|I found Martinelli's! WIN!|
|Lisseth and Christopher--adorable, happy family!|
|¡Viva la obra misional!|
|Rag curls! Old habits never die!|
|We had a salon day with our "fairy godmother", Hna Yolanda. I haven't had my hair this pretty in 18 months!|
Well, this is weird. It's last letter time.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how my mission would be as a musical. (It would be really, really awesome. I'm going to start working on it when I get home.) But I went on a mental summary of the last eighteen months: the excitement, the heat, the mosquitos, the ants, the trainer, the trainees, the buses, the gipers, the baptisms, the miracles...it's been wonderful.
Eighteen months ago, I could not have imagined where I am now. We were expressing to someone how fast the two years of their mission are going to go by. I said, "Yeah, two years are quick, two years ago, I was...waiting to put my papers in. Weird." And it is weird. Because the girl who submitted her papers to serve a mission two years ago has faded away. The girl who left the Mexico MTC 18 months ago has faded away. I'm still me, but I'm not her. I think back on who I was, and what I wanted, and it still seems like a good idea. But the Lord has used these past months to teach me something so much better.
I know that this church is true. I know that Christ lives and is at the helm of His gospel. I know that He has left the instructions for us to follow, and that we are blessed when we do what He asks of us. I have seen those blessings in my life and in the lives of others. I saw the blessings of baptism in the lives of Cándido, Gladis, Yeimy, Isis, Giovani, Maria Louisa, Cinthia, Josly, Loany, Denia, Leiser, Angi, Victor, Marco Tulio, Maria, Jamie, Marquito, Odalis, Walquidia, Axel, Bairon, and Lisseth. I saw the blessings of true conversion, aside from those, in the lives of countess others, especially Julio Cesar, Sonia, Alysson, Marlin, Estefany, Anita, and Josue. I am seeing them now in Antonio's life, in Nelson's life, in Karen's life, and in mine.
I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father loves us and cares about us. It has been an incomprable blessing of my missionary service to feel that love flowing through me to lift someone else. Those have been the moments that have left me in tears, more than any others. The exposure to that magnitude of love has time and again proven overwhelming, but in the sweetest and most wonderful way imaginable.
I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior, who is His Son, Jesus Christ. I love putting on a name tag that says The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints every morning. I love when little kids who don't know my name call me Misionera. I love that I can be someone that people look to as a light.
The best part is, it doesn't have to end. I can't clip my badge to my shirt, but I can engrave it upon my heart. I can't keep serving with power and authority as a missionary, but I can administer with love and kindness as a child of God. I can lift up my voice and my example as a testimony of righteousness and truth. I can love others as God loves them. I can stand for what is right and war a good warfare.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that these last 18 months have not been a waste. I have been exactly where God needed me to be, and for that I shall always consider myself highly privilaged. I think back on my mission, and I realize that it really did pass away as if it had been a dream--a beautiful dream, the kind that you linger on and makes you unwilling to wake up. Maybe it's true that the life I had 18 months ago is lost. But what I have found is so infintely greater.
Jesus is the Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true church. His is the only path that will take us to the eternal happiness we already fought for. The blessings of forgiveness and families never end. All that we could ever desire and more is waiting for us. All we need to do is fall into the open arms of our Savior and, as Elder Gavarret expressed, tell Him, "Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!" I know these things to be true.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
|Rodriguez the red nosed reindeeer!|