Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas letter from Elder Powell

I’ve been looking forward to receiving this letter from Justin—his first Christmas letter home. I wrote him a couple of weeks ago and told him that I was jealous of him because he would be, for the first time in his life, celebrating a Christmas that was solely focused on the Christ and not on presents or other commercialized items. I asked him to pay attention to his feelings surrounding the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of the Savior and that if he did this, he would certainly not be homesick.  We should all be so lucky to be able to ignore the shopping and the sales and concentrate on things like charity, gratitude, service and love. I can tell, in his letter, that he did not disappoint and that he is getting it—getting what the true meaning of Christmas really is.  Hope you enjoy the letter and please remember that you can leave comments and if you could, I know that at the end, Justin will really appreciate it.  Merry Christmas to you all and may we all remember that celebrating this holiday isn’t supposed to be about what we get, but what we give. Peace and love to all of you.

Hola Familia y Amigos,
How are you all doing? Well I'm doing pretty well. Just pretty much another week already flown by! Now I have 3 more weeks in the MTC and then off to Mexico I go! Well the Spanish is definitely coming along very well and I am learning more and more each day. On Tuesday we were privileged to hear from Sister and Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. They were both really great and had such great messages about this Christmas season. They talked about there are times in life when we can't really give the best of gifts back to people like how I want to get a great gift for you guys, and I can't really do that because I am out here. But what I and you could do is receive well. If you have gratitude and show much appreciation, that may be enough of a gift to the giver. And now that makes me feel better about what I can give back to my family/friends. So I just want to say thank you for the sacrifice and help for me getting here to the mission. I am truly grateful for all of the support from all of you that I have been receiving here in the mission and I truly love each one of you and wish you the best Merry Charismas! I wouldn't be the person that I am now if it really wasn't for you guys, and all that you have given me to this point is truly the best gift that I could receive. I'm very appreciative.
Now I realize that God works the same way. We are so blessed with all that we have and all we have to do is show gratitude and serve our fellow man. That is how we can give back to God for all that he has given us and that's exactly what Christ wants just as well, for his sacrifice that he has done for us. How great it is to give thanks by simply showing true gratitude and following Christ's example. And out in the mission field, we will be dedicating 100% to just people and all we ask in return is that they progress. And I know that when I see people progressing or when they become happier because of my service to them, I will be happy because that's how I want them to give back to me. So focus on the giving portion this Christmas and not about what you will receive because I promise that you will be truly happier when you give and then receiving the gift of gratitude towards you. That is a greater feeling to me than getting the nicest gift. And I know it will be for anyone because of all the blessings you will receive along with happiness.
I'm positive a General Authority is coming this Christmas and speaking. It will be very neat to be here to listen to him and his wife.
Here at the MTC, everyone on my floor is pretty much family. We are all kind to each other and it will be sad when many of them leave Monday. It was funny when 2 other missionaries and I wore fake mustaches around the MTC and people thought it was the funniest thing. I've got pictures so I'll mail the card home right after Christmas. I don't know how to upload it on the computer because everything is blocked. But it will come soon and then if you could mail it back before I leave so we can do a card swap like every some period of time.
I heard some crazy news happened like the leader of N. Korea passing away and The Hobbit is coming out December! Wow crazy! And Chris Paul traded to the Clippers and Kobe divorcing his wife. And my Broncos are doing well! Where are the Utes going for the bowl game? (GO UTES!!)
Well I am pretty much out of time but I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and I'll be on again to wish you all a Happy New Year. Sadly I won't be able to call home on Christmas but I'm pretty sure I can at the airport. I'll let you know how it goes. Merry Christmas and I love you all. Thank you again so much for all the support and you all are truly inspiring to me. Best of luck in whatever and time is already flying here so it won't be too much longer until I see you again! Almost 1/12 of the way done! But I can't wait to get away from this food and to the Mexican food! I haven't gained any weight here but seriously, it doesn't feel right eating like this for 2 months... Alright I'm now out of time!
Merry Christmas!         

Elder Justin Powell 


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