As I’m writing this email, I’m on my way home! Its hard to believe haha, these two years have really flown by. It’s been the most amazing experience of my whole life, and I’m so grateful for all of the things I’ve been able to learn and for the people I’ve been able to meet. I’ll close with more of a testimony, but here’s a summary of my last week.
On Tuesday, we had our District Council, where the Sister missionaries threw us a funeral party haha, because Elder Shafer and I were finishing our missions. They had flowers, speeches and cake haha. They all wore black and everything. It was awesome. My companion and trainer, Elder Andersen, shared in his speech how grateful he was for me and how he felt like I’d set him up for success for the rest of his mission. He’s an awesome kid and it’s been fun being his companion.
This week was full of goodbyes, to members and to those we are teaching. I have ate tons of Mexican food haha, it’s so good. Some of the families closest to my heart are: Cruz, Ramierez, Cazas, Ventura, Hidalgo, Garcia, Leon, Vargas, Cuellar, Delgado, Hatch, Esquivel, Magaña, Gonzalez, Yanez, and many others. I’ve been so blessed in my mission with four amazing areas, all with amazing members and amazing people to teach. I’ve felt very loved this week by members, missionaries, and friends.
On Monday, we had a last activity as a zone. We were playing games and one of the Sisters said we were going to play Marco Polo. It was obviously suspicious haha, and Elder Shafer and I ended up getting blindfolded. They counted down and as we were about to start “playing”, we got nailed with water balloons from all angles hahaha. I ripped my blindfold off and we got sprayed with squirt guns and hit with eggs, it was pretty hilarious. I didn’t get hit too bad, but poor Elder Shafer was soaked and covered in eggs. I love the San Jose B zone and it’s been so fun to be a part of during my 3.3 transfers here in the California San Jose Mission.
I was able to see basically all of my closest friends in the mission this week at transfers. There are many, but it was especially fun to see Elder Christiansen, E Hasek, E West, E Pokipala, E Bryan, E Anderson, and of course the Elders who I lived with, Elder Andersen, E Valencia, and Elder Kuttler. I love all of those guys so much, and have been able to make so many close friends during my time here.
Yesterday, we got lunch (Mexican food haha) with the APs, Elder Ledkins and Elder Sandstrom after having our final interview with President Smith. He is amazing and has offered me such great guidance. We then went on a drive up this pretty canyon to this lookout spot over all of Silicon Valley. It was so cool to see all of San Jose, even with the smoke haha. We then went to the mission home, where we ate dinner and had our last testimony meeting. I’ve sat in on many of those before, so it was weird being on the other side of things actually going home this time haha. We then slept in the Mission Home. Now, we are on a plane from San Jose to Salt Lake City.
I wanted to share a miracle I saw this last week. One of my recent concerts and very close friends from Argentina, Priscila, wrote me an email this week. She mentioned that it had made her sad to hear that I felt like, at times, my mission hadn’t been as fruitful as I’d hoped. She shared with me about her experience and continuing conversion. She posted her testimony with her conversion story on Facebook a few months ago. From that, one of her friends had decided to listen to the missionaries and is now being prepared to be baptized soon. She also shared that through that testimony, she helped another one of her friends become active again in the Church, and he is now preparing to serve a mission. She also shared that her sister, who before wanted nothing to do with the Church, wants to be baptized and will be as soon as she can. Priscila closed her email saying that she just talked with the Bishop about leaving on her mission at the start of next year. I wanted to share this because.. 1) it’s awesome and 2) we will never really understand the impact that our actions can have. As followers of Christ, it’s our job to share about Him and His gospel and invite others to come and experience the blessings of it. In this life, we will never see the affects that our actions have on others. It’s our job to do all we can in whatever situation we are placed in, and the Lord will do the rest.
My mission has been so much more than I could have imagined it would be. I will forever be grateful for the experiences I’ve had and for the people that I’ve met. I just want to close with my testimony. I know, without a doubt, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer. This is His Church. He is our Example. I am so grateful for Him and all that He has done for me. One thing that has been amazing for me to see has been the peace that comes to those that follow Him and live His gospel. I have never seen an example where the family is striving to keep His commandments where they haven’t been blessed in just about every aspect. Not even once. I know that as we follow Him, He blesses us. I love Him, and am going to dedicate my life to serving Him the best I can and doing the things that He would want me to do. He lives! He loves us! His Church has been restored through Joseph Smith, and continues with the necessary guidance of a prophet, President Nelson. The Book of Mormon helps us grow closer to Him than any other book. I know that it is the word of God. As my good friend and example Elder Hašek once said, “I love you, and more importantly, your Heavenly Father loves you. Now, what are you going to do about it?” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Thank you all for everything; your prayers, your letters, your thoughts, your gifts. I’ve felt so loved, protected, and cared for over this time. If there is ever anything you need, please let me know and I’d love to help in any I can. I love you all!