Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Holy Cow. Time has gone by fast. Too Fast. I can't believe a year ago I was in Dunwoody with Elder Armenta. So much has happened since then. I just can't believe it, I can't believe it has been a year. I am sorry for my amazement, but it is really just striking me as I sat down to write this letter. A year ago I was sitting in the Albanes home writing about how I wanted to bring home the best souvenir, the atonement. It feels like yesterday I wrote that email. I have grown and changed so much, and it is times like these when I realize it. When I have a specific day that I can reference back to. I have so much that I want to say and write about in this letter, so I am just going to go right into it.
      First off I want to thank my Ward back home for the package that I received from them. Thank you for all of the little notes, I read all of them and appreciated your kind words. I am so excited to meet all of the people that I have not got a chance to get to know or meet yet. Thank you so much!
      This week was a rougher week as far as key indicators go, but was actually not that bad of a week. We got to see a lot of our investigators. Elder Robison and I were able to give a lot of presents out to our investigators and other members of the ward. Edythe came to Church again and loved it. We were able to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and she enjoyed it so much. I love Edythe so much and am so glad that we found her. She is awesome. We were able to change out all of the batteries in her fire alarms so that they would stop beeping! She was very grateful for that.
      We had a great lesson with Linda and she just opened her heart out to us. She is just amazing. She was given some anti-mormon litterature and it just did not even phaze her. She has such a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, her heart is just so soft and she is so open. We will be having Christmas dinner with her and her awesome boyfriend named Scott. Scott is a great guy and has been very supportive of Linda and has been open to our message also.
      I have to tell y'all, I have never felt so much love for people before. I have never cared about people as much as I do now. That has been one of the grand transformations on my mission. I love people. I love them so much. My ability to love has just grown more than I ever thought that it could. I would do anything for Edythe, Linda, the Styles, Rex and Treena, David and his family, the Rice family, and I could go on on and on. It's not that I could do anything for them with the intentions of getting something back, like joining the Church. But I could do anything for them because I truly love them. When I am in these people's home, teaching them and telling them why I am there doing what I am doing. I mean it, I truly truly mean what I am saying. "I am here because I love you and your family. I know the Gospel can bless your life. It is the greatest thing that I could ever give to you. And I want to give it to you because I love you." I have said that my whole mission, from day one till now. But when I say it now, it carries a lot more weight. Because, 1. My ability to love a stranger unconditionaly has increased as I've come to understand how the Savior loves. And 2. My testimony of the Gospel has increased tremendously. So when I say "I know the Gospel can bless your life" and "This is truly the greatest gift I can give you." I truly mean it, because I know it. I just love these people so much. I love them because I've served them. Gosh Mom, you were always right. As my love has become more and more genuine you can tell that it has had an impact on the people I teach. My ability to love our investigators has increased as well as the members. Everytime we go out with a member or they feed us or whatever it may be that the members do for us I am just so incredibly gratelul. Whenever they drop us off I always find myself saying, "Thank you so much and we really love you." At first it felt like such a strange thing to say, but after Brother Crew and Brother Seawell would say that to us after we'd go out with them. It just felt so natural for me to say to everyone. I just love this ward. I love the people here. I love Dallas. I am so grateful to have served here.
       This Christmas is going to be amazing. I am so excited. Yesterday we called Treena and Rex and asked them if there was anything that we could do for them. They told us that they were pretty good, but their friend could use help. She has two kids and isn't going to have much of a Christmas this year. We told Treena that Elder Robison and I had some extra money and we'd go purchase the kids a few toys and we'd drop them off to her later Monday night. She was so grateful and very excited. A few minutes later she called us back just thanking us again, and said, "I would like my friend to meet you guys and you can give them to her in person. I want her to know who is giving these gifts." We thought that that was a great idea. Because now we will have the opportunity to meet Treena's friend and share the Gospel! I have honestly never been so excited for a Christmas event than I am to give these presents to this amazing family. It probably won't be much, but I am just grateful for the opportunity to give. It seems like as I've grown up that the spirit of Christmas has gotten less and less present. When I was a kid it seemed like the month of Decemeber would be the slowest month of the year, because I was just so excited for Christmas and I would count the hours till it would come. But as I've grown up Decemeber has just like another month... That warm feeling and excitement wasn't really there anymore. This year as I've focused on how I can help the people I am teaching and am around, and that feeling of Christmas that I had when I was a little kid has come back. However it is not because I am going to receive that sweet new toy I wanted all year, but because I am going to give that sweet new toy to a youngster that has wanted it all year.
      Along with being able to go get these presents for those kids today, I also get to go give another present to one of my recent converts! For one of my Christmas presents this year I asked for a copy of a book called "The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration." By my favorite General Authority, Tad R. Callister. I asked for this book so that I could give it to John Steele. My favorite member Brother Asper gave me a copy of this book because it was his favorite book. And now I want to give a copy of it to John, because it is now my favorite book. I wrote a little note in the front cover of it to John telling him how grateful I was to have been able to be part of his conversion. I told him what the book I was giving him meant to me and that I hoped that he would develop that same love for it. I told him how that book has just opened my eyes and helped me understand my other favorite books, the standard works, so much more! And I hope that it has the same effect on him.
       I am so grateful for this Holiday season. I am grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ and everything that he has done for me. This year I just hope that I can do more for him than I did this previous year. I am so grateful for my choice to come on a mission and serve the Lord. The blessings and gifts that I have received from that decision are more than I deserve. I am so grateful for the gifts and talents that my Father in Heaven has given me. I am so excited to serve him for the rest of my life and to spend these last months that I have giving him my whole heart and all of my time. I love my God, I love my Savior. I love my Family, and I love my friends. I hope that you all have a wonderful incredible merry Christmas!
-Elder Ryan Romero

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