Tuesday, April 7, 2015
This is officially my last email as a full-time missionary here in Houston Texas. It's hard to adequately sum up what I've learned and the knowledge I've gained and the experience my mission has been. This past year and a half is something I will cherish throughout the rest of my life. I have gained so many skills, seen so many miracles, and become a more capable instrument in the hands of the Lord as I have served here. I have grown to love the people here so much. I have gained an increased love for the Lord and a better understanding of His Atonement and how that works in my life and the lives of others. I love my Savior, he has helped me every step of the way and I know he will continue to do so. I love the Book of Mormon. It is the word of God and it is the tool in finding the Truth of the message we share. I am grateful for my understand in of the Plan of Salvation and the precious perspective it gives for why we do what we do. The whole purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to enable us to be perfected and to turn us to the One who can really change us. I loved listening to General Conference the past 2 days. What a blessing to hear from living prophets who are inspired of God to lead and direct us. What an opportunity to receive personal revelation and gain so many answers and so much direction.
As a missionary you're able to devote all of your time and attention to serving the Lord, coming home your time and attention of necessity has to be balanced between many things in just taking care of the necessary parts of life. One of my concerns was finding a way to keep the Spirit I feel here and the same purpose in helping others and being an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Many of the talks touched on a theme of reaching out to serve and lift those around us and the joy that we find when we do. So that's something I want to focus on at home is finding ways throughout the day and as part of what I do to lift and encourage those around me.
One of the things I have grown to know the most is the potential each of us have to do incredible amounts of good in the world as we seek to do so and as we turn to the Lord. A simple invitation, a friendly smile can go a long way, not to mention what can happen when people of that same mindset come together to make something happen. Lives will be touched and people will be brought closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ. One of the greatest joys in this life is to know you have been an instrument in the hands of the Lord, to know you have been on His errand, and to know that He has guided your footsteps. I have felt that while serving here, but I know that it is not limited to the missionaries to feel that way. There are miracles wrought by every-day people who seek to follow the Spirit and who are "quick to observe" and look for ways to bless the lives of others. Don't doubt your capacity to serve the Lord and bless His children, that is where you find the greatest joy. As Ammon puts it in Alma 26, "...behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work... Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."
I am so grateful for the time I have had to serve a mission. I would recommend it to anyone. It's hard. But the difficulty brings you close to the Lord if you let it and the joys and blessings are worth every sacrifice. I love y'all!
See you soon!! :D