We got transfer calls on Saturday night. I'm getting transferred! Home!
It's been a really good week. A great week to end on.
Last week as I was looking towards today, I didn't think I'd be able to function, because of so much anticipation, anxiety, excitement, etc. But I'm doing fine! I set up an appointment for tonight at the Beans' house (from the Coal Mine Ward) with Ashleigh from the singles' ward! That will be my very last teaching appointment as a full-time missionary.
Tomorrow morning we have to be at the mission office church building at 6:35 a.m., where I'll take my seat on the stand as a departing missionary. I, along with all the elders who came out with me and two sisters who came out six months later, will recite Doctrine and Covenants section 4. Then we'll see the transfers and have the opportunity to bear our testimonies. After that everyone goes back to their area and gets to work; except for us. We'll go to President Murdock's house for a very leisurely breakfast, then head to the temple at 1:00. We'll spend three hours there participating in whatever ordinances we choose. We have to be back to President's house at a certain time that evening for our farewell dinner and departing devotional. At some point during the day we'll also have our final interview with President Murdock. This day sounds really fun; I've been looking forward to it for a long time! Then we'll get up on Wednesday and head off to the Denver International Airport.
So it's more or less officially over... It's been a really good two years. It's been really hard as well. But I've learned a lot, and grown in many ways. I feel good about my mission.
I said I've learned a lot, and that's very true. I decided the other day to try and write down a few of the more important things I've learned. Here's the list (in no particular order):
24 Things I've Learned in the Past 24 Months
1. Attempting to gratify one's pride leads to contention and is never satisfying.
2. Change generally takes time.
3. To be truly happy, we must give our will and our whole heart to the Lord.
4. Faith without action is not faith at all; it is vain hope.
5. "Obedience is...a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence." -L. Tom Perry
6.Clean things' physically and spiritually, bring peace.
7. "God hears my secret prayer." -Hymns, 144
8. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful witness of Christ we can ever read. I love the Book of Mormon.
9. Daily prayer and scripture study are indispensable keys to lasting conversion.
10. No matter our trials or circumstances, the Gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ will help.
11. Humility is a great strength.
12. The Savior lifts, encourages, and inspires others. We should do the same.
13. "[I]t must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." -2 Nephi 2:11
14. We truly are in the last days.
15. Through Christ we can overcome anything.
16. Christlike love is the greatest of all feelings.
17. "[T]hrough the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved," (A. of F. 1:3) and without it, no one can.
18. "Keeping the commandments brings blessings, every time!
Breaking the commandments brings a loss of blessings, every time!"
-Russell M. Nelson
19. "[The Lord is] able to do [His] own work." -2 Nephi 27:21
20. Procrastination is painful.
21. Family is the greatest treasure on earth and in eternity.
22. Missionary work cannot succeed without members.
23. The Book of Mormon is powerful evidence of the Restoration of the Gospel.
24. Christ is at the head of this Church, and this is His work.
And a few practical things I've learned:
· How to drive in a blizzard
· Never offer leftovers to a Mexican.
· Weather is unpredictable.
· How to speak (Mexican) Spanish
· A Mexican will almost never tell you no (unless you offer him leftovers).
· Some dogs bite for no good reason.
So, I'd say it's been a productive couple of years. Thank you all for all of your love, support, letters, thoughts, and prayers. It means the world to me. I know this is the Lord's work, and I know this is His Church. I've had the privilege of suffering fatigue and ridicule, of being mocked and cast out for Christ's sake. I've had the name of Jesus Christ pinned to my chest for all to see. I've born countless testimonies to countless people from all walks of life, and my testimony has grown in the process. Mine has been the privilege of walking with the Savior for the past two years, and I'll continue to stand as His witness forever! Nothing can compare to this experience. I love my Savior, and I know He lives!
I'll see you soon.