For the last year and a half, I have written emails home every week including stories and experiences of the changes I have seen in people's lives due to the gospel. Sitting down for the last time in a little internet cafe in Guatemala, this time I am going to write a little more personal. This week's letter will be focused on the change in my own life.
18 months ago, I left my home to come to Guatemala...in just three days, I am leaving my home to go to the United States. It's crazy how before the mission, I thought serving Christ for 18 months would somehow repay a small amount of the debt I owed to Him, but I'm just returning in even more debt.
Mark 5:19 "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." I came to Guatemala with my bags packed with new, unmarked spanish scriptures, empty journals, new shoes, an average testimony and a heart somewhat lacking faith. I'm returning with the same scriptures that now need to be rebound because of their use, my journals now filled with notes from conferences and experiences, only one pair of shoes that a widow gave to me even though it only left her with one other pair, a testimony that will carry me throughout my life and a heart that is now filled with hope and love for my Savior.
I'm returning with new eyes that have seen people in the hardest circumstances change their lives through the atoning powers of Christ. I'm returning with new ears that have heard their own testimonies shared with their tears. I'm returning with stories of His angels protecting me from dangerous situations and supporting me through hard days and sicknesses. I'm returning with a greater knowledge of my faults and debilities, but with a great dependance on my Savior to make me stronger. And I'm returning with a greater idea of who I am supposed to be. It will take my whole life to become who He wants me to be, but I finally know that it is possible to be lifted up by His hands. It will also take my whole life to come to know Him, but I finally know it is possible to let Him change us. Before the mission, I knew He was my Savior, but now I believe it. I knew that God existed, but now I believe it. I knew that He loves his children, but now I believe it. And now I feel it.
My greatest convert has become myself and I finally understand what God's purpose is...to help us back to Him. Everything He does is based on this purpose. I know He called prophets in the Old and New testaments, and I know He called prophets in the Americas. All of their writings and stories are to help us prepare to return to Him. I know that a young boy, Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ and they responded to his question. With all the confusion in the world, there was a need for another prophet so that we can know that there is a plan of happiness, that there is hope and faith and that there is a Savior. So that we could recieve the fulness of the gospel with all the scriptures and revelations to give us a purpose, to give us a light in our lives. I love these people, I love this country, I love these experiences, I love the culture, I love my companions, I love the leaders, I love seeing His hand every day... and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true and not only has it changed every aspect in my life, it will continue to change me. God sent me here to Guatemala to share His gospel and now He is sending me home to my family and to my friends to "tell them how great things the Lord hath done for (me) and hath had compassion on (me)." Iré y haré.
I'll see you soon,