From: Jessica McKay <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Blindness and Bean Casserole
Date: December 30, 2013 10:04:42 AM MST
Facetime is probably the greatest invention since the toilet. It was so fun to talk to the family this week! It was encouraging just to see that you still exist somewhere out there 😉 We had a good week. Lots of Christmas food, even more Christmas candy, and an occasional Christmas carol made me feel right at home during the season. We even had snow. In Liberal. For Christmas. The members all told us repeatedly how rare it is to have snow that sticks, but I did pray for a white Christmas! We had a sleepover with the other sisters at our house and wrapped presents for some “Secret Santa” deliveries we were doing on Christmas. The most special part of this season is giving to others. When we truly redirect the focus from ourselves to those around us, we find we are truly happy. That was probably my favorite part, aside from talking to the fam, of Christmas this year. On Christmas day we had brunch at Bishop Willis’ house and then went to the homeless shelter with our neighbors to help serve Christmas dinner. That was neat. I think I might continue that tradition, or at least one like it, every Christmas. After that, we ate dinner at our neighbors house: ham, sweet potatoes, cinnamon (pickled) cucumbers (weird, but pretty good), and green bean casserole. I don’t know what it is about Kansas, especially southwestern Kansas, but every single time anyone has ever served green beans, it’s always been in green bean casserole. Apparently no one likes vegetables, so they have to disguise them in a cream of mushroom soup and dried onion gravy before they can eat them. But they all love it, so whatever makes them happy makes me happy 🙂 Our neighbors aren’t members of the church, but they are very nice and very devout Christians. They commented the day after Christmas that this has been one of the best because of the time they’ve spent with us and the benevolent things we’d done. It’s true! The more like Christ you act, the better your Christmas will be–and that goes for all throughout the year as well.
Well, I can’t think of too much more that I want to say. So I’ll share this: (watch and then I’ll expound)
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
Notice how Christ explained that the man wasn’t given this trial because of his sins or his parents, but so that testimonies could be strengthened through his healing–so “the works of God could be manifest.” I loved that. Sometimes we have hard things happen to us that we didn’t do anything to deserve, but through our faithfulness, endurance, and Christ’s atonement, all will be made right, and countless people may be influenced, uplifted, and inspired to come closer to Him. Also, immediately after Christ told him to go wash, the man stood up and made his way to the pool. He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t question, and he didn’t murmur. He just went. How much better off would we be if we would just go when the Lord told us to and didn’t ask why? After he is healed, the man hastens to wherever he is going–I’m not sure where, but he walks with purpose, bearing testimony as he goes. Never does he deny what happened to him. As many times as people doubt, he declares again to them without hesitance that Jesus healed him. It wasn’t until the very end that Jesus revealed himself to the man as the Son of God. Ether 12:6 says, “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” This man definitely experienced a trial of faith. Each step he took led him to the ultimate prize of knowing his savior and falling into his warm embrace. What a beautiful illustration of our own lives on earth. Isn’t this life just a trial of our faith? Just like the man born blind, we too were born blind and follow the instructions of the Savior in order to regain our sight both in this life and in the life to come.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is real and it is back on the earth again for us to enjoy. The enabling power of the atonement is in our grasp because of our Savior’s love for us. I know He died for me, but I also know he lived for me, and lives again so that one day I might do the same. Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year filled with the diligence and temperance we all need to achieve those new goals. (My goal is to not eat any more candy for a while…my immune system is SHOT) Love you all! Did I tell you I got an extension on my mission and will be serving for another 18 months effective Jan 9? I’ll just come home 23 July 2015 instead of 23 July 2014…(Just kidding, Mom)
Love always, Hermana McKay
(P.S. Spanish is still hard, but it’s coming along!)
(P.P.S. Watch this! http://www.mormonchannel.org/mormon-channel-daily/385?v=910930409001 HAPPY NEW YEAR!)