Monday, December 29, 2014

Shepherds, Why this Jubilee? - Elder Jacob Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Renzo, Elder Jake Avery, Hyrum
Christmas in Peru isn't the same as in the States, but I passed what will probably be my last Christmas in South America. It was filled with turkey, fireworks, panteton and Inca cola. At 12 a.m. all the people light off fireworks and it's impossible to sleep, but a cool thing that happened is a family from the ward came by our room with a Christmas turkey dinner!

We were going over some ward goals with the bishop and he was very happy for the progress and the success we've had this year. There are several new families that have been baptized, nine missionaries in the field, 120 temple recommend holders and Sunday attendance is nearing 200. It's really nice to see success after weeks of feeling like the whole world was falling apart.

This week I got to appreciate and learn more about Jesus Christ. I think that we, like Nephi, don't yet fully understand the condescension of God. It's a deep concept. The condescension of God entails that God Himself came down to live in a physical body among men, whom He had created, and who would eventually betray and crucify Him. I find it interesting that as Nephi beheld the baby Jesus, he said that he then understood the meaning of the tree of life or that it signified the love of God.

''How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness? He sent His Son a new born Babe with peace and holiness.'' Another song says, ''Shepherds why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?'' Angels had told shepherds that the Babe which they would find was their Savior, but the question is, how could these shepherds have explained this all to the people? How can you put into words this deep and powerful testimony?

The concept of the condescension of God is something very spiritual, but I believe very important to comprehend in order to have a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ. I have found that one of the best ways to understand it better is through scripture, prayer and song. Yes, I said song. I don't find it surprising that Luke records angels singing, nor that Alma asks us if we have felt to sing the song of redeeming love.

Speaking of singing, my companion and I went Christmas caroling a few times this week and it's very fun to see people's eyes light up, and how our testimonies can be carried by song. Even understanding of very deep doctrines like the condescension of God can come by song. It invites the spirit of God.

I love you all! I wish the best! Thanks for the support, love, packages, emails and prayers. The work of the Lord is moving forward!

Elder Jake Avery

Dadiva (December 22, 2014)

Summer Vacation  (January 5, 2015)

Mom sent all the makings for smores in my Christmas package. You can't find anything like graham crackers here. Elder Estrada and I roasted our Christmas snowman smores with a candle! Delicious!