"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." - Matthew 28:20
This Sunday we saw the baptism of Alan. It was a very special experience for me. He was the first person on my mission that I found purely from finding, taught, and whose baptism I was present for. He asked me to baptize him, and afterwards bore his testimony. He talked about how he was so glad that Elder Dedrick and I had stopped to talk to him that rainy night back in April when he was stacking wood. It was amazing for me to see how people can change, and by what small means a person's entire life can change.
Not only did we see a baptism this week, we also met or exceeded the Standards of Excellence in every single key indicator. What a great way to finish things off!
We were teaching a woman the Restoration on Saturday. After I shared the First Vision with her, I asked her what she thought. She responded, "That's way better than Google."
...A curious response.
At my very first transfer meeting back when I was assigned to be with my trainer ElderMolina, a departing elder performed a song that he had composed that had become a sort of unofficial theme song. The words of the chorus meant greatly to me then and mean much more to me now:
I'm just a fisherman;
Left all I know behind
To serve my Heavenly Father
With my whole heart and mind.
I can't save the world;
Just some souls along the way.
This is my chance to sacrifice;
These are my days.
In a few days the name tag will go off, but the mission is not over. The things I have learned are today, tomorrow, and forever principles. I will always be a missionary. These are my days.
I've thought long about what I wanted to share in this final email, and many grand and glorious thoughts came to me. However, I feel like I do not want to burden you with any of them.
I know that God is our Heavenly Father. The ultimate beginning of every story can be traced back to a sentence somewhere along these lines: "Once upon a time there was a Being who wanted there to be other things like Him."
That is the start of it all. And also the end purpose of it all. It provides the answer for why the Savior had to die, and then live again. The answer is eternal families. That is the reason for the earth we live on and everything that has transpired upon it. God wants us to be like Him, and with Him. He wants us to have a fullness of joy.
I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I am grateful that he had the courage to ask God for truth. I know that God will answer our prayers.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that President Monson is a prophet. I know that temple ordinances allow families to be sealed for time and all eternity.
And as for the Savior. When I was set apart to be a missionary, the promise was made that the Savior would be the third member of my companionship. This has been fulfilled, completely and beautifully. When I felt down, He was there. When I didn't think all that much of myself, He was there. There has never been a moment when He has not been by my side, and He always will.
After all, that was what He promised the apostles; His very last words to them. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Hurrah for Israel!