Dear lovely family and friends,
Well, this is my very last email home as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What a weird feeling. I have learned and changed so much over these past 18 months, and I am so grateful for every single second of this once in a lifetime adventure! The good times and the bad, because all have combined together to blend into the unique and delicious smoothie of who I am today! My testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, has grown SO MUCH, and my love for this gospel and God's children has also just sprouted like a bean plant. I can't believe that next week it will all be over. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the Dallas airport writing in my journal before I flew off to the MTC! But, now it's time to move on to another chapter of my life, and luckily the missionary work doesn't have to end! It's just different! Thank you all so much for your support and love throughout this last year and a half.
I want you all to know that I have a testimony of this gospel. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I've read it three times on my mission and each time I finish, the answer is the same. It's true!! I know with all my heart that it's true! And that it can change your life if you will let it. I know that God loves all of His children, and that He has given us a prophet on the earth today to lead and to guide us through these perilous times! I am so thankful for President Thomas S. Monson, and the sacrifices he has given to follow Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he really did see God and Jesus Christ appear to him, and that he really did translate the Book of Mormon! If you don't know that 100% for yourself, go find out. Don't shy away from the truth or the facts, or from praying to Heavenly Father and asking the direct source. Uncover every corner, do your research, and have the righteous desire to know the truth and gain your own testimony. I know that PRAYER WORKS. Get on your knees and pray. It will work—according to your faith and desire to do His will—but it will work. I also know that the primary song "Scripture Power" is SO TRUE. The scriptures bring us power to get through the days and weeks. My mom once said that reading in the scriptures is like drinking water. You can't just do it all at once and then be good for a couple days. It's a DAILY thing we need to do for our SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL. Don't let your spirit die of thirst for that knowledge and light contained in the scriptures.
I have learned so many things on my mission. A new language, how to get along with lots of different types of people, why you shouldn't buy purple toilet paper, the power of Satan—but also the stronger and more enduring power of God, what my favorite European chocolate is, the importance of good communication, how to be more self reliant, why having my own testimony is so important, etc. I've met some wonderful people who have changed my whole life for the better, and also some crazies that need Jesus. I'm so grateful for this time that I've been able to give up a part of my life to focus on helping others and serving God. I've been able to push and fight and smash my way through the thorns of trials and discouragement, and now I can come out on the other side of the rose patch and look back to see the beautiful roses and fruits of my labor!
I love you all so much! If you're interested, my new email at home will be:
Have a great week!
D&C 128:22 "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!"