After 25 months of weekly emails, it’s hard for me to believe that this the last one!
Instead of trying to tell you the details about my week, I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts about… well, all of this. We’ll see if I can do that without turning the email into a sermon!
The other day I was reading Alma in the Book of Mormon and came to chapter 26. This chapter is essentially Ammon giving a summary of his mission in the land of Nephi, what they experienced, and how they felt about the experience. Although these were the experiences and feelings of missionaries over 2,000 years ago, they are no different from the ones we feel now. Here are verses 27 to 30:
“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren…and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.”
I think this verse is such a wonderful overview of a mission. In 20 years of life I don’t think I’ve done anything that even comes close to being as hard as a mission. I don’t think there has ever been a time where I’ve felt such “afflictions and sufferings” (although still haven’t been cast into prison!). A mission is difficult, emotionally, physically, and spiritually – Ammon describes that in detail. But in verse 30 Ammon tells us why he suffered so much – he did it for the chance to help save even one soul. And the joy that came from that made the rest of it irrelevant!
As I enter the last week of my mission, I cannot help but feel just like Ammon. The joy that has come from watching people accept Christ and His atonement is indescribable, and has made everything worth it. It has changed me in incredible ways. I feel so at peace with my mission. Paul said it best in 2 Timothy: “…the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course…”
I love you all so much, and cannot wait to see you. In person!! Thank you ALL for the emails you’ve sent me over the last two years. It has really meant a lot.
See you on the other side!