I literally cannot believe that the best two years of my life are coming to an end so quickly. It is impossible to squeeze 2 years of experiences into one tiny letter, but I just wanted to share a few of my take-aways of the mission.First, sacrifice. It is so easy to think that it is a 'sacrifice' to serve a mission, or to magnify our callings, or to be true disciples of Christ. Certainly, we have to sacrifice a few things, but the mission in itself, is not a sacrifice. I love the promise found in Matthew which reads,
"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."This mission was the hardest thing I've done so far, but how can I say it was a sacrifice, when in return I have learned SO much about myself, my Savior, and God's perfect plan? How could I say it was a sacrifice of 'my time' when the time is His and for this time spent, I have been promised sooooo many blessings, even "...an hundredfold"? A mission was not a sacrifice, but was the greatest blessing and opportunity I have yet received.These past 23 months, I have tried my hardest to be a good, happy, obedient servant. Sometimes things didn't go as planned. Sometimes I let myself down. But each time, the Savior was there to lift me back up, to give me strength, to give me hope, to bless me with challenges and experiences to build my faith.I feel as though I can say with Paul of old in 2 Timothy 4:7
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished course, I have kept the faith:"I have found treasures in the scriptures and used them to help those who we taught to get to know the beautiful cleansing of the Atonement, the hope of the Plan of Salvation, the miracle of eternal life and second chances. I have learned SO much, and yet have SO much to learn! But some of the greatest things I've learned during this time were:- CHARITY - how to love people and see beyond physical/intellectual differences and see them how Heavenly Father sees them
- PATIENCE - Haha I think patience is lesson that every missionary has to learn. Heavenly Father has blessed me with LOTS of patience with companions and with myself. He has taught me that ALL blessings promised will come, but come in His time.
- NECESSITY OF DAILY SCRIPTURE STUDY AND KNEELING PRAYER - Without it, we become weak. The consequences of daily study and meaningful, kneeling prayer are immediate and powerful. We cannot access the fullness of our potential with them! And as we use these tools, ALL things become more simple and more clear.
- COURAGE - it is not easy to be courageous, and especially not for the sake of righteousness. But without courage to INVITE, nothing will happen. Without the courage to FOLLOW UP after an invitation is made, progress will not come. We have to be courageous to be successful!
- PORTUGUESE! Haha
- HUMILITY - If we think we're humble... HAHA we need to humbled! I thought I was humble before the mission.... oops! I still have a looong way to go, but learned that as we humbly accept correction from priesthood leaders, it all goes right! It's like magic! Humble obedience isn't weakness, it's strength.I've learned a lot more, but I won't bore you to bits... Most of all... I've learned that I truly have a Savior who loves me and will help me when I seek him. I know that there is truly enabling power in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives! I know that He loves us and because He does, he restored HIS church so that we could enjoy the fullness of theliving Gospel. I know it's true. I have seen it work miracles in the lives of those we baptized, and in my own life.I LOVE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. The only feeling I have left is one of gratitude for being granted this time to learn and to grow and to be tested. I owe Heavenly Father EVERYTHING.Just one more scripture! 2 John"Having many things to write unto you, I would not with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." :) (see you at the airport!)Love forever,