Wednesday, December 18, 2013
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM ELDER PHNOM PENNY
Hey friends and family,
So last night, for our Tuesday night devotional, we got the privilege to here from Elder Rasband of the Seventy and wow wow wow. Actually the first talk by his wife was really powerful too. So Elder Rasband was the mission president in the New York North mission and they had an elder share this story and it hit me so hard. So the elder went to New York and loved it, but the thing he really wanted to experience was a shoe shine. The signature New York shoe shine where you sit on the nice leather bench and have someone clean and polish them up. However he only got to serve in the Bronx, and here he never got to experience his dream. Right at the end of the mission he did get to though and it was one that changed his life forever. He turned the corner in one of the alleys of the Bronx and heard the words he always wanted to hear, "Shoe shine! Anyone want a shoe shine?" So instinctively the Elder goes with his companion and they ran into this older fellow. The Elder asks the price and the man said whatever he is willing to pay. As the Elder is digging in his pockets trying to gather up some change he is distracted and when he finally manages to get some cents he looks up looking for a chair to sit on or something and there is none, then he looks down and sees this man on his knees working on his shoes. The Elder looks with closer scrutiny and realizes the man was in rags and his clothes were covered in black. He watched as this man gave everything he had to cleaning the shoes. He used his bare hands to rub the greasy oily smear on the shoes, then finds the only clean spot left on his shirt to work the polish in. Finally, this humble humble man shakily uses his forearm to put the finishing touch on the polished shoe. The Elder then reaches in his pockets and gets all the money he has. Then he reaches in his companions pocket and gets all the money he can from him. That story touched my heart. Then Sister Rasband related this man to our Savior. Who also got on his knees and washed the feet of his apostles. Just the significance of that in itself is amazing. We have been learning about Cambodian culture and the feet is the lowest and dirtiest part of the body. It is disrespectful to put your feet on people or even things they touch with their heads like pillows and couches. Now think about that. The Savior would humble himself, The Creator of the world, and wash the feet of His brethren. That is where this story comes in. The Savior is our soul shiner. Through His sacrifice and Atonement we can be polished clean and be shiny. But what will we pay? How can we pay Him back for all he has done? Just think about that this Christmas season. Now talking about Christmas, it just gets me all excited about family and gifts and food... well wait I'm at the MTC, which should make me sad but I'm actually super excited! I received the best gifts of my life since arriving here. I've got to see the love of all those back home from their letters of encouragement and packages of goodies. I've got the gift of having the best district ever and finding 4 brothers and having a south east Asian language zone as family for the holidays. I've received the Gift of the Spirit almost constantly since arriving here and it guides me and helps me each and every day. I've received the Gift of Tongues and understanding and can now teach meaningful, Spirit filled lessons to my investigators. I've gotten the sweet gift and opportunity to teach a real investigator here at the MTC. Mok Sophal is a Cambodian fellow and is so sweet and I feel honored that Heavenly Father trusts me to teach him. And I've received the Gift of my Savior's love. Of his sacrifice that I can overcome my faults and mistakes and be soul shined. Elder Rasband wants us to share our most precious gift, and that is my testimony. So I want you all to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's true church restored on the Earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know Joseph Smith saw the living God and received divine help and guidance to bring to pass the translation of the greatest book in the world and restoring the Gospel to the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know if we read it and seek truth and answers prayerfully and faithfully then we will receive. I know this to be true. I know Heavenly Father loves us all so much. Even that He sent His son Jesus Christ to be the great and last sacrifice so that we can return home. I know that Jesus Christ loves us very much and gave up His life for us. He went through the worst pain imaginable for us. We cannot comprehend how much He loves us. Please let's not take that for granted. Know Christ, find Him, seek Him, and follow Him. I know only through Him we can be truly and eternally happy. I love my Savior, I love my family and I'm truly grateful I will live with them forever, I love my dear girlfriend who inspired my to come on this amazing mission, I love my ward who helped me become the person I am today, I love my dear friends for being there for me through thick and thin. May the Lord bless your lives infinitely as you carry on in faith. I say these things in my dearest Lord's name, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World, Amen.
Elder Spencer Paul Nhem