Honestly, I keep thinking that I couldn't be filled with more emotion, and then BAM. There is goes and steps it up a notch. I’ve never felt so much joy, anticipation, anxiety, or love more than I have this past little while.
The power of prayer is so powerful, and I am so grateful for it. I have really been having a hard time with the idea of going home, and I can honestly say now that God has helped to comfort my heart. And, as always, went above and beyond to not only comfort me, but to help me to be excited. I know that it is not going to be easy, but I’m so grateful for the support from loved ones and my Heavenly Father to help me make this transition into my new life.
What better way to end my mission than to be able to hear from the Prophet and Apostles? I am so grateful for their inspired words, and the personal revelation that it brings to me through the Spirit. I am grateful to be able to apply their counsel into my life as I make this critical but sometimes scary transition in life. I could feel a sense of urgency in each of the voices of the speakers as they encouraged us over and over again in different ways to just LIVE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. I love how simple the Gospel is, and they really are trying to bring the church back to the basics. The simple yet critical daily tasks like reading our scriptures, praying FERVENTLY, partaking of the sacrament, and temple attendance are the ways that we will find true joy in gaining a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. With the passing of 3 Apostles, I am continually made grateful for the blessed fact that we have living Apostles and a Prophet on the earth today for us to listen to. I feel my Saviors love personally every time I think of the fact that the priesthood has again been restored to the earth, and that I get to live in a time that has it, and I am able to enjoy it.
I am so grateful for my mission. I can’t say it enough. I can’t even begin to express the things that I have learned and felt. I can only say that they will be with me for the rest of my life. As we sang "How Firm a Foundation" in conference, I pondered on the words and, for the first time, I saw it in a different light. I feel like it applies to me a lot right now in my circumstance as a missionary.
Verse 1 is first gaining the faith to serve a mission-
How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
I feel like the following verses describe entering into the mission and serving in sometimes daunting times-
In ev'ry condition--in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea--
As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
Verse 5 describes the “why” behind our trials, and I feel can relate to returning home-
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
And the final verses indicated the fifth and final step of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is to endure to the end and have the strength through living the Gospel.
E'en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov'reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!
I add my testimony, and second the final declaration given in this beautiful hymn. I know that my Savior lives. I know He loves each of us, and has given us His gospel so that we can be happy, and reach the potential that He sees in each of us. I know through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that each and every one of us can be healed of our aching. No matter if the aching comes from sinful actions on our part, or simply as the result of the hard times that come to us while living in mortality. I testify that He reaches out to each and every one of His sheep, and will never leave us alone. I have a responsibility, by the knowledge and experiences that I have received, to continue to preach the Gospel to the world, and uphold that example in my very own life. I second the final powerful words of this inspired hymn:
I'll NEVER, no NEVER, no NEVER forsake!
I love you all. Thank you for your never-ending support to me!
Love - for the last time as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,