July 1, 2013
Hey there everyone! :)
Well, this is it, right? A little over 2 years ago I entered the MTC, got a badge and cracked open a fresh Preach My Gospel. I remember how weird of a morning that was, since you all, Mom and Dad and Sean and Jennie, left that morning before I left for the MTC officially. As Sherrie and Sims dropped me off I remember looking around at the other missionaries and seeing almost all of them cry with their families as they said goodbye. I felt so heartless since I didn't really have THAT close of a connection to Sherrie and Sims; I just gave them a hug and then went off to work. I remember thinking "man, why are all these guys crying? It's not that bad!"
I never would have thought 2 years ago that I would cry so much. I never would have guessed that I'd love Russia so much. I never thought I'd see so many miracles and be a part of such a great work. It's times like this where I'm so amazed. For 2 years I served amongst some of the best people that live on this good Earth, especially in these last few months here in Balakova. This has been my life.
For the last couple of weeks I've woken up in the morning, looked outside and wondered to myself "how can I come home and not do this?". Maybe it sounds dumb, but imagine that for 2 years every morning for breakfast you've had eggs, bacon and toast. It just never gets old! And then, suddenly, someone puts a bowl of cereal in front of you one morning or a breakfast burrito. It's weird! Sure, it's probably tasty, but it's just not what you've had for the past forever.
I still can't imagine what it'll really be like, walking down the streets of White Rock and not stopping people and talking to them in Russian about the Gospel. I can't imagine getting on a bus and not trying to strike up a conversation in Russian. What am I supposed to do instead of teaching people, instead of taking care of my district, instead of all of this? These thoughts, and others, had been getting me down...until Sunday!
Sunday was probably one of the biggest miracles of my life. Have you all watched the broadcast called "The Work of Salvation"? Didn't every single one of you cry during that video of the family all doing missionary work? I died! It was pretty funny actually, and it's ok if you didn't cry, since no one other than me did, but that video and that whole broadcast brought me the comfort I've been looking for for the past couple of weeks. I can, should, and will be a missionary, even after I return back from Russia. I've still got work to do, lots of it, and the Lord is hastening the work.
I've seen this everywhere I've gone. If the members work with the missionaries, then everyone has stuff to do and there is an abundance of blessings poured on everyone. If we don't have the missionaries signed up to visit us during the first or second week of me being back, we've got to invite them! There's so much I want to do, and I think the Lord is giving me some time to be in White Rock not just to do a bit of yard work (though that certainly is a big reason!) but also in order to do some good there in His kingdom before I go back to BYU-I.
I don't know what the Lord has in mind, but I do know that it will be spectacular. We saw that this week here too. V is doing such a great job in quitting smoking and drinking. N and N have returned from Moscow and are that much more eager now to meet with us, come to Church and pray. Our potential investigators are becoming progressing investigators and the Sisters are having success in their area too. S got the Melch. Priesthood and L is on his way to getting it. Sister R gave a wonderful talk in Church on Sunday and the Branch is growing in faith and unity.
Gosh! Isn't this just the best? Don't you just feel so good about everything? I wish I could save this feeling in my heart forever, this faith and knowledge that really everything is going to work out. And not jsut work out, but it's going to be glorious. I want to work hard, and I want people to come to know the truth which I know and have taught for the past two years.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. It's God's Church. The Book of Mormon is true and it bears witness that God the Father lives and that His son, Jesus Christ, is the redeemer and savior of the world. It is scripture, and is so plainly written, even in Russian, so that anyone who sincerely seeks truth will find it abundantly upon the pages of that book. That's just how it is. I know it's true. And I know that if you don't know it's true, that you can know for yourself, because God loves you. I know God loves you, because He loves me and I've seen His love and His abundant mercy applied in my life and in the lives of those around me.
This is my testimony, and, I guess, the final letter of my mission. It's been good, and it'll keep getting better. I love you all so much. I know I say it nearly every week, but I want you to know that I really do appreciate all of your letters, thoughts and prayers in my behalf. I've felt it. Thank you again, and I love you.
Until next week :)