Easily one of the most glorious weeks of my life, along with a wave of different emotions as this incredible, sacred chapter in my life comes to a close. I suprised myself by not crying all week, and then I got into the email, started reading Mom's email, and oh boy, I think for the first time it's started sinking in. The tears are definitely flowing. :)
But don't worry about me dear fam. Heavenly Father truly protects and cares for His missionaries up until the very last moment, and He hasn't abandoned me once. At this moment, the two feelings that fill my heart to overflowing are gratitude and happiness, as I explained in my letter to President.
It has been an incredibly fullfilling week. I honestly cannot fully describe my gratitude to you and to my Heavenly Father for having sent me here to Moron 1, because it has been one of the most sacred, rewarding experiences I have ever had. As I have told you many times in my letters, I came to Moron 1 with a very strong impression that there were many people waiting for us here, and we prayed every morning and night that we would be guided to them. As we worked as a true team with the members, Heavenly Father answered our prayers and guided us to people who were waiting for the healing power of the the Atonement.
One of the most obvious examples of one of those people is Alberto, our dear friend who got baptized this past Saturday. After 30 years of prayers on the part of his daughter and family who are members, he had become a "forgotten investigator" who was just waiting to be found by us. By crazy circumstances that I know were not coincidence, we met and began teaching Alberto. It wasn't an easy process, and he hard-headedly refused to take that step of baptism, regardless of knowing that it is what Heavenly Father required of him. As I told you last week, the converting power of the Holy Ghost was able to take effect in Alberto's heart when we focused in on his Savior and the Atonement. It was evidence to me that Heavenly Father truly knows His children and knows exactly what they need. Alberto is an incredibly devoted and worthy convert, and it was a very special experience watching him get baptized and confirmed. My heart was so full of joy, that I felt like it was going to burst! And I know that we can only access that kind of real, uncontainable joy when we are doing the work of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
If there are two words that could describe how I feel right now, it would be grateful and happy. So incredibly grateful for the sacred opportunity to be a missionary, to be a tool in the hands of Heavenly Father to help Him reach out in love to His precious children. I will forever remember the counsel that you gave me in an interview when you told me that in order to feel the influence of the Spirit more in lessons, I had to forget myself look at the person sitting in front of me as the Savior looks at them, to love them the way He would love them, and to have trust in Him that He would put into my mind and heart the things that he wanted that person to hear and feel. I have never forgotten that, and in the many lessons that followed have tried to apply that. It changed my mission, changed the way I felt about these incredible people here, and I honestly believe that it played a role in helping some of those people get baptized.
Hermana Neira is ready and excited for whatever may come her way. I almost jumped for joy the other day when she looked at me and said, "Hermana, what you said is true. Obedience brings success, but exact obedience brings miracles. We've seen miracles this transfer." She has truly learned those first 3 basic principles well, and I'm so excited to see what great things she and her new companion do here in Moron.
Thank you so much for everything President.
I took the easy way out in sending you that because I spent all my email time sending baptismal forms and have no time. But I would rather be sending baptismal forms my last P day than anything else. :)
To wrap things up, I wanted to share something that I learned this week in my personal study. I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 18 when the people of Alma all get baptized and learn about the gospel as they hide away in secret forests by beautiful streams. In describing those places, the river where they were baptized, the forest where they learned of the gospel, it says,
". . . how beautiful they are in the eyes of those who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer."
I thought about the hundreds of scruffy little homes I have entered into to teach the gospel, the dirty streets I have walked, talking with people and inviting everyone to listen to my message, the chapels where I have joyfully watched investigators walk into church as well as come out of the changing room dressed in white. And I reallized just why those simple, seemingly uninteresting places are so very sacred to me. Because it was in this place and with these incredible people that I truly came to know that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer and theirs and that He loves us infinitely.
I love this gospel, I love being a missionary, and I love working alongside the greatest friend and example in the world, Jesus Christ.
I can't wait to see you all! Try not to attract TOO much attention in the airport. :) Love you all sooooo very much!
All the love in the world,