Monday, July 25, 2016
My dearest Family and Friends,
Well, I´ll be honest and say I´ve been trying to think about and plan out this letter for a long time now and no matter how hard I try I just can´t figure out what I want to say. How do you put a year and a half of the best experience of your life into one little email? There are so many feelings in my heart and so much I want to share. I can´t believe all that’s happened in this short time and all the growing and learning I´ve experienced. Part of me feels like I´m dying...like I´m leaving behind a part of my heart that will forever stay in this beautiful country. But the other part of me is so full of gratitude for this incredible experience and an excitement to be able to put everything into practice that the Lord has taught me. I think Ammon says it best in Alma 26 when he spends a whole chapter just glorying in the Lord and trying to put the joy of a missionary into words. In verse 16 it says, "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."
I honestly can´t express what I feel reflecting on this mission experience, however, one thing I do know for sure - One of the biggest feelings I have is of gratitude to the Lord. Another scripture from this same chapter has been on my mind and in my heart these past few weeks. Verses 11-12 say, "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom, but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak. Therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things, yea behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Here on my mission I have learned that I really am nothing. I am so weak, so imperfect, yet I have also seen the incredible strength of the Lord. I´ve learned to rely on him and seen that when I do, all things are possible. I have truly seen miracles in this last year and a half, and they happen EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! It´s not because of anything I am doing, it´s all thanks to Him and His infinite goodness.
In Alma 29: 9-10 it explains a little more, "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me, yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance, and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy, then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer, yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." I´ve only tried to be an instrument in the hands of God and as a result I´ve seen and felt that great love and joy. I´ve seen the Lord change the hearts of my brothers and sisters here and it´s reminded me how much he´s changed mine as well. He has been so good to me and so good to his children here in little Lima, Peru.
Last night I was making a little list of some of the things I´ve learned and I thought I´d share a few really quickly.
1. How to recognize and follow the spirit.
2. How to love a new culture and people
3. How to study the gospel and learn by the spirit
4. Obedience - The first law of Heaven
5. How to get along with so many types of people and love them
6. How to trust in the Lord and what it means to really have Faith in Christ
7. How to live a life of Service
8. The importance of Family
9. What it means to be a disciple of Christ
10. Gratitude for all I have
11. Covenants and ordinances are the key to eternal progression
12. The temple is the goal
13. How to be a leader and be humble
14. The power and importance of the atonement of Jesus Christ
15. How to live the gospel because I love it and understand why, not just because it´s what you do.
I´m out of time, but I testify that this work is true. I love my Savior. I’ve felt His love and seen His hand every day. Before I trusted that the Lord would help me create a beautiful life for myself, now I know how. I want to give my life in His service. I love him so much. I know this is His gospel and that He has restored his church on the earth in these latter days. I know we have a prophet who receives revelation from God. I will forever be grateful for this experience. I can´t wait to see you all soon and share these feelings in person. Love you all!!!!! HURRAH FOR ISREAL!!!
Visit back to San Roque
French toast in divisions with Hermana Ekins!!
What two north american missionaries do when they are together. :)