The last week was great. Sister J and I worked hard and were able to see the fruits of our labor during A's BAPTISM on Saturday!!!!!! She was the cutest thing ever and the Spirit was so strong during the baptismal service. She was confirmed yesterday in another very spiritual sacrament meeting. When they laid their hands on her head and told her "Receive the Holy Ghost" I felt this powerful wave of the Spirit. Sister J leaned over to me during the prayer and said "Did you feel that?!" It was really neat. It was a good reminder that when I was confirmed all those many years ago, I was commanded to receive the Holy Ghost, and that commandment has never been rescinded. I always need to be living in such a way that I can receive the comfort and counsel and companionship of the Spirit in my life.
Being a missionary has been the best adventure of my life. In missionary lingo, when you go home, you say that you're "dying" in the mission. I'm back with my MTC companion right now, Sister Curly S, and we keep saying that we're freaking out about dying and how awful it is to die. I truly have been feeling like I am DYING and my very soul is in mourning about it! Sometimes it's hard to feel like there is anything else in the world that is worthwhile after you have been part of the greatest work on the earth - the work of the salvation of souls. I've been so worried about going home and feeling like my life has no meaning and like everything is completely pointless. It sounds awful!
But this morning I was thinking about what it was like for us before we came to this earth, when we were in the Pre-Mortal Existence as spirits living with God. We learned and we grew and we changed and we chose to follow Christ. But then we reached our potential there, and we couldn't grow anymore. If we stayed there forever, we wouldn't be able to have eternal happiness and progression. So our loving Heavenly Father took us WAY out of our comfort zone and sent us down to this earth. It is imperfect, and we are imperfect, and we often struggle. But we grow so much and we learn and experience the most incredible joys that we think are not even possible to experience.
I've been thinking that when my mission ends, my life ends. And I've been completely wrong this entire time. My mission has been my training for life! It has been preparing me to become the person Heavenly Father wants and needs me to become in the future. I was thinking of the movie Hook when Peter Pan originally says "To die would be a grand adventure!" but then later he says, "To live... to live would be an awfully big adventure." Yes, I've survived my mission and I've put in my 18 months. But I'm not done! This is not an end, it is a beginning of a new adventure and a new chapter.
"O ye that embark in the service of God" -- I've been quoting that scripture every day for the last 18 months of my life. Every single morning at 9:10am we say D&C 4. Every transfer and every morning and every second we recommit ourselves to embark in His service. On Wednesday I will be embarking on another trip and starting another phase of this eternal journey. But it's the same boat, and the same captain. "We are on the old ship Zion. … [God] is at the helm and will stay there. … He dictates, guides and directs. If the people will have implicit confidence in their God, never forsake their covenants nor their God, He will guide us right." (President Brigham Young).
I know that this is the Lord's restored Church on the earth. I know that Heavenly Father loves His children with all his heart. There is truth, and there are answers to life's questions, and guidance IS available to us if we will pray and ask for it and follow His direction. I don't have adequate time or words to express how much I love this gospel, how much I love the Savior, and how much I love my mission. But I hope that the Spirit can testify to each of you of the love that I do have for this, because it means EVERYTHING to me. And now I am excited to embark on a new journey in the service of God. Thank you to every one of you for being a support and a strength to me throughout these last 18 months and throughout my life. May the Lord pour out special blessings and an abundance of His love upon each one of you is my prayer.
All My Love,
|Goodbye beautiful Delta. Tractors, trailers, and fields. It's all right here.|
|My last District! We were pretty crazy.|
|Saying goodbye to C. I will miss him.|
|C looking fly, as usual.|
|They called this the ward Dutchoven Cookout, but I like to think of it as my farewell party... ;)|
|My favorite neighbor, J!|