Monday, December 22, 2014


Dear Rife family, 

I got Kynsie's Skype. My name is ty_rife. I'm excited to see you as well. That is so weird for it not to snow during Christmas. Well hopefully you have a white Christmas! :) Here it will be is weird for me to not see snow. A lot of things are still green, it is very unusual! I remember that Christmas book, (In our email to Tyler...we had told him about how Tanner had wrapped up some of our books and we opened up one last night and read it as a family.  It was called "Bah Humbug".)   it is good. My favorite one is the Crippled lamb, or the candy cane one! I love those! I still haven't gotten Sister Rawcliffe's parcel. I got the one with peanut butter and honey and loads of sweets, but I haven't gotten the other yet. Hopefully it is just slow because it is around Christmas time. I will keep looking for it as well as Grandpa's. What were the prizes that Tanner and Kylee got? Oh my goodness...Sloane has here mission call??? That is so weird!! When does she leave? How many of my friends have mission calls now?  It is crazy that Matt is leaving in a few weeks! how were they? Probably really good. Did they get my letters? Well sounds like you all are having a fun time and staying busy like always! I won't tell you everything that has been happening because I will see you on Thursday. It will still be 7 o'clockhere...which I guess is 12 there! I love you guys and miss you guys. Merry Christmas!

God be with you until we meet again. On our way. #10sof1000s. Remember we all wear the name of Christ on our hearts, we are disciples of Christ. 

Love, Ty-dye


This will be short but I just wanted to tell you MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! This week has been pretty awesome. First off...our zone got together in Leeds City Center and we sang Christmas Carols!! Pretty much the best thing ever! We wrapped up Book of Mormons and passed them out and passed out the He is the gift pass a long cards. It is amazing how many smiles we got from people. Another funny thing is as we were singing people would leave money...we ended up basically chasing them down to give them their money back. The look of surprise that was on their faces when they found out we were singing just because was so funny. Obviously they ended up talking to us trying to figure out why a group of young people were singing. Music is special. It reaches out to everyone and can bring a smile to their faces and help them feel the Spirit. It is a language that everyone knows. Speaking of music, President Pilkington showed us a commercial about the Christmas Truce that is really special to him as well as all of us. Look up on Youtube "The Christmas Truce Sainsburys advert" It is very good. 

Sol FINALLY came to church and is trying hard to quit smoking so hopefully he will come around here soon...hopefully! Graham, for the first time prayed in front of us. We have been trying to get him to pray for the longest time. He prayed to know if the Church is true and to know a date that he should get baptized on, it really surprised me honestly. He is doing really well, trying to cut down smoking and everything. We met this really nice lady, her name is Sarah. We were walking down the street going home one night and she was standing outside her door in her robe and Pajamas. So I just said her robe looks good (it had stars all over it) I know I know stupid approach...but I just said what came to mind. But it got her talking to us and we talked for probably 15 minutes she was asking about why we came over to England and the lot. We obviously said we had to leave, and before we could ask to come back she said would you guys like to come back sometime and we can have a cup of tea...we said sure...obviously we can't have tea but we are definitely going to get her baptized!!! :) Be careful what you ask for...especially if it is two missionaries! :) 

Yesterday was an odd day. Started out normal. We went to Sacrament and then Priesthood...then the primary teacher asked if we could help her...we didn't know what we got ourselves into! We said sure, she then said alright we need wise men and shepherds, can you be both. So as you can gather, we were shepherds and wise men for the nativity! :) fun stuff! I was sitting there thinking to myself why do we have to do this with a bunch of primary kids...we have investigators here and less actives. There are not many primary kids so they needed us. It didn't turn out very good but then I was thinking it doesn't matter. Christmas is not about how good of a nativity you can put on or how many gifts you get or how much food you eat, or how big your tree it, how many lights you have. Christmas is about Christ. I invite everyone who reads this to read the First Presidency message in the Ensign. I want everyone to think about how they can make Christmas more focused on Christ and how we can serve other people. This year make someone else's Christmas better, Serve one another, love one another but most of all remember what Jesus Christ has done for us. He loves us. How can we show our love for him? 

God be with you. On our way. #10sof1000s. We all wear the name of Christ on our hearts. Merry Christmas everyone. 

Love, Elder Tyler Rife

"Our zone got together in Leeds City Center and we sang Christmas Carols!!
Pretty much the best thing ever!"

Each week we send Tyler an email from home and most times Steve will include what he titles "Dad's Doctrinal Dissertation".  Last week Steve didn't send anything to Tyler and Tyler made mention in his email that he missed it!  
I think that made his Dad feel pretty think that what he usually shared was valuable and worthwhile. 
Well in Tyler's email for this week Steve shared some very insightful Christmas thoughts and I decided I would include it on Tyler's blog this week.
Perhaps those of you who take time to read Tyler's blog might enjoy what Steve shared with our missionary.

Love you all
Now for Dads doctrinal dissertation.  I’ve been thinking about the true Spirit of Christmas.  One of my favorite Christmas Hymn’s is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.  It speaks of peace on earth and good will towards men.  True peace comes from aligning with Heavenly Fathers will through obedience to the commandments and repentance.  As the people in the book of Mormon witnessed Christ’s coming… heard His teachings… and exercised their faith, by repenting and being baptized, they experienced complete peace that lasted over 150 years!  The people had all things in common and there were no poor among them (what a great state to be in).  The people were significantly blessed!   As I think of “good will towards men”, I think of the joy that comes through selfless service and giving (exactly what you are doing on your mission).  There is no greater joy than to earnestly and sincerely give of yourself, your time, talents and resources (this is what it means to truly sacrifice).  Peace on earth and good will towards men is wrapped up in the two great commandments – Love God and Love our fellowmen.  As with all blessings this state of peace is dependent upon our willingness to love and obey. I’m sure the extent that we feel this peace is in direct proportion to the level of service that we give and sacrifice we make. 
Below is a little more insight into this hymn.  It comes from my bosses boss, Blaine Maxfield who recently posted the following on his CIO blog:
 “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works are vast and popular.  His life, however, came with many challenges and much heartache.  His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 from complications after a miscarriage; she was only 22 years old.  His second wife, Frances Appleton, also died under tragic circumstances.
One night she was trimming their daughter's hair and wanted to preserve some of the curls.  She put the hair in an envelope and heated some wax to seal the envelope.  Hot drops of wax fell onto her dress, and a breeze ignited her dress and set it on fire.  To protect her children, she rushed into Longfellow's study.  Longfellow tried to extinguish the flames, severely burning his own face, arms, and hands.  Despite his efforts, his beloved wife Fanny died the following morning.  She was the love of his life.  His grief and injuries were so great that he was unable to attend her funeral.   
That Christmas, he wrote in his journal: "How inexpressibly sad are the holidays."  Devastated by his wife's death, he later wrote that he felt he was "inwardly bleeding to death."  The following Christmas (in 1862), Longfellow wrote: "A merry Christmas—say the children—but that is no more for me." 
The next year, Longfellow's eldest son, Charles, who was in the Union Army, was severely wounded by a bullet that nicked his spine.  In December of 1863 Longfellow made the journey to Washington to care for his son, who was in critical condition.  That Christmas, his journal was silent.
Then, in 1864, something changed: On Christmas day, Longfellow wrote the words to my favorite Christmas carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  He wrote how the bells ring out the message of "Peace on earth, good-will to men!" 
I have often wondered what could have possibly changed between the previous years and 1864 that altered Longfellow's perspective from despair to peace.  He wrote that the bells play "old familiar carols."  He had heard these bells many times before; they were familiar.  These were the same bells and the same songs that he heard in 1861, 1862, and 1863.   During those years he only heard the sounds of despair: 
“And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’ ”
What was different this year?
We may be able to gather some insight from one of his earlier journal entries.  On the July anniversary of his second wife's death, his journal states: "I can make no record of these days, better leave them wrapped in silence.  Perhaps someday God will give me peace." 
It was in the song of the bells in 1864 that Longfellow was given peace from God:
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.’ ”
This wonderful gift of God's peace was given to Longfellow, as it is given to each of us at Christmas time and throughout our lives.  This message is given by the Prince of Peace, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Many of us, like Longfellow, hear the messages of loneliness and despair ring loudly in our lives.  But the message of the Prince of Peace always rings "more loud and deep."  This is the great message that was heard in the ringing of the bells that Christmas—the message that good will overcome evil, and that Christ will overcome all.  And because of that we have hope.  Because of that we have peace.
As we focus on the message of Christmas, of Christ and his redeeming power, I testify to each of you that Christ was born and that He lives; that He died for us and that He was resurrected; that He made an Atonement for us and that He lives even still, and that because He lives, we will return to live with our Heavenly Father. 
Wasn’t that insightful?  I love Blaine Maxfield’s testimony and I add my AMEN and AMEN to his words…. I now have even a greater love and appreciation for this wonderful Christmas carol. 

Below are a few more worthwhile quotes from my friend’s daily posts that we have been sharing in your weekly letters:  

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'.               (Bing Crosby)

A simplified Christmas isn't about circumstances as much as it is about focus.            (Ann Voskamp)

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.               (Charles M. Schulz)

If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you.  During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God.  Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees – alone or with loved ones – give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that his Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve him and keep his commandments.  He will take you by the hand and his promises will be kept.               (President Howard W. Hunter)

Well Son, have a great week!  May you feel the true spirit of Christmas and the peace that comes from being faithful and true to our Father in Heaven and His Son.  The gospel is true – we believe it with ALL of our heart.  The missionary work you are engaged in is very important… it will not only bless those who respond to your invitation but you are being sanctified as a person and we are being blessed as a family. You are making a difference in this world of ours!  Remember that we LOVE you and are praying for your safety and success!  We look forward to our visit on Thursday!

Love, Mom and Dad

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