Thursday, January 8, 2015

Final Letter

Hola Familia!

Well it’s been about a month since I got home, and I just wanted to write one last letter for you all, describing some thoughts and my feelings about this whole journey. My mission means a lot to me, more than I can easily describe. I've had some of the most meaningful experiences of my life, I've gone through some of the most profound and valuable changes that will change my life forever, and most importantly I have come to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

A couple of lessons that I learned that have marked my mission and now my life. First, obedience. When obedience stops being any irritant and becomes our quest, that is when the powers of heaven distill upon us. If we want happiness, if we want success, if we want to progress then we must be obedient, and we must do it fully. Partial obedience doesn't count! And although we might be tempted to do so, we must not ever forfeit our obedience to something or someone else. There will be voices that tell us to bend, to ignore just one little thing, but we must not give in. We must give all of ourselves to the Lord, all of the time, and to no one else. Don't forget about the little things as well, they're all important, no matter how small they seem. If we can make the little things important to us, then He'll make our big things important to Him. Remember what He said, that if we obey then we receive more truth, and the truth will make us free (John 8:31-32). Obedience is the first law of Heaven because nothing can be achieved without it. It is the foundation for success as a missionary, and for happiness as a disciple of Christ. 

Next, repentance. We are all on the same quest for perfection, and as thus none of us are perfect and we will all mess up from time to time. I have learned that the Lord is well aware of this, and in His infinite patience and long suffering, He will walk with us every step of the way as we strive to either get back on the path, or simply keep moving forward on it. There will be moments when we must humble ourselves, admit we've done wrong, repent of it, and then accept the consequences. However, that is exactly what the Savoir wants. There is no limit to His kindness, to His love, to His patience. He will forgive us so long as we have a broken heart and a contrite Spirit (Moroni 6:8). In that, we must do our best to ignore the voices that tell us we're not good enough, or that we've done too much wrong far too many times. Those voices do not come from heaven, and they try to eliminate hope. When we fall down on the ball we need to have a quick bounce back plan, and get back up and running with the ball. That is how I think the Savoir envisions repentance. Quick and thorough. I have experienced and know for myself that the Savoir wants us to repent and He wants to forgive, no matter what we did, or how how many times we did it, or how long ago it was done. 

Lastly, as members of the Church and disciples of Christ, we should never be content with the mediocre, or with choosing to be or to do only OK. Christ has such a bigger vision for us, and knows we are capable of so much more. We should never be comfortable with only doing the bare minimum, but should always strive to do our very best, no matter what it is. We must truly be a light to the world and stand out, be the embodiment of the message of the Restoration. We may find ourselves in difficult situations where we are tempted to give up our obedience, or we may be forced to stand alone like Moroni. But all that's okay because the Lord knows we can do hard things. He continually asked me to do them throughout my mission, and I was continually surprised as He helped accomplish them and grow and stretch. He knows our potential, what we're capable of, and He graciously intends on helping us reach that. 

There are so many more things that I learned on my mission, about love, patience, service, diligence, goal setting, planning, getting my priorities straight; the list goes on! One simple letter does not do it justice. But I hope that from here on my whole family and those around me will be able to see how much I cherish my mission, and see all that it did for me, reflected the way I act and in the new person I have become. The Lord is amazing in His ability to find things to give us, even in the most peculiar of circumstances. What at first seemed to be the greatest sacrifice of my life has turned out to be the greatest gift for my life. They were two of the hardest, most challenging, most rewarding, and glorious years of my life so far. And as I've come to know Him, I know that things will only get better from here. I encourage anyone and everyone that has ever considered a mission, to do it. And to serve with a willing heart and mind. The Lord will do wonders through you.

I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He loves me, that He knows my name. I am grateful that He is willing to take time to be apart of the little details of my life. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that has provided a Savoir for me and all mankind. I know without a doubt that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and that he restored the true church of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that it contains the power to change peoples lives as it has changed mine. I know that living the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings us the greatest, most profound happiness that we can experience in this life. I know that I am a changed person because of His Gospel. I have served Him two years, and I will continue to love and serve Him without question for the rest of my life. He has saved me and redeemed me, and I will love Him forever for it. This is my witness and testimony. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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