Well, this may be the last letter I send you.
I'm beginning to really understand what President Uchtdorf said about beginnings and endings. I'd also like to add a bit of my own philosophy- We can only have peace with our temporary endings if we've made the most of the "middle". This time has been so full of "endings", and sometimes I feel tempted to make them all perfect, to do it really well and "go out with a bang", when it really doesn't need to be that way. It brings me peace to remember that this ending should just reflect the constant effort and love that I've felt all along the way.
Thomas, Yesenia, and Mayra did get baptized this week, and honestly, it was the best baptism of my whole mission. It went off without any problem, and the Spirit was sooo strong. They had several difficulties in this week- personal trials that Satan put in their path to try and impede them, but they came through each one with such faith and humility. In their baptismal service, they each shared their testimony of how happy they felt and how much this had changed their lives. Thomas made us all laugh as he told the story of how he came to know the church, and bore a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon.
Their parents were there, and they both cried. I felt the Spirit so deeply that I couldn`t even cry- I sang a solo with the ward choir as a musical number, and just felt so much of God`s love and happiness. We ate snacks after in the church and it was great to see the ward really take them in. I love being a missionary!!!!
Even if that means giving a talk in church with 5 minutes notice... I guess it had to happen to me sometime in the mission, right? Hermana Heslop and I had a nice little surprise this week but it was just another testimony of the power of the Spirit. We both did some power scripture searching and then went with the words that came. Especially since Yesy, Mayra, and Thomas` parents came to church, I think the topics we picked went over well. Hermana Heslop talked about Happiness and Blessings for the family that come from the gospel, and I talked about really feeling the reality of the restoration. Explained how the gospel of Jesus Christ, the literal Savior of the world, is once again in our hands, and how very exciting that is to me.
If there is anything that I hope you've been able to feel from my letters, it would be that. I really, really, love this great gospel plan. I know it is true. I feel it flow through every part of my being and I am so empassioned by the knowledge that I am a part of Jesus Christ's original church- Who else in the world has that privilege? No one!!! (Ok, well there are a few, but not very many.)
I just want to make everyone understand- God's literal son, a man who lived a perfect life and did everything out of sincere love for us, gave us the ticket to temporal and eternal happiness. He paid the price with His own death and left that tender truth in the hands of Peter, his chosen prophet, and the divinely endowed apostles that followed him. I tremble when I really think about it, but my ancient brothers and sisters did not accept the gospel plan. Not only did they reject Christ's reestablished church, but they killed each one of it's leaders and left the world desolate of God`s divine order. They lived that way for so many years--
Until God chose a young boy, unknown to the world's darkened touch, to be a prophet in this new age. Could God really do that? Call a prophet once again, after so much corruption, so many blasphemers and false preachers, and division of the truth?
How could He do anything else?? We are His beloved sons and daughters and He saw that once again, the world was ready to accept and protect the truth. Joseph Smith was a man called of God, called to the divine office of restoring Christ's gospel plan, and I know that. But that isn't the end of the story- ever since that day in 1820, God has continued revealing His secrets to his modern day prophets. How could He ever leave us without them?? I know that this is true, and that Thomas Monson speaks the will of God- I have felt it in my heart when I hear his words.
This is NOT a message that we need to memorize, mark with a red colored pencil, or put on the wall. This is a living truth that we must either participate in or deny. Will you be part of God's mission to preach and practice the restored truth?
I have a whole life ahead of me, and I know that I will.
The mission does not end here-