“Contents,” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 1 Ensign December 1996 Volume 26 Number 12 Contents First Presidency Message: Gratitude As a Saving PrinciplePresident James E. Faust Christmas Gift for HungaryJeffrey S. McClellan A Vision of ServiceElder V. Dallas Merrell Lunch Bag LovePaula J. Lewis Alone for the HolidaysKellene Ricks Adams Crisis Christmas in ColombiaBlair L. LaBarge Costa Rica: Rising in Majesty and StrengthLaRene Porter Gaunt The Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek PriesthoodsLarry C. Porter Mormon JournalOur Not-Quite Tabernacle Choir Jeanne P. LawlerI Received the Better Gift Vicki TynerWhy Was Choka Here? Valerie DeCora GuimarãesStranded in a Small Town Frank W. Olsen, as told to Kathleen OlsenThree Small Headstones Carla Parsons Portraits Speaking Today: “When Shall These Things Be?”Elder M. Russell Ballard Random Sampler The Visiting Teacher: The Rock of Our Redeemer News of the Church Annual Index [photo, illustration] On the cover: Front: Photo by Welden Andersen. Back: The Nativity, by Robert T. Barrett, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″, 1986. Original is in the artist’s collection. Inside front cover: Christmas on Temple Square, by Larry C. Winborg, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″, 1994. Warming the hearts of viewers during the crisp holiday season, the lights at Temple Square reflect the Savior’s words “I am … the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness” (D&C 45:7). Inside back cover: “Go … into the Wilderness,” by Robert T. Barrett, acrylic on illustration board, 37″ x 102″, 1985. In October 1830, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord instructed Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer Jr., Parley P. Pratt, and Ziba Peterson to “declare my gospel” and go “into the wilderness among the Lamanites” (D&C 32:1, 2). Thus began the first known preaching of the restored Church in a non-English language. En route to America’s western frontier, a destination 1,500 miles from their starting point in New York, the brethren trekked heroically though many miles of deep snow.