Merry Christmas and a Cool Yule to all of y’all,
Julee (Sister Bernhisel) and I are celebrating our third Christmas in Raleigh North Carolina and we love being here with our exceptional missionaries and members and the wonderful people of North Carolina who live in one of the most beautiful areas of the world. Our mission work is going very well, and quite frankly, we are a little saddened by the prospect of returning to “normal life” in six months, although we will never be the same after experiencing the “tender mercies” of being a part of the work of the Lord and from the changes of joy we’ve seen so readily in so many people.
It has been a very busy December with two special Christmas Zone Conferences (three zones each in a North and South Conference) combined with a musical Christmas program, a Sister Missionary Conference and a Spanish speaking missionary conference with a visiting General Authority and our Area Authority. Our missionaries in the musical program of the Christmas Zone Conferences have amazed us with their talent and enthusiasm. We have ended that program in our conferences, by something familiar to those who have attended our Bernhisel neighborhood ‘Christmas Family Home Evening’ in Riverview Florida, with my Stille Nacht/Silent Night story and group singing of Silent Night, accompanied by the guitar. (You can see us somewhere in all three pictures if you look hard enough or have a magnifying glass). The upper picture is the Sister's Conference. The picture on the right, below is us demonstrating the '12 Days of Christmas-Bernhisel style'
A quick update on our kids and grandkids: We have had four grandchildren born while we have been on our mission and our daughter Brooke is expecting a little girl in the springtime. Heidi and Tyler and their four children moved to a new home, a few miles from their old home, to Seneca S.C.. Preston and Karee and their four children, including Cambelle, born this past March, are in Dallas Texas. Brooke and Mike and their three children, left the South (Atlanta) for California this year and a new great job. Their son Ethan was born just after we came to North Carolina and their new little one, ‘Brooklyn’, will be born just before we leave. Lyndi and Kevin and their three children live an Acworth (close to Atlanta) and had little Elsie born in March of this year as well. Jenny Leigh and Lance are on their way by car to visit us for Christmas with their three children from their home in Houston Texas. Just over a year ago little Millie was born. She and all the rest of the grandkids are the sparkles in our eyes.
As we reflect and ponder on the spiritual bounties of Christmas, the title of one of my favorite Christmas Hymns come to mind, ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’. This is an interesting time in the history of the world where there are so many evidences of Heavenly Father’s love and merci. These evidences serve to strengthen that faith in the babe born in the humblest of circumstances in Bethlehem, Jesus the Christ. The same who gave His life to reclaim and redeem us. In contrast, it is astonishingly evident that there is a lack of faith and even the secular distain for Godly truths by the world in large, an absence of which will always be accompanied by ultimate grief and despair.
“Behold, doth [Jeusus Christ] cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men… Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?...Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive. (2nd Nephi 26:25,26. 3rd Nephi 9:13,14-The Book of Mormon)
Julee and I know that God lives and is aware of the smallest details, happy or sad, in all of our lives. We also know that His Son Jesus, is the Christ and through His sacrifice and the enabling capacities of His atonement, He has not only given us life after death, but individual growth, happiness and joy in this life. He has also prepared the pathway to Eternal life, which is life with our Heavenly Parents and our precious families in the world to come. Isn’t that great?
We love y’all
Marc (President Bernhisel) and Julee (Sister Bernhisel)
P.S. Great, short, Christmas videos: 1) Piano guys with David Archuleta “Angles we have hear on High” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n543eKIdbUI