I love reading and sharing these letters from President Anderson so here is his Christmas letter…
Merry Christmas Missionaries,
What a wonderful time to reflect on our Ã¢Â€ÂœPurposeÃ¢Â€Â as we bring souls to Christ. The perfect gift for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Years ago I was impressed with the story Ã¢Â€ÂœThe MansionÃ¢Â€Â by Henry Van Dyke. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s the tale of a well to do man by the name of John Weightman who has become a self made man of impressive wealth. He also believes that you should give for all to see, to obtain earthly results, and in his mind a place in Heaven. He says,Ã‚Â Ã¢Â€ÂœYou have to be careful how you give, in order to secure the best resultsÃ¢Â€Â”no indiscriminate givingÃ¢Â€Â”no pennies in beggarsÃ¢Â€Â™ hats!… Try to put your gifts where they can be identified and do good all around.Ã¢Â€Â
He slips off in what seems like a dream or vision late Christmas Eve, and finds himself as if he had died and was walking with others, each given a mansion according to their works on earth. John Weightman is expecting the largest of all mansions for him, but the Ã¢Â€ÂœKeeper of the GateÃ¢Â€Â brings him to a small rundown hut in the middle of a dirt lot, hardly big enough for a shelter. John is shocked and tells the Ã¢Â€ÂœKeeper of the GateÃ¢Â€Â that there must be some mistake. This couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t be possible from all the charities he created, churches he built, hospitals he started, and schools constructed (all bearing his name of course).
The Ã¢Â€ÂœKeeper of the GateÃ¢Â€Â then responded,Ã‚Â Ã¢Â€ÂœThere is no mistakeÃ¢Â€Â¦We have used all the material that you sent usÃ¢Â€Â¦The things you did on earth, were marked and used as foundation for the name and mansion of John Weightman in the worldÃ¢Â€Â¦Were not all these carefully recorded on earth where they would add to your creditÃ¢Â€Â¦Verily, you have your reward for themÃ¢Â€Â¦ Would you be paid twice?Ã¢Â€Â
John then asks,Â Ã¢Â€ÂœThey accomplished some good in the world. Does not that count for something?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYesÃ¢Â€Â, answered the Keeper of the Gate,Â Ã¢Â€Âœit counts in the worldÃ¢Â€Â”where you counted it. But it does not belong to you here.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœTell me, then,Ã¢Â€ÂÂ he cried, brokenly,Â Ã¢Â€Âœsince my life has been so little worth, how came I here at all?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœThrough the mercy of the KingÃ¢Â€Â,Â –the answer was like the soft tolling of a bell.
John then asks,Â Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat could I have done better?Ã¢Â€Â
The Keeper of the Gate answers,Â Ã¢Â€ÂœOnly that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.Ã¢Â€Â
That final quote is what I see in you missionaries as you so diligently invite others to Christ -Â Â Ã¢Â€ÂœOnly that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thoughtÃ¢Â€Â:
Ã¢Â€ÂœJust after [training] we were out riding along and I felt we needed to stop and talk to somebody and so we did but she was in a hurry so we quickly set up a return appointment for the next day. She called us later the same day we found her and told us they were ready and that her whole family was there and that they wanted that prayer. We realized they were incredibly elect and we switched around our schedule and dropped by and blessed their family. They loved the prayer and they had been taught by the missionaries before in North Florida but had been unable to be baptized because of work. The husband had just recently lost his job for 2 months and finally found a new one where he didn’t have to work on Sundays and they were excited to prepare to be baptized. They as a family entered those precious waters on Sunday and it was such a testimony to me that God loves families.Ã¢Â€Â
I see in you missionariesÂ -Â Ã¢Â€ÂœOnly those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the rewardÃ¢Â€Â:
Ã¢Â€ÂœAs we were coming back from Mission Conference last week we saw him outside his house and decided to harvest bless him and his street. It turns out that he moved here… to find a new life here in Miami and wanted to find a church home. He told us that he was trying to figure out a church to go to when we knocked on his door. He told us that he’s done a lot of things that he isn’t proud of in his life and he wanted to be forgiven for his sins and start over. He hasn’t been to church since he was 6 years old! The day before Sunday he shot us a text telling us that he was at the mall buying a new shirt for church on Sunday! On Sunday he showed up to church 10 minutes early and we were so excited to have him there. He loved it! He said that during the service that he felt something that he didn’t know how to describe. Of course we told him that it was the spirit and invited him again to be baptized. He told us after the service that he would continue to come back every week and that he knew that this was God’s church and that he was going to be a part of it!Ã¢Â€Â
I see in you missionaries Ã¢Â€Â“Ã‚Â Ã¢Â€ÂœOnly those gifts in which the giver forgets himselfÃ¢Â€Â:
Ã¢Â€ÂœA miracle I want to share with you is as we were walking, I saw this guy … he had kind of been in the area around us where we were teaching …Ã‚Â As we were finished we walked by him and as always oymÃ¢Â€Â™ed him. After we had the prayer with him he was crying. He said he noticed us and could tell we were church people. He wanted to walk over to talk to us, but didn’t know what to say. He explained that he has had a rough past and is now wanting to change and come to God for forgiveness. He came to church on Sunday. We taught him after church and had the greatest lesson on the Atonement and receiving forgiveness of our sins. He again was crying but this time our member was in tears with him. Our member put his arm around him and said. Ã¢Â€Â˜I know God will forgive you.Ã¢Â€Â™Ã‚Â He said he is ready for baptism and is so excited. President I know this is the Lord’s work and miracles will never cease. God knows his children, those who need and is ready for his gospel most.Ã¢Â€Â