Last weekend we showed up to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional just in time to see the final number of an old Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert that they were airing. David Archuletta was singing with them, and it was beautiful and so spiritually filling. I’ve had that song playing through my head on and off since then, and been singing it often. Here I am listening to the Mormon Channel’s “Mormon Tabernacle Choir” music stream, and that song came on! It was with another soloist, but it was the same version. It’s called “Angels From The Realms of Glory”. It’s beautiful.
I want to share a tender mercy from last night as well! We live in a 2 story house, with a man living in the apartment below us. He often plays loud music and drinks with his friends. Last night, we were heading to bed and it was clear they were drinking and watching some sporting event in the room right below us. I prayed before I climbed into bed, telling Heavenly Father that I knew he couldn’t control or coerce him, but asked if he would do what he could to remind him that we were upstairs trying to sleep. I thanked him and headed to bed. Not long after, as I lay in a half-asleep state, I heard him come into the room and say “Shhhhh! The Mormons are sleeping!” I smiled and am still smiling. Elder Sorenson and I are going to leave him a card and some sweets today to thank him for doing that.
I love the Covington branch SO MUCH! The members here are so, so, wonderful. I am just so happy to be here. We are singing this coming week in the Christmas program, and it feels SO GREAT to be a part of a choir again, especially a Christmas Choir. =) I love it.
We have an investigator here in Clifton Forge named…….. hmmm…. Roberto! Roberto is a man who has been through trial after trial in his life. He has truly been through the ringer. He told the Elders in a lesson once that he remembers standing in front of someone and telling them that he could take anything that was thrown at him. Then he says he signed something and walked over to some other people. “I guess it was Jesus” he says. The next thing he remembers is being a young boy. He remembered that experience for the first time as a young adult. He was working on a construction crew and was driving with them when images just started flooding him. It’s incredible to watch him tell it, because it isn’t told like a story, it’s told like a memory. Something so matter-of-fact. He is a simple man, with simple education and a very simple life, but his heart is extraordinary, and it is also filled with pain. I am so excited, and so grateful, to have the message we have, and that he is listening, and trying. We left him with a commitment to read from the Book of Mormon and pray every day for the next 10 days, and a promise that he will feel more peace and direction that he is looking for, even if he can’t understand everything he reads. It’s been 3 days and he’s doing it, and he recognizes the change already. He says he sees it. He says we are his angels. He thanks us every time we visit. Amazing.
Another thing that made me smile this past weekend was that I was standing in the Hallway just following church and the phone rang. Our Branch President stepped into his office and answered it. He came out and handed me a pen and a pad of paper. “Write your apartment address” he said. I crossed my eyes and handed it to Elder Sorenson. =P When he got off the phone he clapped me on the shoulder lightly and said “You’re getting a Christmas package from your family”. I said “Huh?” Haha. “That was your dad” he said. I had a fun time registering it. It was fun to know I was a step away from someone on a phone call with my family. It’s truly the little things in life that really light up our lives. =) Thanks, family.
There is a feeling of peace, direction, joy, light, and love in my days. I’m happy. This is God’s work, for the salvation and eternal life of His children. I know it. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, so much. I love this Gospel. I hope you all are feeling the joy of this season, and know that if you are missing it, you can and will find it through pure, simple, service. Reach out to someone else. Let them know that someone cares. Even consider doing it secretly, so they have nobody to thank but God. “And thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” =)
May we all remember the first Gift of Christmas, a gift of love, given by a Father, to us, His children.
Love you all =)
Elder Benjamin Williams