Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joy To the World!!

There was no email last week since Bronte was moving to Every! 

Hello Friends and Family!
So one way or another, you've found yourself included in this Christmas email because you are someone that has directly or indirectly blessed my life or the life of my family. Thank you.
If you do not already know it, it has been just over six months since I've been away from home and living in France as a full-time missionary and representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It has been one of the most fulfilling and remarkable things I have done in my life to serve others, teach them about the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite them to experience them for themselves. It's profoundly enliving.
Just a week ago, I was moved from the city of Tours (where I'd been serving for the past 6 months) to Evry, just outside of Paris. Once again, I found myself adjusting to the changes and the faster pace of life. New faces, new places, new companion, an area I don't know yet and a ward that is 3 times larger than the one I was last in. And the irony of it all is that it's Christmas week. No doubt, it's a lot different than what I would've pictured. And everything around me is so foreign to me. But the one thing that helps me to find my grounding is the fact that this is such a special moment and time of year that seems to dispel all of these differences and bring us to a stand still. In this moment there is peace.
<<For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto His people>> Mosiah 15:18, The Book of Mormon
Christ is that founder of peace. He is the good news. He is the Savior of the world who understands us personally and profoundly. God is our Father in Heaven who loves us and is aware of exactly where we stand.
In these past few weeks, I've seen this over and over again. The other day, we were on our way to visit a member and we stopped and talked to a woman named Ida. I asked her if she knew anything about our church and she hesitantly told us that she'd been there with her friends a couple of times. As we asked her about herself and bore our testimonies to her of Jesus Christ, her heart was so touched. Before we parted, we asked her if we could say a prayer with her. I asked her if we could pray for anyone that she knows and she asked, <<Please pray for my brother. He is sick with cancer and right now I'm on my way to see him in the hospital. .>> And so we did. And as we stood there praying together on behalf of Ida and her brother, I was filled with those feelings that can only come from Heavenly Father-- those feelings of peace, love and pure joy. And I know that she was too. As we parted, she stayed there for a moment and lingered long enough to smile at us and say, <<Que Dieu vous benisse.>> God bless you.
He is the good news. Through Him, we can experience the peace and power of His atonement in our lives. We can mend broken ties with a friend or family member, we can lift someone around us with words of love and encouragement, we can start over after we feel like we've made the same mistake over and over again. We can be filled with the kind of love that makes us want to share our testimony and faith in Jesus Christ with all those around us. We can become publishers of peace-- even disciples of Jesus Christ.
I wish you all the Best of Christmases full of the Spirit and Love of Christ. May God bless you this Christmas and always!

Soeur Bronte Hopkins 

Bronte sent her Christmas card, but it is a pdf so I can't upload it, but know that she loves all of you and is so very happy on her mission!

Lots of love,


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