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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week #104: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV- Week 18

One last time I write as a missionary. I want to express in this letter some of my thoughts and feelings as I reach the end of this phase of my life. My emotions have been all over the place. I have felt both peace and uncertainty, satisfaction and regret, happiness and sadness. Overall, I am grateful.

I am grateful that the Lord had mercy upon me, to let me serve as a missionary for these two years. I am grateful that despite my flaws, errors, and weaknesses, He let me be here, and serve in His vineyard. I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for my companions, and for what I have been able to learn with them. I am grateful for President Bird, and all that I have been able to learn with him. I am trying to put it into practice. I know that we are blessed by the people we work with, serve with, and learn from.

Some of my letter to President this week reads as follows:

"It`s a bit strange that the mission is ending now. The time passes quickly, yet slowly. These past two years have been SO full, so absolutely full of experiences that have helped me grow, and become who I am becoming. I have not quite become yet. Today I reread a talk that I read before my mission. It`s called "Always in the Middle" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. A few months ago I shared it with you all during one of our office meetings, and my thoughts. At this time I was literally near the middle of my missionary service. Today I am about to finish it. However, the fact remains that I am still in the middle of my life experience. I have learned so much, and I have so much left to learn. I know that my experiences in the field will help me in the future. I know that the Lord directs and inspires the transfers...

When [Elder Pasapera] found out the transfer, he was devastated [because he is also leaving the area]. He had imagined himself serving here in Miguel Alemán still. He has a big heart, and he opened it here to the people. He was sobbing, and I tried to console him, but I was not able to very well. When I told the Sisters the transfers, they helped console Elder Pasapera in a way that I could not, and we both learned from them (our call went a bit late, and around 10:50 they called back, thinking we were playing a joke on them with the news, but we weren`t). They talked about the inspiration in the transfers, that it is the Lord, and not you, who makes them. Something along those lines. Elder Pasapera was most upset with leaving our investigators, but the Sisters talked about how they aren`t OUR investigators, they are the LORD`S investigators. He will take charge and saved His children. Both Hermana Mendoza and Hermana González commented..."

I am grateful to the Lord for the blessing it has been to come closer to Him. I have been able to suffer, and enjoy, laugh, and worry, and grow in these last two years. It will be sweet to return home. It will be wonderful to be with my family again. I am going to work hard and live my life to the fullest, and serve the Lord. Last week I talked a lot about my goals and impressions from General Conference. I will continue to read, reflect, and study the talks, and let the Lord guide me in my life choices.

I am grateful to the Lord for all that He has done for me, and all that He will do for me. My time is very short now, with only some 3 minutes remaining. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has helped me in these past two years. Thank you for the prayers, thoughts, emails, letters, gifts, and love. Thank you for everything that you have done for me. Thank you for being a part of my life and my mission. Thank you.

I have so much to share when I get home. The Sisters played a great prank on me on Sunday. I will tell you in person. I`m almost home. See you on Wednesday!

Week #103: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV- Week 17

This past weekend was Conference Weekend, and it was great. I went to Conference with some personal questions or concerns, and I was able to receive answers that will help me and strengthen me in the days and weeks and months to come. I am going to share some of my insights and impressions. Obviously I am going to finish my mission soon, so life after the mission was a really on my mind, and I found great guidance. Today in the morning before and during our personal study, I wrote something similar to what I am about to share.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy gave a great talk about serving the Lord, and not lowering our standards to please others. This was a message that I needed to hear. As we say in the mission, he "planched" me a bit, and it was good. I need to make some changes and be more obedient in my life, and serve the Lord better than I have recently. At the same time, I need to be loving and kind to those who do not agree with what know to be true, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks shared in his talk. I need to be firm, but compassionate as I live the Gospel and stand up for the absolute truths that Elder D. Todd Christofferson talked about.

One of my questions was the following: "How do I progress after my mission?" I was able to receive a lot of answers to this question, including the paragraph preceding this one. In order to progress after my mission, I need to stay strong against the tempations and sins of the world. I am going to be "in the world," but I cannot be "of the world." As Elder L. Tom Perry said, the "wheat and the tares" are growing more and more together, so whenever there is temptation, I need to stay strong, and look heavenward as President Thomas S. Monson said during the Priesthood Session. I really liked President Monson`s talk. To stay strong and on the right course, I need to constantly examine myself and make changes, as President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, but I need to be kind to myself as I do this, following the advice of Elder Jörg Klebingat of the Seventy: being honest with myself for my mistakes, and making the correct changes in my life.

To help me along this path, I will need to stay active in the Church, fulfill my duties in whatever callings I may receive, and weekly partaking of and understand the Sacrament. I liked the talks by Sister Cheryl A. Esplin and Elder James J. Hamula about the Sacrament, its importance, and how we can reflect and realize where we can improve, and what we have improved. We are not alone in this, we have the Savior`s promise of help, and we have the Holy Ghost to help us as well. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, He wants us to be successful. I need to heed the teachings of the Scriptues, Prohpets, and the Holy Ghost as many said.

There are many important decisions that I will have to make in the coming years, such as who should I marry. Elder Quentin L.Cook talked about not waiting to marry, so I won`t be doing that. I need to be living worthily in every aspect for that Covenant, by keeping my priorities straight. Returning home, I will have great tempation to use too much technology, internet, TV, or video games, so I will need to keep my time in check, and do worthwhile things. I liked what Elder Richard G. Scott said about four areas I can focus on, those being: prayer, studying the word of the Lord, weekly Family Home Evenings, and going to the Temple. This related to what Elder Allan F. Packer said about Family History Work. I am going to work on my Family History, both past and present, and I know that as he quoted Elder Bednar saying, it will be a "protection" for me as I return home.

I am going to have to work hard to be "in the world, but not of the world." I will need constant repentance and evaluation, and working towards my next step in my eternal progession.

Those are only some of my feelings as I thought about Conference, obviously it`s not everything, but I feel good about it. I feel that I paid attention, and found some ansewrs from the Lord as to what I need to do to progress after my mission. President Bird and I have talked in the past about how the mission should not be the "Best Two Years of my life," but rather, the "Best Two Years for my life." I need to continue having spiritual experiences, but always staying focused on the basic and important elements of the Gospel. I know that the Lord loves me, and will take care of me. I felt his answers and guidance as I listend to this Conference, and I know that as I study more I will be able to see more and more guidance and instruction.

I encourage all of you to review, study, pray, and apply the talks from this General Conference. I promise you that if you do, you will find answers to your prayers, enlightenment where there is darkness, and happiness. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ lives; God is our loving Heavenly Father; Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today, and we are guided by inspired leaders who will take care of us if we will but heed their counsels. I am almost done reading the Book of Mormon again (I´m currently in Moroni 7), and I have grown as I have read it. It has been able to give me comfort as well.

Next week I will send my last letter as a Missionary.

Thank you all so much for your support, love, and kind words. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for everything! Have a great week, review the Conference, and be true. Until next week!