Well, the time has finally arrived...It seems just like yesterday that I was being set apart to serve the Lord for 2 years. l still remember the day that l entered the MTC so vividly. lt was one of the happiest days of my Iife but also one the saddest as I said goodbye for 2 years. I honestly never thought that I would make it through the MTC or to the end of my mission because my conviction of the truthfulness of the gospel wasn't very strong when I started. But the Lord provided the way to help me make it through those 9 weeks in Provo; he did it with Elder Olson. He became my best friend in a few short weeks and we helped support each other as we strived to find our testimonies. When I arrived to Chile I couldn't imagine being able to understand spanish. Chileans talk so fast! But once again, the Lord provided the way. I was able to learn spanish relatively quickly. I'm not fluent by any means but I can understand and speak well enough. The gift of tongues is real, I am a witness. I want to take a part of Alex's and Max's last emails home because it really does transmit some of my thoughts:
I love looking down and seeing next to my name the name of my older brother Jesucristo (Jesus Christ). It has meant the world to me to know that, I can do anything, ANYTHING, because I am on His team. The battle and war has been won. It was won long ago when my best friend suffered, fell on His face and cried. Then after being beaten, spit upon, and crucified, He gave up His life for me and all of us who are on this earth. But he rose again on the third day, triumphant over death. That is when the battle was won. I know that Christ suffered and died for all of us and that He invites EVERYONE to come unto Him and be partakers of the blessings that he has prepared for each of us.
I have had lots of ups and downs during these two years but each and every one of them has taught me a lesson. I have come to know that God knows every single one of us personally. I know that He knows me, a simple missionary from Twin Falls, Idaho, and he knows every single one of you. I feel like I have come to know my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ just a little bit more. It is a lifelong journey and I can't wait to continue on this journey that we call life.
I won 2 state championships and I never thought that anything could beat those feelings. I was dead wrong. The feeling of sharing the gospel with someone and seeing them accept it, cannot be beat. There is no greater joy than sharing the gospel with others. I love being a missionary and it makes me sad to think that I won't be able to put the name tag on in a week, but I feel content with what I have done. I have strived to do everything that He has asked me to do. I wasn't perfect, far from it, but I know that overall, I did my best. I love how I had to lose myself in order to find myself. I know that it sounds cliché but it is true.
These last 2 years have been the best 2 years that everyone talks about. I never understood that before, but now I do. And no one will ever understand it until they live it. I am almost 100% sure that I will have 2 years that will be better as I get married and have a family, but I will never again have another 2 years that will bless me as much or prepare me as much as these have. I also never understood how my dad could tell me that I would learn to love a people that I never knew. But I understand now. I love Chile and the Chilean people. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
I know that God and Jesus Christ live. I know that Christ suffered and died for me. The Atonement is real and it can carry us through whatever stage of our lives. I know that this is the work of God. I have seen his hand in it. I know that this is the only true church. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove. I have no doubt about it. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God. I know that if I strive to do everything that They ask me to do, I will return to live with Them again with my family. I love my mission and I love the Lord. I will be forever grateful to Him for giving me this oportunity to serve Him.