I'd like o start off this letter saying that my mission has been the best two years of my life, but.....I'd also like to make it clear that it has been the best two years for my life. I know of no other oportunity in the world for an 18 or 19 year old young man or woman to be able to learn so much, in so little time, at a great price. Serving a two year mission for the Lord has changed my life. The Lord has changed me.
35 Nevertheless they did afast and bpray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their chumility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the dpurifying and the esanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their fyielding their hearts unto God.
The Lord can't do anything with our weaknessess unless we allow Him to do so. One of the lessons I've learned is the importance to recognize my weaknesses. If recognition doesn't take place then it is't fairly hard for us to have the desire to repent and change something we don't think needs to be changed. Repentance is long lasting and real when it comes from an inner desire to change. I've taught many investigators that took steps towards repentance just to please us or other people, but when I saw in other investigators a sincere desire to follow Christ and repent of their sins, that is when I saw true conversion. I still have many weaknesses and know that the Lord will continue to help me with those as long as I recognize them. Another interesting thing is that 30 years down the road I'll recognize in me a weakness that I knew I had. I wonder what I can do to accelerate this process of repentance?
The second thing I learned is the importance of doing the small things like daily prayer, scripture study, and obedience. While keeping these things as part of my daily life I know that It will be easier to recognize the things that I need to do better.
Another important thing that I have learned on my mission is the key to happiness. First off....happiness is a choice, and happiness comes through our righteous choices. It is not dependant on our circumstances, but how we choose to react to our circumstances. Money does not bring happiness. I have seen countless families who struggle financially but have a deep happiness that is found in their daily choices to follow Jesus Christ. However, what does one do when they are making righteous decisions and are following Jesus Christ but still feel discouraged or depressed? This is when I remember Mosiah 24:10-16. I know that when we pray for help after we've done everything we can, the Lord will do the rest.
I've learned the importance of the family. I've been blessed to serve in this country at this time when, as missionaries, we have focused on teaching and baptizing and helping families go to the temple. Because of this focus, my entire mission I have interacted with so many amazing families. Amazing, because I saw the change that came into their lives as they took the steps to follow Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families, that is one of the first points in the Restoration.
I have also learned more of the importance of not only doing things, but doing them well. For example, I don't know how many times I've taught the Restoration lesson on my mission but what I do know, is that tonight when I teach the new family we have marked it will be the first time they will hear this message. It doesn't matter how many times I've done it in the past, but this next one needs to be the best. Throughout the rest of my life there will be many other things that I will do repeatedly everyday. For example, in my career.. Every next day needs to be better than the other.
I know the atonement is powerful, eternal, and perfect, if it weren't then one day we also wouldn't be able to become powerful, eternal, and perfect. I know that the true Church of God is once more upon the earth. I love Mozambique and these people. I love to serve. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.