Family! December 15, 2014
I don't even know how to start explaining all the emotions that I'm feeling right now.... I think today is the first day that it's actually starting to hit me that I will see you guys in less than 3 days! what. I am sooo excited to see you guys. It's been way too long ;) haha but at the same time.... I feel like my heart is getting ripped apart... :( the thought of leaving these people is killing me... I hate goodbyes... but I'm looking at my future with hope :)
I don't even know how to describe my last week of my mission. It was a definitely a unique week haha The whole mission has seemed to have come down with the flu really badly all at once. It's pretty crazy. Luckily, I haven't gotten it!! But there have been so many sisters that have.... we had 3 different companionships call wanting us to go on exchanges with them throughout the week because they were going crazy staying in the area while their companion was trying to get better... so we were all over the place trying to help out these sisters! It was a great experience though of going out and working with those sisters. There is nothing like working with a smile on your face, spirit in your heart and sharing the "good news" of the gospel with everyone that you see :) It really does make your day so much brighter as you go out, forget about yourself, and think upon the needs of those around you. :)
I have to admit that because of all the stress of things going on last week, trying to keep working hard in the area, me trying to push myself to work my hardest to the end, and then stressing myself out with coming home gave me really bad stomach aches and I haven't slept much haha so.... hopefully I look presentable as I come home totally sleep deprived. ha! I'm doing just fine so don't worry! It's just been interesting to deal with the last week!
It's been really bittersweet saying goodbye to people. We had Marvin, Sylotte and Dave at church yesterday! Brother Hopfer in the bishopric surprised me when he announced at the end of the sacrament meeting that he wanted me to bare my testimony again to the ward before I leave. I bore my testimony of being a daughter of God, that Jesus is the Christ and that although I am just one voice and one person...that I know that God helps us proclaim that joyful news of the restored gospel as we share it. I am so grateful that I have had these 18 months (and two weeks!) to give all of my time and attention to sharing it with others. This will be a time that I never forget.
I taught the Restoration for the last time as a missionary last week with a sister that is going home with me... it was one of the most powerful lessons that I have taught. I felt the love of God SOOOO strongly through the whole lesson as we bore testimony of the love that He is has that He has given us His plan, families to bless us, prophets to lead and guide us, that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son", and that He loves us all sooo much and wants us to know the truths of the gospel that He Himself and Jesus Christ came and appeared to Joseph Smith for the restoration of the gospel in this last dispensation. We are so loved :) It feels my heart with sooo much joy as I ponder on how blessed we are to have a Father that loves us unconditionally.
I just finished reading the book of Mark a couple days ago and the last several versus of Mark have stayed with me... The last commandment that Jesus Christ left with the apostles before He ascended to the Father was, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) I can only imagine those last moments of being with the Savior. After seeing so many miracles, feeling the spirit of the Lord in their hearts, watching the example of the Savior in word and deed as He laid down His life for all of us.. as they witnessed the Resurrection of the Lord and knowing of a surety the divinity of His calling as the Son of God... what a heart wrenching but glorious moment for Jesus Christ to plead with the apostles to go and share all that they have witnessed to others. I'm sure that Jesus pleaded with the apostles to "preach the gospel with every creature" with so much urgency!
Mark 16:19-20: "So then after the Lord had spoken unto [the apostles], he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, THE LORD WORKING WITH THEM, and confirming the word with signs following."
I love these last two scriptures!! After the sad, but glorious departure of Jesus Christ from his apostles into heaven... the disciples went out and preached the gospel. The wonderful thing is that although the apostles didn't SEE, HEAR or WALK with Jesus Christ preaching the gospel as they had before... "the Lord [was] working with them" and they were able to see His heavenly hand in their work.
I know that the Lord has commanded us to go and "preach the gospel to every creature" as He pleaded with the apostles to do. Sharing the gospel can be uncomfortable, scary and even awkward at times... but there is so much comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father (Moses 1:39) are very, very much apart of this work. They will be there to bless us, soften the hearts of those that are searching for the gospel and prepare those to receive the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ didn't just command us to share the gospel with others for the benefit and salvation of others.. but so that we too can grow in love, understanding and testimony of this gospel... so that we too may be saved :)
I can't express my sincere gratitude for my Father in Heaven. I will never forget these people, the testimony that I have gained, the mercy and grace of our Savior, the miracles that I have seen and this sacred place of Florida where I myself have found Christ as I have helped others do the same.
I know that there is no other way that we can find the fullness of truth, spirit, happiness and the power of the Atonement than through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ found within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This time of my life will always bring me to tears of joy as I reflect on these last 18 months.
With all that said.... I'm can't believe that I'm packing up today... and will see you all in just a few days... :) It's been so bittersweet being away from you all... and I can't wait to give you all big hugs and share my testimony and experiences with you!!
I hope that you all have a good couple days ;) Good luck with finals.. and Angie, please get feeling better!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
Well.... I guess I'll see you soon?? :)