Wow... my final weekly letter to y'all. I'm not sure how I feel about this! Very bitter sweet.
I'd like to start by thanking all of you for the love and support that I've received throughout my time here in Alabama. It's definitely gotten me through some hard times and I appreciate it all so much. To the missionaries who I've sent this to as well, I didn't send this to the whole mission... so feel special haha I love each of you and am grateful to have be able to serve around you and grow close to each of you. Keeping working hard and being obedient!
During my mission, I've been blessed to learn so many different things. I'm so grateful for these two years that I've been able to spend in Alabama.
Out of all the different things that I've learned while serving the Lord, here are just three that I thought I'd share.
First, we truly are nothing without the help of the Lord, but with His help we can accomplish anything. Alma 26:12 reads "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" My mission has been the most humbling experience and I'm so grateful for that. I know that ALL I am and ALL I have is from the Lord and I will forever be grateful to Him. As I've given up my will these past two years, I've watched as He is then able to support me and give me more strength and happiness than I've ever been able to attain from my own efforts. Which leads me into my second thought....
Second, true happiness comes when we forget about our own needs and desires and focus on others. "Turn our arrows out!" This past two years have been some of the most challenging times... but amazingly, they've also been some of my happiest times in my life! I've learned the power of selflessness. Christ lived a completely selfless life, and I've learned that as I try to follow His example and do the same, I experience a level of happiness that I have never before fully experienced to this degree. As we "forget ourselves and go to work", that's when the Lord can mold and shape us into true disciples. "By helping others come unto him, you will find that you have come unto him yourself." -Henry B. Eyring
Third, we need to make sure that our testimonies and understanding of the gospel are constantly increasing and growing. If not, both will end up declining and becoming weaker and weaker. I've learned that, in order for my relationship with Christ and my testimony of Him to grow, He needs to be my focus in life. The Savior won't scream and shout to have our attention. He will wait patiently for us to turn to Him and put all other aspects of life aside. And then, when we make that step, he blesses us in those other aspects of life. Matthew reads "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." As I've been on my mission, I've gone through times were I wasn't as focused completely on Christ as I should've been. During those times I discovered that the development of my testimony and relationship with Christ had slowed down tremendously. I've also seen the opposite times during my mission, where I was completely focusing all my time and attention to serving Christ, and my relationship with Him and my testimony of the gospel grew stronger and stronger. This is something that my mission has taught me that I hope I never forget!
Words can't describe how grateful I am for this time that I have been able to spend serving here in Alabama, with all of the amazing missionaries here. I was blessed to be able to serve with both President and Sister Hanks and President and Sister Sainsbury, all of whom I'm so grateful for. My life has forever been changed because of the ABM and I will always be Steadfast in Christ because of it.
My relationship with the Lord has grown so much as I've given these two years of my life to Him. I bare a simple testimony to y'all that the Savior lives, He loves each one of us more than we can comprehend, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is His true church restored on the earth today.
Love, for the last time,
Steadfast in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
p.s. To explain the title of this email, when a missionary finishes his/her mission they're referred to as dying/dead...so I burnt an old suit hahaha