(With love, from Hermana DeBuck, tu hija, hermana, y nieta)
Well, it's Christmas Eve. And it really just feel like another day in the life. Which I think is a good thing actually.
So Sister Griffin invited all the missionaries to write their testimony of the Savior today and gave us permission to send it to our families via email. I was able to spend an hour and a half or so studying the New Testament and a talk by Elder McConkie entitled "The Seven Christs". In the New Testament, I decided to mark in red all of the things that were manifestations of the love of God. And it was really cool to pay attention to the things Christ did just because of His love. He was Himself a walking manifestation of the love of God. And He gave so much of Himself early in His ministry to bless the lives of other people. I suppose I've always "known" that, but I wanted to truly know and feel that; that was what I asked for in prayer when I began studying this evening. And it's not like I had some marvelous vision or anything, but I think I feel it more. It's hard to know exactly how Christ said the things we read in the scriptures, but trying to hear Him say it helped me feel His love a little bit more.
I read the verse that says "by their fruits ye shall know them", and while He was talking about prophets, it also applies to Him. I know that Christ loves me because of His fruits in my life. I know I've felt the Spirit comfort me when I was trying to hide myself away from the world. I know He's answered my prayers and questions through thoughts mostly, sometimes through feelings, and on the rare occasion through some physical manifestation. I KNOW that God is there, even though I've never seen Him. And I will always know that. I know that Jesus of Nazareth is in fact the Son of the Living God. He is the Christ, the Messiah. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, of whom all the prophets have testified. I know it, and I know that God knows that I know it. I cannot and I will not deny it.
I know that He loves me and has a plan for me, just for me. I know that He will provide a way to overcome every trial, test, or obstacle. I've learned as well that although He will always provide a way to overcome, He will never force me to take that route. He loves me enough to le tme make mistakes so that I can learn and grow. And no matter what choices I make, He will always be there for me, waiting for me to turn to Him. Although He volunteered to be our Savior--my Savior--and He gave His life willingly, we must still choose to accept Him. And the way to accept Christ is by keeping His commandments (John 14:15). I know He loves me, and I know I love Him, so I will keep His commandments--one of which is to repent. I love that commandment in particular and I am so grateful that He made it possible to keep every single commandment, bit by bit. I know He's helping me to reach my potential every day because He wants me to become like Him and to return to live with Him, Heavenly Father, and my family forever in the celestial kingdom--He wants that for all of us.
I know all of this is true. I feel it in my heart and the Spirit confirms to my spirit that they are true. And I know that this knowledge isn't unique to me; any person on the earth, any child of God, can come to know that all this--and much more--is true. If they will but ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, and faith in Christ, they can know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:3-5).
I love the Lord. I know that He loves us. And because He loves us, He has restored His Gospel to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that because He loves us, He has called a prophet in this very day. His name is Thomas S. Monson. I know that because Christ loves us, He has brought forth the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ so that we may know of the covenants of the Father, and know that we are not cast off forever. I know that God is literally our Father and He has provided the way for us to return to Him, through His Only Begotten Son, even Jesus Christ.
This I declare in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.