Dear Son! I'm so proud of you! They say love grows fonder as your apart! It certainly has for me. We have missed you dearly! We have grown to love who you have become. We are so excited to see what the future holds for you. This experience! well? When times got tuff you really pushed through! And so did we! It really has brought out how much love we have for one another. I know you have learned to have a greater appreciation for us as your parents and all we have strived to teach and provide for you as your stewards. Heavenly father defiantly blessed us with your presence. Your a kind obedient person and I truly love you. Your tenderness and love for those around you has always radiated like the bright sun. You have been able to accomplish sharing that light of the gospel through all your works and deeds. It was your turn to live by every word and your time to be called to serve, your time to shine! You did it! You will be forever blessed for your service. You took your turn to serve our father in heaven and his children and did it with a humble and willing heart! I know you now know the blessings of service to your fellow man. You have always loved a uniform. It has always helped you to understand reverence! As you take off that tag we will be by your side! You will never forget the lessons you learned. Remember the way you felt as you were a disciple of Christ. It will help you forever when life gets hard you will know how to push through. Never give up when times get ,tough, and the storms of life encircle you! You are not alone! You know that. GOD IS REAL! He is there, he loves us! He is our parent! Every parent has unconditional love for there child! We love you we would never leave your side. And neither will he. Rejoice in your service. You did enough. Don't ever despise your youth! We truly loved riding this ride with you. I know you hate roller coasters but this one was AWESOME! Saturday will come! Just as death comes. Its unenviable. I'm sorry your dying! hahaha killing of a missionary! I'm a little nervous for the next uniform you want to try on? I’m pretty sure you still want to be a police officer. But hey life rolls on. I love you! I didn't know if I had the words for this letter so I've added a poem. Written by a friend of mine named Anna, I met along this journey. I've mostly cried as I was typing! haha I'm totally going to be crying when I see you. hahaha I have a problem ok.Hugs and kisses Till we meet again, Love Mom
Your last goodbye-mission accomplished!
By Anna Carbone
By Anna Carbone
You left your parents, your friends your life. The hugs and tears from loved ones, you felt ready to go and serve God. But the day has come this is your last goodbye, mission accomplished!
You came here with fresh perspective. You had been trained-you thought you knew it all. But it was God’s training you received! Out to the field of harvest you went. You think of that now because it’s your last goodbye, mission accomplished!
A companion, every 6 weeks or so. A training ground for your future! What a great plan, God thought it allahead of time Even the tough ones! Now this part will help you with the difficulties of life ahead. All this learning will remain with you in college, your marriage and your kids! You are looking back at this now because it’s your last goodbye, mission accomplished!
The ward members you depended on for dinner appointments and referrals. You love every one of them. Now you reflect back because it’s your last goodbye, mission accomplished!
You had special investigators you loved with all your heart. You prayed for them, you fasted for them, you taught them well. Some you brought to the waters of baptism. Some you will leave for the next missionary. You will never forget them; they were a big part of your life. You look back on this now, because it’s your last goodbye, mission accomplished!
It is time to go. You don’t want to leave your mission! You have come to love it more every day. You will miss everything about it. Not every day was perfect but you learned so much! Your feet are tired; you have holes in your shoes. The clothing you brought are looking worn. As you board that plane you take one last look at all you have done and left behind. Tears are coming down, as you wipe them away, you can say I think I made the best decision of my life. I know I helped some and brought them to Christ. You are on your way home. You have said your last goodbye. Welcome home, mission accomplished, you have returned with honor!
As you know, this is my last letter as a missionary. It is a biter sweet moment for my final week of my mission.
it is going to be hard to leave here as well as the whole entire mission. I have heard many people say that a mission goes by so fast that you can't believe where the time went. At the beginning of my mission I thought 2 years was going to be forever. But I look back now and I say to myself, "where has the time gone. Yesterday in Sunday school we were studying the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob chapter 5. One of the verses stuck out to me more than it ever has. I attributed it to the fast that I was getting to the end of my mission. Here is what it says,"But what could I have done more in [his] vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh..." I have thought about it more than ever before. It's an honest question that I was asking. Since I don't have a lot of time left, I have been wondering what more I could have done in my areas that I have been in during my mission. But I believe that I have done all that I could in the area at that time. Just like the scripture says, "I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh." but obviously using other words than prune, dung, and dig.
This week was pretty good. I new that I was going to be going home and I had a lot of stuff to pack up in my bags so I packed up all of the stuff that I am not going to use in the next week so I have an easier time packing before I go home so I can have time to see people. Even though I saw most of them Sunday at church. We actually had dinner with members the whole week! After district meeting on Wednesday we all went as a district to this Chinese place that was hidden around the corner in Shelby. The bathroom was pretty sketchy. It was all old and gross and there were curtains for the stalls! The restaurant didn't even have chopsticks so it definitely was not authentic Chinese, even if the food was super good.
On Friday we went down to great falls super early in the morning because we were having interviews with the mission president. Since it is only a week away to the day. (And that the schedule is going to be hectic going to the temple and all the other stuff that day) we did my exit interview with President Wadsworth. It was a pretty good interview. We talked a lot about going home and getting back to normal life. He also gave me some pointers and some advice. After the interview we had some lunch and drove back to Cutbank, had a little break, and then went to Browning. After spending a little time in Browning we went to the W. and we had dinner with them and also rendered some service. We stacked hay again. And we also got to go out to the ranch and help them feed the cows. One of which was in labor and about to calf.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to speak briefly and share my testimony before I went home because yesterday was my last Sunday.
That was my last week and I will report to you all next week when I am home from my home email!
I will also send my final testimony in a separate email
I want to leave with you my testimony of what I know to be true. I know that my mission was the best thing that I could have chosen to do at this time in my life. There is no way that I could be the person that I am now, if I did not serve my mission. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had over the course of my mission that have shaped me into what God would have me to be. I am grateful for the loving care of everyone around me and even the loving care of God to give me the hard times that I have had. My mission has meant so much to me. I did not catch the vision of missionary work near the beginning. But now I realize how much meaning my mission has to me. This is one of the hardest things that I have ever loved to do. If I did not serve, I would not have met certain people where only I could be the one that got them closer to God (with the spirit of course) I have been able to witness and see many people change their lives, and see the growth in their testimony.
I also want to testify of the atonement. The atonement was the mission and ultimate purpose of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ willingly went to the garden of Gethsemane, and willingly took upon his own body, the pains, suffering, guilt, and everything else that we have gone through and experienced. He did not have to do it. But he did. He bled drops of blood. How many drops did he bleed for me alone? I hope he never has to bleed more than he has to, or any more than he already has. I would not want to watch him suffer any longer for me. But I am grateful that he did that for me because now I now how much he truly loves me, and each and every one of us. There is no greater love that a person can possess, than laying down their own life for those that he/she loves. I hope I can get to that point, and I know that I will someday.
I know that the many companions that I have had on my mission, were companions with me for a reason. Sometimes I did not know the reason till after. We never know why we are chosen to be put to something. Sometimes it may be for the blessing and growth of us, or it may be for the growth of the companion. Either they were put with me because they had something that I needed, or I was put with them because I had something that they needed. Either way, there was always a reason that I was with the companions that I was with. I grew from a lot of my companions, and I know that some of them grew from learning something from me. Just as I said before, I am grateful for the trials that I have had during the course of my mission. They have helped me to grow stronger than I was before the trial. I have had many learning experiences on my mission because I did not know a whole lot at the beginning, and I still don't know a whole lot of stuff.
I know that the Book of Mormon is a true book. I have had the opportunity to study It many times through my mission and I still learn something new. I also know that the other scriptures that we have a true as well because I have had the blessing of reading the whole standard works on my mission. I know that Joseph smith was the first prophet of this dispensation and that there was not a greater prophet than him, save Jesus Christ being the best. I know that all the religions around the world have bits and pieces of the truth. But the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth." There is no way that this church is not true. Everything that I learn in the scriptures, even the bible, clicks together so perfectly that there is no other way than to say that it has to be true. I have prayed about all the scriptures to know if they are true words of God. I have prayed about the Book of Mormon many times and I know that it contains the true words of God! I know that everyone can find out the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon if they pray about it with the "real intent, sincere heart, and faith in Christ" as put in words by Moroni in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon.
I know that the leaders of this church today are men of God that speak to him daily and receive guidance daily in the way that God would have the church go. Every word that we hear out of general conference is prophetic. We look back 20 years ago when "the family: a proclamation to the world" was spoken. Back then they didn't think that it had much relevance to them, we look at the world today and the family is being attacked more than ever. 20 years ago, the leaders of the church saw that the family was going to be attacked viciously. Now today we see why we needed that proclamation. We heard in conference not to long ago about sustaining our church leaders. Then the church made a stance against a law passed by the government. Some members wanted to leave the church because of the stance made. That is not sustaining our church leaders. I testify that the leaders of this church today are watchmen on the tower. I testify that when we listen to them and heed their council when we hear it, we are blessed. We may not know why they give certain council to us. But I know that when we listen and obey, we will not perish.
This is only a small portion of my testimony, if you got my whole testimony it would be a super long email. But Everything that I have testified of I know to be truth. And I know that you can know these things to be true as well, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.