This is really strange knowing this is the last email I will write as a full-time missionary. But it's not been as hard as I thought that it would. I think it is because I don't view this as an end. "Last shall be first" was intended to mean that this is a last that will also be a first. It marks the beginning of something new and exciting. Even though I won't have a name tag anymore, I intend on doing most of the exact things that I do now.
Today we had the privilege of having Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy (in the Missionary Department) and Brother Donaldson come and give us an iPad training. Our mission is getting iPads next week, so they came to teach us more about them. After seeing just how much it will impact the work, I'm a little envious that I will never get to experience that as a missionary, but that is why I loved the training so much because it wasn't just about how to use the iPads, but it was about conversion. It helped me to think about the way I want to use technology when I go home. Most of all, it was special because the Holy Ghost was the teacher, and we all learned so much from Him.
This week has flown by but has been so great.
We were able to call and teach Richard, and miraculously, he didn't mention anything about going to a seminary to find information. Not sure if that was because he didn't go, but we had a great lesson. We followed up with his commitments which he was been keeping for the most part. He even set aside an hour and a half today to read the Book of Mormon. He has church penciled on his calendar for next Sunday and has asked his lifelong member friend if he could go with him. The missionaries will come visit him today and are planning on teaching from Alma 32 with him. He is still praying about everything we share with him and everything he reads in the Book of Mormon, and feels that Heavenly Father is really guiding him in his life right now.
We found a new investigator named Lexi this week .She is way cool! We met her on chat and she is very adamant about not getting our hopes up. She is Evangelical and her Grandpa is a member and she has always been very curious. But, lately as she has been learning more she has felt truth and has been doubting some of the things she has been taught.
We had an awesome lesson with her last night and she is going to church on Sunday. She really wants to make sure it is right before she goes open about it to her family, and I think that is way cool.
Briee is doing great! She is getting baptized on April 15th and really feels like Heavenly Father has led her here and this is His Restored Gospel.
Our other investigators are doing great and we are praying that we wil lbe able to help them to progress towards baptism and the Temple. I have felt SO blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in teaching them.
As I near this last week as a missionary, Alma really sums up how I feel. And I choose to end with this:
"12 Behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
16 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.
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name."
I know this is God's very work. I know Jesus Christ lives and I will serve Him for the rest of my life, and "praise His name forever." I will forever treasure this sacred time I have has as a missionary! The two things I always tell everyone are:
1. Work hard, play harder
2. Always be better today than you were yesterday
It's the key to success.
Thank you for all the prayers and support. I feel them, and they have helped to change my heart. May we all take full advantage of the Atonement so our hearts can be changed to become more like Christ.