Well, first things first, happy 4th of July to all the Americans. I hope you have a great day and enjoy the barbecue food and all the fireworks! No one down here in Mexico really celebrates it but it was nonetheless a great day. We had a zone activity today and ordered some pizza as a zone and enjoyed just hanging out at the stake center for a bit and relaxing. After that, we went downtown and did a ton of souvenir shopping. We tried to get a little bit of everything so hopefully everyone is happy with what they receive haha.
I am now down to the 8-day mark and will be coming home this upcoming Tuesday, July 12th. Knowing that, this will be my last e-mail home as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I am so grateful for the opportunity that my Heavenly Father has given me to come out here and serve this mission. I have learned, experienced and seen so many different things in these two years in Mexico. It has been by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life, but it has also been the absolute most rewarding experience as well. I think back on it now and find it hard to remember any of the hard times, it just seems a lot easier for me to remember the good, spiritual ones. I've knocked on so many of these Mexican doors and have talked to so many people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm really going to miss knocking on these doors and just talking and getting to know someone and seeing how the Gospel can bless them. Doing that day after day, door after door, lesson after lesson, I've truly found my purpose as a person and have grown and changed so much. The gospel changes people, I've seen it in countless people but more importantly I've seen the change within myself. The only real, true changes that exist in this world are the ones made possible through the Atonement of Christ. I know the Lord has blessed me so much during this time. He's blessed me with knowledge, wisdom, humility, love for others, meekness, kindness, and so many other things. Every transfer and companion I've received was completely inspired by the Lord for my benefit and learning. I often reflect on the words of King Benjamin in Mosiah 3:19 about the natural man and how the influence of the Spirit and the power of the Atonement changes these natural men into spiritual, Christ-like, humble beings. I've applied that scripture and doctrine to my life and I know without a doubt that it is true.
During these past two years the Spirit has taught and revealed to me several undeniable Gospel truths. I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and has a plan for me and for all the rest of the world. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that through his Atonement I can rid myself of all sin and become perfect in Him. I have grown to acquire a great love and admiration for the Savior and even though I'm not perfect, I know that he is always there for me and loves me and wants and allows me to progress. I am so thankful for my knowledge of Him. I also know that the Gospel was restored in it's entirety to the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that he saw God the Father and His Son that Spring morning in 1820. I know it. I know that he was called of God to restore the Gospel, and God being all-knowing, gave to us the Book of Mormon, acting as an evidence of the veracity of his calling. That book is true. I have read it many times, I have lived it's teachings and have prayed to God to know that it is exactly what it says it is. The Spirit has taught me that it is true and I will never be able to deny my testimony of that book even until the day I die. There is no way that any normal man could have written that book, let alone a liar that was inspired by the Devil to write it like many people like to think that it was. I also know that the Church is guided and lead today by men chosen of God. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of the Lord and the Church in it's entirety it is guided by revelation. For all of those who are still not sure if the mission is right for them or not, read that book and ask God if these things are true, just like your parents and leaders have told you for years. Do it and I know that God will answer your prayers.
And now to finish, I'd like to share one of my favorite scriptures from the Book of Mormon with you all.
28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked--
30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
I know that the word of God leads the man of Christ back to our Father's presence. I love the phrase 'man of Christ' and I aspire to be one everyday. I know that if I am faithful in Him, I will one day receive my reward and will return to my Heavenly Father's presence with those I love.
I love you all and cannot wait to see you guys again. Eight days is nothing, so I will see you back at home in no time!
For the last time,
P.s. Jamie I bought you a ton of Mexican candy hahahahaha :)