Colorin, Colorado, este cuenta se ha acabado...pues, esta acabando :)
My dear family,
Hello! for the last time from California as a missionary! It's crazy that I'm actually here, at the end. I was reading through some of my early journal entries this morning, and remembering how hard the first little while of my mission was! Looking back now, it's funny because I remember, but it's not as vivid anymore. I don't feel the pain of it anymore; rather, it's just sort of a distant memory of a seeming lifetime ago. I'm such a different person and missionary now, and I am so eternally grateful to a loving, perfectly patient Heavenly Father, Savior, and many companions who have helped me grow and learn and change and become along the way. I've come a looooooooong way as a missionary! And as a person! I'm by no means perfect, but by golly, I'm better! My biggest goal as a missionary has been to become all that the Lord wants me to be, both as a missionary and as His daughter; I've sought to be an instrument in His hands in bringing to pass His great work, and I think that I have. I've at least tried to give my all.
I was also reading this morning my mission theme scriptures. The first here is the one that I found, I think in the MTC, and decided that this would be my goal. The second is one that I came across sometime in the middle of my mission, and thought, "Wow. I hope that can be said of me at the end of my time here in the field."
(the italics is my personal commentary :)
2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. that's the verse Dad wrote on my pillowcase!
3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and afasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with bpower and authority of God.
4 And they had been teaching the word of God *for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, (that's the best part -- I've served among the lamanites!) having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him.
5 Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their journeyings, for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger check!, thirst check! and fatigue BIG check!, and also much labor in the spirit. Yep, that's a perfect description of missionary circumstances8 And thus they departed into the wilderness with their numbers which they had selected, to go up to the land of Nephi, to preach the word of God unto the Lamanites.
9 And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.
10 And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.
11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls. This verse (11) is the one that's been my theme
12 And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.
13 And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken.
14 And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.
15 Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them because of the traditions of their fathers; notwithstanding the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.
Ok, if verses 14 and 15 aren't a pretty perfect description of my mission, I'm not sure what is.
16 Therefore, this was the cause for which the sons of Mosiah had undertaken the work, that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might bring them to know of the plan of redemption.
1 My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
4 Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God.
5 Behold, the afield was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
6 Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
7 But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will braise them up at the last day.
8 Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever.
I know this is the Lord's work. I know that it is true and real, and that it really is the errand of angels. Of all the titles I've had and will have in my life, I think my favorite has been "my angel". I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I know that the Atonement is real, and so powerful! Both the Redeeming and Enabling power have blessed and lifted me over and over and over again in the last 18 1/2 months, both when I was aware of it and when I wasn't. I know that the Plan of Salvation really is a perfect, merciful plan of happiness! I know that as we do what the Lord asks, and keep the commandments, we are truly led to the happy, abundant life that He wants for us! I know too that if we haven't, we can repent and be healed! Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it worth it and completely possible? Absolutely. This gospel is true! Jesus Christ restored it through the prophet, Joseph Smith, and we have a living prophet today! The Book of Mormon IS the word of God, and one of my most prized possessions! I know it's true -- I know it!
This has truly been the best year and a half of my life!
I love you all more than I can express in words. Thank you for everything; I am who I am largely in part to your love and encouragement and support throughout my whole life. Not a single one of you is exempt from that statement either, so don't even think about it!
I love you!!
I have LOVED being a missionary!!!!
HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!!!!
Stay tuned, I'm sure Sister Sallie will have at least one more letter to add after she gets home. . .