What does one say in the last letter home?
First of all I would like to send a big thank you to my mom, Pam Millet, for all she has done to help with my blog.
When it first began, I just wanted to have a way to share with friends and family my experiences from the mission. As I have written, my thoughts have really just been directed toward my family and it has been a way to personally process what I am experiencing and learning. At times I worry about if what I'm writing in this crazy hour we have to email makes sense or really expresses what I would want to share with the whole world, but it really has come to be a completely candid view of my experience in the mission. The good, the bad, and the beautiful.
Through all of the work that my mom has put in I have seen even more miracles than the ones that are seen in my letters. I have made friends that are now close to my heart and now serving their own missions, I have been able to share advice and feel connected to new missionaries coming into the mission, I have found querido amigos (dear friends) here in Argentina, and I hope I have been able to share my testimony with all. I hope that some of the experiences that I have had have been able to affect the lives of others and that the spirit has been able to testify of the truthfulness of this work and of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All this is thanks to my best friend and my mom. She, my dad and my sister have written me every week of my mission without fail and it has been what has gotten me through the hard times and given me extra needed strength. I want to publically thank them for their love and support, for being such a big part of my mission and the opportunity I have had to bear my testimony to numerous others.
Second, big news for the week. On Thursday during companionship study I received a call from President Robertson indicating that there was a possibility that he would need to shut down my area. He asked about our progressing investigators and what my opinion was. My stomach sank as I stood from my chair and looked out the window at this beautiful city. My eyes went to the map on our wall marked with all of our menos activos (less actives), conversos (converts) and investigators, and as tears began to fill my eyes I told him the truth. Although I love this area and I love these people, they will be okay. They are not ready to be baptized in the coming weeks and if my companion is needed elsewhere, we could shut down Ramos. The next few days were a haze.
That night we got the confirming call that we would be shut down and leave to our new areas on Saturday. Friday morning we packed and then spent the day preparing our members, converts and investigators for the change and saying our goodbyes. Most of them didn't believe us or understand at first. They had been prepared for my departure on Thursday but we had assured them my companion would be staying. There were lots of tears and hugs, or really firm handshakes in some cases, and then we left.
Saturday morning after our devotional with Elder Christofferson, we headed to the church to receive our assignments. Hermana Urbanawiz is opening up Junin (CAMPO-YES!) with Hermana Leiva. She deserves it. She will love it. And Hermana Leiva will be soo great for her. I am in a trio with Hermana Medeyro and Hermana Durfee in Atalaya. They are wonderful, I already know them and I already know Atalaya. It's a weird feeling to be in middle land, not leaving quite yet, but not really part of the area; however, I know this is what the mission and the Lord needed. I am learning so much from these hermanas and know that I can still see miracles in these last few days. As I thought with sadness on the farewells I wasn't able to make and the asados that were not to be eaten I was reminded once again of my purpose. I am here to serve the Lord wherever I am called. I am so excited to give my all in these last few days and keep growing and learning.
Third, devotional with Elder Christofferson. It was amazing! I got to sit on the front row and eat up all of his wonderful words of advice. He gave us so much great insight into the atonement, teaching etc. but what touched me personally was his apostolic promise he pronounced upon us. It was incredible. It's impossible to describe the spirit that we felt as we listened to his words. As you know, I had a few weeks this transfer in which I really doubted whether I really had done all I could, if I had really accomplished what the Lord wanted of me. Some of Elder Christofferson's final words were, "The Lord accepts your offering. He is pleased with your efforts. You will be blessed to receive this testimony if it is what you desire." I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face as I felt the spirit testify to me personally that the Lord has accepted my efforts. They were not perfect, I am not perfect, but He accepts what I have been able to give. It was an incredible experience, one for which I will forever be grateful.
Finally, I would like to share a few thoughts I have learned throughout the mission. I have done a lot of contemplating during personal study this week and I think it boils down to a few lessons learned:
1. God is merciful, patient and loving.
2. Fullness of joy in the gospel comes in families.
3. There is ALWAYS room for more faith.
4. True conversion, true happiness, requires constant repentance and change.
5. It all comes down to the Book of Mormon.
6. There is only one true church. This is it.
7. Nothing replaces prayer.
8. The greatest anecdote to disanimo (discouragement) is service. The greatest act of service is sharing the gospel.
9. God has a perfect plan. It is so big yet so small.
10. Jesus Christ is my Savior.
I am so incredibly grateful to my Heavenly Father for this chance to serve Him. But he has given me so much more. My testimony is so much deeper, my conviction to live his gospel so much stronger and my love for the savior so much more profound. I know without a doubt that this is the true church and the only way to receive all that our father has to offer. I know He loves me and has a plan for me. The mission has been the best experience of my life so far. I am so sad to leave this work, this country and these people but I know it keeps going. That's the best part.
I can't wait to see you all on Friday and hug you! Have a wonderful week!