Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Talking to the Family Christmas Day

Talking to the Family Christmas Day
Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to go with our bishop and meet a family in our ward. They have lived here for five years, but never had any contact from the members. The mother was a member as a child, but has not been to church in over 20 years. They were so very surprised to have seen missionaries and the bishop at their tiny house located over a mile off into the woods on a dirt road. They didn't really know what to say, but bishop promised we would be back and we loved them.

Yesterday we did return. Only this time, we brought a choir of missionaries and several families from the ward. We brought a large Christmas dinner and a gift card and sang them some Christmas songs.
This was all very wonderful and we loved singing for them. However the miracle afterwards was amazing. They cast the gift card and the food off to the side like it was meaningless and came out asking if they could each get a priesthood blessing. They said they had never felt anything like that love before in their life. It was such a privilege to stand there in that circle and bless them. In that tiny field in the woods, all of us were put to silence by the overwhelming presence of the spirit and of God's love. That simple act of service and love changed the hearts of that family and it changed my heart.

As I reflect on the experience I am reminded of another humble and dark field beneath the stars long ago. As meek and lowly shepherds watched their sheep, angels appeared to them to announce the birth of our savior in a stable. It is truly wonderful that god does not care who we are or where we are from or what we have. All of us our his children and angels are all around each day. Being in the service of Jesus Christ, it is so easy and so wonderful to feel this love for each of them. I am grateful for my savior and I am grateful to serve him and his people. Merry Christmas everyone. I love you

Elder Basham

We built a barn! It isn't quite ready for a hoedown yet,
but now I can say I helped in a barn raising :)

We went with some members to a candlelight service at the
Presbyterian church on Christmas Eve. It was a cool experience.
I love the beautiful architecture of all these old churches built in the 1800s.
The wood ceiling was amazing and they have a real pipe organ. 

This is Gus Gus, the best cat ever.
He will just sit there in the bowl all day and let you carry him.
And I got to pet him and play with him
and he wouldn't even run away or fuss.
Afterwards I was super dying of allergies,
but it was completely worth it. Cats are the best! 
Not sure if you got my email last week. Hope things are going well. I was wondering if you could write me a little something about your feelings about being a missionary during the Christmas season.

Thanks Bishop Hawk

Hey bishop

Yes I got your email last week. Sorry I have not responded yet. For some reason, whenever anyone asks me to write a specific story or write on a subject, everything I have ever known or thought about that thing completely disappears from my mind. I don't get it, but honestly writing letters home is probably more difficult than going trackting in Spanish while the wind is blowing at 20 degrees.

About three weeks ago, we had a lesson with a man named Adam. It was a pretty normal restoration lesson without anything too significant. We listened to him explain his desire to come closer to Christ and to change his life. We shared the glorious message that God loves him and has reached out to him and the whole earth once again. We gave him the Book of Mormon for a means to grow closer to Christ and to learn of the truth of our message. All these things were wonderful, but what makes his lesson stand out so clearly in my mind is the words I spoke at the end of the lesson. I explained that he would learn how to repent and follow in the footsteps of Christ. He would find great joy in that path and soon desire to make covenants with Him. Then, in words I have spoken many times I asked, "Adam, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding the restored
priesthood authority from god?" At his affirmation I continued, "we will be holding a baptismal service on Saturday December 24th, Christmas Eve -- the day before the birth of our savior Jesus Christ." This last phrase was something new, and I felt something stir within me. I could barely speak these words as the spirit filled my heart. It was confirmed to me in that instant just how special Christmas really is and how wonderful of a calling I have. I thought about how baptism is a symbol of rebirth as a follower of Christ. We take his name upon us as we enter into His eternal family. How fitting do do this on the anniversary of the night that Jesus Christ was born on earth and entered our world to be among our family and to be our friend. I further reflect that, if Adam had been baptized on the 24th, he would have received the gift of the Holy Ghost for Christmas in sacrament meeting the next day. Even though that is not the end of Adam's story, I am grateful to know that many wonderful people in this mission and around the world are making covenants to follow their savior and receiving the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost this Christmas Day. I love my savior Jesus Christ and I am grateful to be his missionary. I know that His work is true. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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