Wow. Life is just crazy, I'll tell you what! 18 months ago this Wednesday I stepped off a plane in Oklahoma City, having absolutely no knowledge about what it meant to be a missionary or about this state called Oklahoma, which I didn't think was very well-populated at all. Now my heart is full of gratitude for the experience that I've had here. It has been rich and diverse and more fulfilling than I ever imagined.
I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY MISSION. It has changed my life, but more than that it has taught me HOW to BECOME. And I think that's lesson 1. We are always becoming SOMETHING, but my mission taught me that I have COMPLETE control over WHO I become. I've learned to act, not to be acted upon.
I've learned to rely on the Spirit and I've learned what it feels like to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
I've learned that time is a precious thing and how we uses it reflects how precious we consider this life to be.
I've learned how to study and gain revelation from the scriptures.
I've learned how to endure, but I bet that will probably be tested later :).
I've learned how to love others, even if you don't like them.
I've learned how to strengthen my testimony through adversity.
I've learned who God and Jesus Christ are to ME. Not that they're just my Father and my Savior, but I know who they are to ME and the individual relationship I have with them.
I've learned to rely on prayer.
I've learned to rely on the Priesthood. Priesthood keys are real.
I've learned that there is such thing as having too many animals.
I've learned how do drive on a dirt road in a car that was not designed for it.
I've learned that becoming complacent in your testimony is a dangerous place to be. We must ALWAYS keep progressing. Satan gets all the fence sitters.
I've learned how to apply the Atonement of Christ.
I've learned that I don't need to be perfect, but that Heavenly Father is pleased with my SLOW but STEADY progress.
I've learned the people are not what they seem. You really don't know a person until you invest time into getting to know them.
I've learned that sometimes the best service you can give to someone is to listen to them Okie-talk and eat their food.
I've learned that the gospel and the church truly are the same no matter where you go.
I've learned the power of a simple, sincere testimony.
I've learned how to talk to strangers. Still not my favorite activity but I can do it.
I've learned to love myself. It doesn't matter what other people think, I'm happy with myself the way I am because who I am is who God wants me to be.
I've learned that fried food is indeed delicious, but it does make you gain excessive pounds.
I've learned that everyone has hopes and dreams that are just as important to them as mine are to me.
I've learned that I will never stop being a missionary.
I've learned that everyone desires to serve God, and that all churches have wonderful truths. We can all learn something from one another.
I've learned that my mission is both a culmination of my first 19 years of life as well as a step in my eternity. I've learned far more than I've accomplished.
And finally, I've learned that there are no coincidences. God always places us WHERE He needs us WHEN He needs us there. Sometimes our influence is not always easily recognizable to ourselves, but it means a lot to the lives we were meant to touch.
Those aren't all the lessons I've learned, of course, but there a good few. I can't wait to go home and apply what I've learned, and I can't wait to reconnect with the people and places I've left behind. My mission life is almost over, and it feels a lot like this scripture describes:
And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream.
It really has passed like a dream, but it's been the best 18 months of my life.
See you on Thursday.
Love you all.
The church is true.
If you don't know it yet, read the Book of Mormon. There's is so much in there that you are missing out on.
Para siempre Dios este con Vos!!
Hiding from the 'nader this week.
Did you know that chicken fried steak is the official food of Oklahoma or something like that?
My very own funeral. The guns are a long story... Basically it's what I get for being in an all-elder district.