AAAHHHH! It doesn't seem real that I am on my LAST full week in the Philippines teaching these AMAZING people! I can't get it through my head that I am going home....I guess that's a good thing so that I don't dwell on it and get distracted. It sure has been the BEST 18 months FOR my life. But we'll talk about that when the time comes.....it's still not finished!
This last week was Christmas Zone Conference at the mission home! First of all, let me talk about the temporal things before the spiritual hehe....I can't believe it's been 1 year since I've been able to take a HOT shower with RUNNING water and you can just STAND there and enjoy it....without flip flops on :) Holy moly, that is something taken for granted....unfortunately, since there were 10 of us my time was limited to about 3-5 minutes, but I could've stood there for HOURS!!! Man, the ride home though was less than desirable.....we left the mission home at around 4 and had a 6 hour buss ride on a windy road while it was raining and cold because it was air conditioned and we were exhausted after not getting any sleep the previous 2 nights.....we got home at 10pm and had a baptism at 10AM the next morning.....what a WEEK!
The zone con was amazing though....full of feasting on awesome food and the Spirit :) The first night we went caroling at a hospital which was a neat experience, I really felt the Savior's love for the sick and afflicted and thought of the scriptures that talk about Him healing the sick and bringing joy to the broken hearted. After we would sing in a room, we went and shook everyone's hand....they were very happy and grateful, it was special! The new theme for the transfer is found in Joshua 3:5 "...sanctify yourselves for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you" President gave a really great training on sanctification....how we need to make sure that before every meeting, every teaching opportunity, every time we read the scriptures (basically every time we do ANYTHING) we need to take a moment to sanctify ourselves...repent, commit to change, then go into the meeting prepared for personal revelation and manifestations of the Spirit....and that's not just for missionaries. We ALL need to do this if we desire to progress. Repentance will be THE MOST important thing we will do every day.
So we did have a baptism last Saturday which was AWESOME, of coarse! Sister Aida was baptized...she was the one who started progressing the first appointment when we gave her a Book of Mormon. She is incredible, I know she is one of the ELITE, the Spirit is so strong with her, she is different from the other investigators and even from members, she really stands out. She started paying tithing the Sunday we taught her about it, and she didn't even have to yet!
So, with this being my last chance to email I'd like to reflect on some worth-remembering lessons I've learned:
--I am not perfect, and this doesn't mean I am any less of a person, it only means that I need my Savior.--There are good sacrifices, and there are BETTER sacrifices.
--To know and not to do, is not to know.
--Seeing more of your weaknesses only means you are coming closer to God, not going further away.
--If things don't work out the way you wanted or planned, it just means you need to show more faith because God has something much better in store.
--God can make a lot more out of me than I can.
--Whether I am being watched or not, whether people know it or not, I should ALWAYS obey the laws and commandments of God. If I act differently at home than I do at church, I am doing something wrong.
--Fear will keep us in the same place, doing the same thing.
--As much as we try to fight it or deny it, in the end it is requisite that a man give up everything for the Lord if he wishes to obtain the riches of eternity.
--To love yourself in and out is to know that God loves you.
This doesn't even scratch the surface of the things I've felt and experienced, but they are precious treasures to me. I am learning that the important things in life are the things that are found in our hearts....for that is what we are going to offer to our Master at the last day.
May we constantly strive everyday to purify our hearts and live after the manner the Savior has laid for us, which is the ONLY way. It can be done, just remember that progression happens over a lifetime. Elder Nelson told us to not demand too much of ourselves, but to demand improvements. Until we meet again.... ;)
Love you ALL!!!! And I can't wait to see you :) Your love, support, and prayers mean more to me than you can ever know.
"And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of the world, and seek for things of a better" D&C 25:10
mom: I think we can just go to granny's after the releasing, that would be fine....the plans you have made sound PERFECT!! Thanks!! And you can email me again....I might check my mail one more time before I leave! hehe