atones for our sins in Gethsemane. (Luke 22:41–45)
Jesus appears to the Nephites in the Americas after His Resurrection. (3 Nephi 11:8–17)
Jesus teaches the Nephites about the sacrament. (3 Nephi 18:1–12)

Rejoice, Ponder, and Look Forward

President Uchtdorf said we should rejoice in Jesus’s birth, ponder His influence in our lives, and look forward to His coming. How would you finish the sentences below?
Rejoice: “Knowing about Jesus Christ makes me happy because …”
Ponder: “When I remember what Jesus has done for me, I know that I can …”
Look forward: “I can look forward for the time when Jesus will come again by …”

This week we did a service project and cleaned a local park up, we went with the zone and it was a pretty good time. Tomorrow we have the mission Christmas party so that’s always a great time! We have a Samoan in our zone and were going to do a traditional dance called the HAKA that’s like super famous with the rugby players so it’s going to be sick to say the least. Next week I’ll check and see if I can send the video. So yea, that’s about it for that. 

Asking about changes, we don’t have like a meeting anymore we just find out where we are going and coordinate with them, we don’t all come together anymore and all. So that’s a new change that you had asked about mom. It’s not a big deal it just doesn’t give one the opportunity to see everyone at changes.

Other than that we are just working like crazy... running with our heads cut off trying to teach a lot and find people and help them know what this time of year is all about. Thanks for all the love and support ustedes son muy amables! Gracias por todo! no sabe how much it means to me! Thanks for everything! Thanks for all the birthday wishes, you guys are da bomb!!! 

Aim high in all that you do and put your best foot forward every day! 

Elder Long! 

enjoy the pics!!! 

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