Well..it's time. Can't believe I'm saying this but I've officially been a missionary for 18 months and this is the last email that I will be sending to all of you. At the moment all I can think of to describe my feelings is gratitude.
Gratitude for the experiences I've been given here in Thailand, the people I've grown to love, the gift of tongues that allows me to speak Thai and my Savior Jesus Christ for allowing me to be His imperfect representative. My feelings are similar to Ammon's found in Alma 26...especially verse 35.
"Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name."
I cannot express how much I love being a missionary! No matter if it's blistering heat or a total down pour, if we are biking 20 kilos or running down the streets of Bangkok trying to make the bus, getting eaten alive by mosquitos or being fed more food than can physically fit in our stomach, being rejected by 50 people in under a few minutes or hearing the words "yes, I'd like to learn more about Jesus Christ" from an elect soul...it's all part of being His missionary. And it will be missed. It makes me think of a poem I recently found by Adney Y. Komatsu:
To be missionary, there’s no finer thing I know.
Though you may toil and work and worry all the day,
Just to hear one person tell you that he knows the gospel’s true,
There’s no finer thing that anyone can say.
When first I came I thought it indeed a sacrifice
To leave behind the home I love so dear,
But now I see it was no sacrifice at all,
It’s a great and marvelous privilege to be here.
The language isn’t easy, that I’m sure you know by now,
There’s quite a large adjustment to be made,
But through the trials and sorrow, I’ve grown closer to my God,
And for that there’s not a thing that I would trade.
I’ve seen a man stop smoking,
I’ve seen his happy smile,
In prayer I’ve seen a family kneeling down.
I’ve seen the Saints grow stronger, how happy is the day
When they’ll have a holy temple of their own.
Very very soon Thailand will have their own temple and I am overjoyed to have been able to add my small brick to that temple. I don't think it can be consider it a sacrifice because I've been so blessed
I couldn't know more strongly than I do now that Jesus is the Christ. The Only Begotten of the Father and our Savior and Redeemer. It is in His name that we are forgiven from our sins, and able to progress in this life. I know that Joseph Smith was a chosen vessel of God to restore Christ's church and priesthood authority here upon the earth and that the Book of Mormon is the evidence of this miraculous event. That through the Book of Mormon a power will enter into our lives and change us forever. I know that God is in the details. Every thing that happens in our lives is of divine origin and is for our eternal benefit and happiness. God hears and answers every single righteous prayer offered. He knows us and He loves us individually
How grateful I am to have been a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ in Thailand. Thank you all for your love and support...I guess I'll see you soon!
Much much love,