I Skyped my family yesterday for 30 min.
I just read the last e-mails they will send me on my mission.
I can’t believe it’s actually happening.
I am not really scared to go into my new life, and I am not horribly upset about not being a missionary because I understand it has to end sometime.
I look back at my mission, at all the people I have come to love, all the converts, families and people I worked with, leaving that is what tears me up. These people, along with Christ, are what has filled me with joy and given me the energy to continue. I love the people I have met, they have changed me. I know the happiness I have gained from being here and I feel like I am walking out on that. That is what makes me the most sad. All the experiences, good or bad shaped me and occupy most of my memory. It is a huge part of me, and I feel like I am leaving a huge part of me.
Awe freak, now I am about to cry, because there is this song by Nashville Tribute Band to missionaries called “The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Loved To Do”. Now I get it. 😦 It says “A land so far away still holds my heart.” It does (minus the far away part), this mission is where my heart is. Tacoma, Lakewood, Brookedale, Sequim, Kingston, Port Townsend. What makes it worse is I know I will never be able to return and have it way it is as a missionary or representative of Christ. This is a one time thing. I am leaving a part of my heart here.
One thing I realized is I take my testimony for granted. I know more than anything that God is real and Jesus died for us. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and this church is God’s true organization in this world. Before I came out, I always knew God and Jesus were there, but sometimes if I thought about it too much I could get myself mixed up and doubt for a minute. What if?! I can’t imagine myself thinking that or anything close to it now. I thought I always had been like this, but at the temple I had a memory return about how I was before, compared to now. I hadn’t realized I changed in that way. It’s not something I specifically worked at because I didn’t feel it was a weakness. I just did my best as a missionary. Doing that built my testimony into what it is now. That is something I didn’t know would happen.
I would never in a million years take back these two years. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have had such a great mission. Even though it was a really tough one, I think my mission was the best experience anyone could have. I think because I was able to have the spirit so constantly, I was working all the time, and I came to love many people so much. I look at my time here, and KNOW that God loves me and cares for me.
Thank you everyone for all the prayers, mail and support given to my family and me. It sure helped. Y’all are great.
One of the things I forgot to mention was a crazy day we had last week that led us to our baptisms. We were worried, because of a few things, that ***** might not get baptized, but we kept praying so hard! **** also made a comment that scared the poop out of us over text that made it sound like he was rethinking baptism.
We had a lesson that day with him, and it was one of the craziest and most spiritual EVER! We had our lessons on his driveway as the sun sets over looking the sound. I love it! He was in the middle of a really, really bad situation that he had made for himself. It didn’t knock him out from being baptized, but he did something that wasn’t the greatest. He walked us through it, and it was a really somber and sad story. He was obviously torn up about it and it was really, really effecting him. We told him what he did was wrong, but we didn’t really have to because he knew it. He said “I feel like I am going to Hell, I feel so bad”.
I got this huge smile on my face, jumped up and gave him a high five!! He looked so confused and kind of mad. He asked me what the heck I was doing. I sat back down and told him that he is AWESOME! Still kind of angry, he understandably looks at me like I am a freak. I told him I was so happy because he gets it now. We taught him the Gospel, which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We had explained how if you have true faith, it leads to repentance, and full repentance leads to baptism. If you gain real faith in Christ, then you can’t help feel sick of your sins and you want to repent. I told him I hated to see him so torn up and I am still mad about what he did, but it was necessary because now he gets it. We could teach him for months on end, and he will never learn this lesson in his heart until he experiences it. Now he feels true sorrow for his mistakes and sought repentance without us prompting him.
Ladies and Gentleman, that there is true conversion.
Later in the day, I was knocking with Elder Stirling and as of right then neither of them were getting baptized Sunday. S***** texted us and told us that he was getting in the water!! Not only that, he talked about how that week would be his 40 days in the wilderness and it was his test for his faith!! SOLID!! Then later right around nine, ***** TEXTED US THAT HE WAS GETTING BAPTIZED THAT SUNDAY!!!!!!! That was one of the best moments of my life. I know I keep saying it, but it was true.
We started walking towards home, just soo so so happy, looking at the sky thanking God, and I was jumping up and down screaming like I had won the lottery. I calmed down a bit then I told Elder Singleberry that we were going to say a prayer of thanks. I sat down at a bus stop and said a long prayer of thanks, then Elder Singleton took over and said one too.
The next day during district meeting **** called and we had a great conversation. He told us how he decided to be really truthful and just tell the truth about his situation with certain people, which would most likely ruin his life. I was freaking out because it really could do him some damage. He said that the night before he was praying about baptism and got the answer to be baptized on Sunday, and that he should just tell the truth and get it over with rather than trying to hide it. He said he had just done it, and for some reason it went really well, and the involved parties did not act the way they thought he would, but were really loving and forgiving. GOD BLESSES YOU WHEN YOU HAVE RIGHTEOUS DESIRES!!
We went to the temple Friday with my departing group. 😦 It was really good.
Sunday I got to confirm *****, and Elder Singleton got to do S******. 🙂 Then they announced that ***** has a calling as 11 yr old scout guy!!! He was so proud of himself, and we were too. He has changed so much. Good guy. Sunday night after skype we got to do a musical fireside. I played a piano solo, then played for the Shawcrofts singing, and Sister Heaton and I did “Saviour, Redeemer of My Soul”, but practiced once. I made up an accompaniment which is actually almost harder than a normal song because you can’t play the melody, but need supporting notes. Thankfully, it went well. 🙂 I did all my final reports and I guess I will bring one home for you too. 🙂
It was good Skyping y’all. I am sorry that I am so tired. Hopefully I can catch up on two years worth of no sleep. I am excited to come home! See you soon!!!!