The Best Christmas Present

I have a little brother.

He wakes up at 6:30 every morning.
He spends an hour studying Spanish,
and then two hours studying the scriptures.
He makes a quick breakfast and heads out the door.

He spends the next ten hours helping people,
serving people,
teaching people,
and loving them.

He teaches them to pray.
He teaches them God loves them.
He lets them know families can be together forever.
He reminds them forgiveness is always possible.

And then he comes home, to a tiny apartment, thanks God on his knees for this chance to serve, and goes to bed.

He’s done this everyday for the past sixteen months, and he’ll do it for eight more. Once a week he gets an afternoon off for laundry, letter writing to family, grocery shopping, and maybe a trip to the temple.

During these two years he will never go to a movie, call a friend, search the web, turn on the radio, or sleep in. He won’t take the night off, a nap, or a swim.

He is a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

He told Mom today, in one of his two phone calls home a year, that one of the greatest things he has learned so far is that obedience brings blessings. He recognizes he is happiest when he is obedient, even to things that may seem trivial. He told me that he loves me and that he is so grateful for our family. It is incredible to see how much he has changed in one short year. He asked me three questions:

How is your testimony?
Are you going to the temple?
Are you reading your scriptures?

It makes me ask one question:

Why in this world would a nineteen-year-old boy, or 65,000 nineteen-year-old boys for that matter, give up two years, in the prime of his live, when he could be doing ANYTHING, for a regimen so strict and routine. Why would a young boy leave his family, his friends, his schooling, and his comforts to spend two years speaking a language he has to learn with people he’s never met.

Well, my brother reminded me today exactly why he’s doing it:

Because Christ was born.
Because Christ lived.
Because Christ Died.
And because Christ rose again.

He’s doing it because God lives and loves us. He’s doing it because that message is so sweet and so life changing that he (and He) wants everyone to know it, to feel it, and to live it.

Oh Caleb, thank you for that reminder, for your example, and for your dedication.
I love you.
I love missionaries.
I love the message you are sharing.

and while my favorite part of Christmas was hearing your voicel, I can’t wait until I get to hug you.

What was your favorite Christmas present this year? 
What is the best gift you’ve ever gotten? 

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  1. Elisabeth! I LOVE this!! Missionaries are SOO amazing!! šŸ™‚ I'm so glad that you're brother is out there serving the Lord! God bless him! Thanks for sharing your testimony!! šŸ™‚

  2. This may be my favorite Christmas post today. šŸ™‚ It definitely reminded me what Christmas is about. Thank you!

  3. Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. I love the bond that you have with your brother! That's so sweet.

  4. i love this.

    My best friend is currently serving a mission in Brazil. It is wonderful to see people sharing the gospel.

  5. Great post! When I read this I thought this is exactly what a missionary is!

  6. Great post about missionaries woman! I am so impressed by their diligence and grateful to be married to one.