Monday, July 21, 2014

The Beginning of a New Mission

     Hello Family!  Well, here we are...  I really can´t believe that I´m already done.  Time has gone by way too fast.  I don´t even know where to start.  I have so many emotions going through my mind right now, I couldn´t even try to explain everything over email.  I will tell you all one thing though, ending the mission is really hard.  After being so close to the Spirit, having so many spiritual experiences, having the chance to share the Gospel every moment of every day, getting to know the great people here in Guatemala...  It´s hard.  But it happens to every one of us, así que I´ve got to do it.

    Don´t get me wrong, I´m really excited to see everyone of you guys again!  But after being two years straight as a missionary, if I take a while to get a little readjusted to real life, you´ll probably realize why.   

     The mission overall has been amazing.  It wasn´t exactly like I expected, but it was so much better.  I have learned so much about how to be a better man in life, and that is experience that is invaluable for me.  Humility, knowledge, love, and so much more.  All these things I have learned in the mission, and I am ready to put it all into practice when I get home.

     One thing that I will really miss about this place are the people here.  I would have never guessed how much these people would have affected me before the mission.  But they have.  I love them so much, and have learned so much from them.  These people that sacrifice so much will always hold a place in my heart, and if I ever have the chance, I will do everything I can to make their lives better!  I feel great that I have been doing it for the last two years, and I hope that the people that have touched my life will always remember that. 

    There are so many habits that I have gained in the mission that I want to take home with me, especially my time in the morning.  Preparation, study, exercise, and all that I hope to keep up after the mission.  Things just go so much better when you start off your day on the right foot, and from what I´ve seen here, that is the way to do it.

     Also, just doing the little things while going about my business is something that I want to keep up.  Stuff like helping a man collect wood on the side of the road, washing dishes after eating, giving a helping hand, just stuff like that.  Little acts of service, little acts of love is what I´m getting at.  If we can all just follow the example of Christ, where He didn´t mind getting held back a little bit just to help someone, we will be better people.  Love the world, and the world will love you back.

     But more than everything, the thing I´ve most gained from the mission is my personal relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is something that I really can´t explain with words, but I know with all my soul.  He is my Redeemer, and has made everything that I ever have done, everything that I am doing, and everything that I ever will do possible.  I will be forever grateful for His sacrifice.  It only makes sense in my mind to give everything that I have in order to thank Him for everything.

     I had my final interview with President Smith on Thursday, and man was that great.  We talked a lot about my goals after my mission, and what I should do to get going as soon as possible.  But at the end, we started talking about knowing for sure in the Lord has accepted our sacrifice.  And in a way only the Spirit can work, and with the help of President Smith, I knew that the Lord accepted my work.  And I am so grateful for that confirmation.  Of course, I wasn´t perfect, but I know that I gave it my all, and better yet, I know that the Lord is pleased.  That final interview has been one of the highlights of my mission.

     Whew...  I really don´t know what to think right now.  My thoughts have just been going crazy, so if this email seems really jumbled, that´s why.

     Being here in Guatemala, sharing my testimonio daily, has strengthened my testimony is ways that I can´t even explain.  I´ve always had a testimony about this church, but now I know without a doubt that what I have been doing the last two years is in the Lord´s hands.  This is His church.  There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever.  It just makes sense to me.  Jesus is the Christ, and He is at the head of this church.  Now, that´s not everything I need.  I need to act on the knowledge I´ve gained.  It means nothing to me to know all this, and do nothing about it.  Now is the time in my life to act, and I´m ready to do it.  

     I can´t thank all of you enough for all the support you have all given me throughout my mission.  It really has meant so much to me.  Thank you all so much.  For those of you out on the mission, don´t worry, I´ll write.  I promise, because I know how it is.  Thank you all for getting me here to where I am now.  I love you all so much.  

    "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:  and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."  2 Timothy 4:7-8.  Until next time!  (On Thursday!)

     - Elder Stuart

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