Bueno folks, I made it home safely. It was close though - Elder Nielson, Hermana Shumaucher, and I all almost died on our layover in Dallas because of 1) the COLD!!! Snow in Texas? It was weird, and 2) the price of a soda?! A 600 ml bottle of soda for $2.50?! We were astounded.
Anyway, since having arrived home last week, my mother has mostly stuck with me as a companion, taking me to long-overdue medical appointments, shopping, and out to lunch (current favorite kid treatment I suppose)! It's been kinda fun and all, but I'm really just missing Panama. I've been trying my best to keep myself busy and stick to the morning study schedule, but it's just not the same sometimes. I start school in January at BYU, and I'm hoping that all goes well, and I can adjust pretty well. For now, I'll just kinda take it slow, looking around for job possibilities (I already went and applied at the MTC to be a teacher.), and ENJOY CHRISTMAS! It's taken me a few days just to get back into normal life, and I'm now realizing that Christmas is just right around the corner! I'm pretty stoked about it - listening to 100.3 Christmas music every time I get in the car.
Well, I just wanted to make this last entry on the blog before closing it for good. My mission has ended, and I'm SO stoked to face a new stage of life. The things I learned on my mission are things I'll never forget and always cherish. This may be kind of cheesy, but it truly was the time of my life. God has been so merciful with me to prepare me and give me enough blessings to help me get out on a mission - I have only learned how to better serve him and am now committed to a life full of service in His name. I'm so excited to be a missionary for life! I've still got a whole life ahead of me! I know that if I keep myself worthy and am constantly asking and looking, God will continue to give me those missionary and serving opportunities. I love being a member of the true, restored church of Jesus Christ, and will just close bearing my testimony that I know that I am in the truth and that that truth was restored by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, themselves, and that they appeared to the 14-year-old Joseph Smith and called him as a prophet, and he was a tool in Their hands to bring to pass the perfect restoration of Christ's church. They also gave him power to translate The Book of Mormon, which would and now does serve as physical evidence of that divine restoration. I know that the Plan of Salvation is real, and that at the center of that plan is our Savior, Jesus Christ, that His Atonement is saving and redempting. I know that we're sons and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father, and wants so badly that we return to live again with him someday. For that reason, He let His Son die for us. The Plan is perfect and was executed perfectly. I know that the church is currently directed by a true prophet here on earth, Thomas S. Monson, and that he, along with the apostles and other general authorities direct this church according to how CHRIST wants it run, and they do it through revelation. I also have a strong testimony particularly in taking the sacrament and renewing my baptismal covenant, as well as the law of tithing. I love my Savior, my Father, and my earthly family. So much. Thank you!
Monday, December 9, 2013
It is so crazy to me that before I get another chance to write you guys I`ll be talking to you in person. I`m STOKED!!!
This past week was a good one - we had a sick mother`s day celebration here on Wednesday night with the branch (here mother`s day is the 8th of December). We had a menos activa, Idalis, show up that we`d been visiting and she brought all her extended family!! They all told us straight up they wanna get baptized!! Teichert`s gonna have a million baptisms next change! Two of the guys specifically, are so sweet - Chicho y Chaveto, as we call them. We walked home with them that night and just talked to them all about missions the whole way home, seeing as they`re 16 and 17, we were trying to animate them to go after their baptisms.
We also had to do a lot of traveling again, like going to the city to get Elder Teichert`s carnet so he can be legal. We visited the Marín family in Juan Diaz too! It`s been so fun to go around and see people for the last time. I also spent a day packing my bags - I hope everything is underweight and I can get everything home safe and sound! We left Santiago yesterday for the last time after church. Last night we ate here in Chorrera with Hna. Carmen, and today and tomorrow I`m gonna visit some peeps in San Miguelito y the city before changes on Wednesday. PUMPED!
A few days ago, we were walking down the street, and Elder Teichert asked me how I felt to be ending, and what I was thinking about. And ya know, I told him that I feel content. Honestly, I feel good and happy, and pretty much feel like I completed with everything I was sent here to do. I`m really sad sometimes, but I realize the time has come and it`s time for a new stage of life! I`m way excited for it - let me tell you why!
So last week one day as we traveled to Chitré to do a baptismal interview (like a 1 1/2 hour bus ride), some peace core workers came and sat down next to Elder Teichert and I. Well, taking advantage of the opportunity as we don`t see other gringos around here too often, we started just conversing with them, speaking english and what not, asking them about what they do (by the way I`m now a big fan of the peace core - cool organization). Anyway, they had tons of questions for us! It`s not often that we teach other north-americans, and I was suprised to see how much they knew about our church - they knew about Joseph Smith and everything. But anyway, the great part was as they gave us opportunity to answer questions and explain to them our beliefs, it was just so different but satisfying to be able to bear testimony to them! It was super weird for me at first cuz I never just bear my testimony like that in english, but as we taught and answered questions, it came out naturally, and it felt so good! More than anything, it got me so excited to be able to come home and do the same thing. You don`t need to be on a mission to bear your testimony! As part of our baptismal covenant, we promise to take upon ourselves and stand as a witness of Christ in ALL TIMES. Thankfully, that means I'll always be able to share my testimony. I believe God put those troops in our path for a reason, and that God wanted me to know that teaching the gospel/bearing testimony is just as great AFTER the mission as it is DURING.
Last week Mom had me read a Thanksgiving assignment that had to do with gratitude. As I read the scriptures and pondered them, I came to the simple conclusion that God would have NEVER blessed me with all the things He`s given me if He didn`t expect me to share them. Most importantly, I have the restored gospel! But on top of all that, I have a functioning family! I am (for the moment) financially secure! I get to go to college! I have a body and brain without limitations! God has literally given me every tool I need to live a comfortable life so that I can.... what? Just live a comfortable life? No! He wants me to SHARE what I have! That`s the point! If I don`t share the restored gospel, it`s very possible that God won`t have any need for me to have everything I have. What motivation! Even as we taught one of the peace core dudes - Tyler, was his name - I asked myself - what`s the difference between me and him? Really not much! He seems to be pretty well off, have a good family, he`s smart. But.... he doesn`t have the restored gospel. Ok, so why did God let me be born into this and not Tyler? The only logical conclusion I can think of is because God knew and trusted in me that I would SHARE what I have. If this is not motive enough, I don`t know what is. I`m SO grateful for all that I have, and especially grateful that I have a whole life to live in the service of God and share His gospel until the day that this life ends! I feel that it`s my duty to God, and I can`t let him down.
Bueno, that`s all I have time for today. I`m SO DANG excited to see you all! Until Thursday!