I'm pretty sure this is the first Christmas we haven't all been together since little baby Sawyer was born. As I look back at the Christmas's we've had, I realized the ones I remember most aren't because of which gifts I've given, or what presents I've received, but the experiences we had.
We have spent Christmas with Papa and Gigi, some with Grandma and Grandpa. one year we drove 18 hours to Oklahoma to spend it with Blayne and Kim. We've had a Costa Rican Christmas at midnight with Xotchil and her family, and also the Blanco's. We have been in a different country for Christmas when we went to Guatemala.
As a family we have shared our Christmases with many different people in many different places. This Christmas I have the opportunity to share it with my temporary family, my companion, my zone, y district, all my teachers and my Branch Presidency here at the MTC. Next year I'll share my Christmas with the wonderful people of Argentina. Over the next two years, at least for me, I'm pretty sure I'll be be able to say I've had more non traditional Christmas's in my life than the "regular ones", but in our family we never have just a regular Christmas.
Though we've had some extraordinary experiences, the one thing that has stayed the same is we've always had each other. No matter where we were, that has stayed the same, we've always had each other. No matter where we were we made experiences and those we'll never forget.
This Christmas is special one and we'll all grow closer to the Savior through it. I know that Jesus Christ is our Eternal Savior. He is the entire center of our Plan from Heavenly Father, and he is always with us. We can speak to him through one of the greatest gifts he could ever give each one of us, which is prayer. I have a tremendous testimony that God really listens to us and hears our desires. We can call out to him whenever we are in need, and he is just waiting to send down comfort.
Prayer is the whole reason our Church is restored on this day, all because a 14 year old boy had the courage to reach out to our Heavenly Father through his faith, and by a single prayer the father and his son appeared to him. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet, and I know that the Book of Mormon was translated with the miraculous power of God. I strongly encourage all of you to exercise this amazing power and gift each and throughout every single day. And expecially during this special Christmas we can have as a family. I love you all so very much and I want you to know how special each of you are to me. Thanks for all our experiences, and being such a strong support to each other.
Love Elder Quynton Allsup