A Merry Christmas From Elder Pierce

Michael asked that I post a link to a series of online videos.  It is an ongoing series (meaning every week or so another is added to the series) on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  It is titled Bible Videos.  I have posted the main link on the side bar - but for this week of Christmas - here is The Nativity.

The Nativity

Praying to Know

First - I hope that the new blog template will make it easier to post and to read. I was having problems with copying/pasting from Michael's letters - it would bring over odd formatting that changed the way the post would look.

Second - If you're looking for a great Christmas tradition - check out the Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Temple Visitor's Center.  http://dctemplelights.lds.org/  Jessica and I were there this week and seeing all the missionaries there made me think of our missionary.  The lights are amazing and there are musical performances every night.

Third - We had a great letter from Elder Pierce this week:

"I have been trying to focus all my study attention on the Book of Mormon. As a missionary I remember the statement by Joseph Smith where he said all the preachers understood the same passage of scripture so differently so to make an appeal to the Bible useless. But now we have the Book of Mormon. An appeal to the Bible alone is completely useless. An appeal to the Bible with the Book of Mormon doctrines supporting it is profound. Only with the Book of Mormon can the Bible be interpreted correctly. Well anyway the point is I've been reading from the Book of Mormon and once again had a new layer of respect for it. I've found beautiful meaning in passages and chapters I had previously trudged over without gleaning any fruits. Now I can finally recognize the fruit. And that happens throughout a person's whole life. There is never an end to the fruit you find in the Book of Mormon. There is always more. There is always another layer to explore.

What does 'praying to know' mean? It means that God speaks to us today; his work did not end with the New Testament contrary to popular belief because He's a hard working fellow and can't stand to sit around while people perish like some corrupt government official. So he called a new prophet just like in the old testament, Joseph Smith, and brought forth new scripture just like with prophets in the Bible: the most important of which was the Book of Mormon. If you want to know whether or not this stuff is baloney or if its the most important thing you ever heard, then read the Book of Mormon , ponder its message, and ask God whether or not its really His word along with the Bible. He'll tell you.

And now to let Jessica know how my week has been: it has been great! We had two appointments with member referrals: one with a 50 year old single mother who loves horses and the other with a 60 year old retired divorced patriotic engineer. The one with the single mother went a bit better than the engineer one. But it was super good to sit down with a member and teach a discussion to a person who person who knows why we're there and wants to listen to Gospel stuff. So that was a blessing. We'll see where it goes. We invited them both to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to know whether it is true. Also, I've had two opportunities to set up Christmas decorations, so I get double the traditional fun! One at a less active house where we set up the tree and struggled with the little toy train to get it to stay on the track. And one at a potential investigator's house. So it was really cool! Just super relaxing and a good opportunity. We also attended something big the stake has been working on: "Come to the Nativity", where they arrange over 600 little nativity scenes in the cultural hall, with live music in the chapel from different performers: it runs like an open house from 2 - 9 pm on Friday Saturday and Sunday. We were ushers on Friday for the art walk, where they have this hallway draped with curtains and hanging on the walls are all these pictures depicting the Savior's earthly ministry, and at the end of the hallway there's a separate room with a stone table cracked down the middle and a cloth folded neatly at one end. The Tomb. It was incredibly spiritual in there and we had a marvelous experience. We got a lot of people at that event. We were out handing out the invitations and inviting all of our investigators to it. It was a big community thing. Great missionary opportunity."

Scripture Testifies of Jesus Christ

Michael is doing well.  His time for letter writing is limited, but he wanted everyone to know that he is happy.  He asked that I post a particular scripture about Christ as we move into the Christmas Season.  It is from The Book of Mormon:  Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Mosiah 3:1-11 reads:

And again my brethren, I would call your attention, for I have somewhat more to speak unto you; for behold, I have things to tell you concerning that which is to come.
 And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angell from God. And he said unto me:  Awake; and I awoke, and behold he stood before me.
 And he said unto me: Awake, and hear the words which I shall tell thee; for behold, I am come to declare unto you the glad tidings of great joy.
 For the Lord hath heard thy prayers, and hath judged of thy righteousness, and hath sent me to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice; and that thou mayest declare unto thy people, that they may also be filled with joy.
 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
 10 And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.
 11 For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.