If I´m not mistaken, this will be my last email. I might have a little time next monday to write, but I´m not sure. This Sunday afternoon I´ll be saying goodbye to my hermosa Justo Daract and treking the 6 hour bus ride to Mendoza. Then Monday we´ll have a mini p-day and then a couple workshops for the after-misison life, and finish off with the cena with the president and his wife. Then Teusday morning it´s the plane! It still doesn´t feel real. I´m really going to be focusing this week in making use of every minute, so it doesn´t go by too fast.
So, back to work while the work´s there to do!
This week we met with Juan a couple times. What happened is that apparently the whole time he was coming to chruch and taking the lessons without letting his mom know, but last week his mom found out. He´s 45, so he can make his own decisions for his life, it´s fine, but it´s still hard for him to go against his mom. He keeps coming to church and taking the lessons, but it´s just a little concern he has that might be effecting his decision to be baptized. We keep plugging along. Really, once he recognizes that he has his answer everything else will come so easily. So we just have to keep teaching him and giving him situations in which the spirit can testify that this is true until he recognizes it. It´s a slow process, but we just have to trust in God and encourage Juan to keep going.
Other than that, not a whole lot happened this week. It´s interesting how the weeks change from one to the other. Last week we found a ton of new people, with lots of potential. This week we found very few. But the most important thing is that we can teach and testify in every situation. Even if they don´t accept the gospel, hearing a truth of the gospel, even if it´s just a few sentences, is God showing His love for His children. It´s still a win. And that´s the love that God has. Even in the face of those who reject Him, who don´t believe, who won´t come to Him, he sends little examples of His love. Every effort in the work of the Lord is a successful one.
Well, I don´t really know what to say, I don´t feel too inspired right now... but if this is my last letter I should probably write something inspiring. Luckily, this week I wrote my Carta de Mayordomia for my last interview with the president. So I´ll share some parts from that. :)
What I had hoped to achieve on the mission is explained quite nicely to Joseph Smith Sr. in Doctrine and Covenants section four which is to fully and completely dedicate every part of me to each area, companion, ward, and investigator. And although I can comfortably say there were many instances in which I felt I served God well and made him proud, I would say even perfect missionaries are described more accurately by King Benjamin in Mosiah 2:21 as "unprofitable servants". Although my intent was to give, I have not room enough to receive the blessings and achievements the mission has allowed me. The missionary life in Argentina taught me to how plan and how to set goals, added a second language to my vocabulary, and gave me an undying love for another country and culture. Working with companions, investigators, and church leaders, I was able to practice speaking boldly, turning outward more often than inward, not becoming as quickly frustrated with the simple things, and expressing love and care in more than just my way. The countless spiritual experiences provided many moments of self reflection in which I discovered who I am, who I want to be, and how far I have to go to become the sculpture God has had in mind from the beginning. The mission strengthened in enormous amounts my knowledge of and relationship with my Heavenly Father by teaching me to really converse in prayer, to recognize and follow the Holy Ghost, to keep my covenants, to find the balance in my love and fear of God, and to pay my spiritual debts. And finally, the most dear, the mission gave me a greater appreciation for my Savior and a new vision of how to more fully follow Him. I was given eighteen months to serve God, and in the end the mission will serve me every day and on into eternity.
My testimony, of course, matured drastically on the mission, not only in the "what" but in the "why" and the "how" of what I know. I know that God is our Father in Heaven. He loves. He listens. He watches. He cares. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who not only taught and lived the one true gospel, but with His blood He paved the path to exaltation. And He lives. His work continues. He is with us every step of the way to understand, to forgive, to teach, to comfort, to cheer, to rescue, and to save. I know that this is His church and its simple fullness. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet called and lead by God to bring these truths to us, God´s children. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It testifies of Christ, and contains the answers to the soul. I know that God has a plan for us—a plan in action. I know that through this plan Satan is defeated and exaltation is possible. I know it is the only possible way to God, and if we accept Christ´s invitation to follow Him in faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, it is possible. I know God leads us today through our living and beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, in every aspect. I don't doubt because I can´t afford to doubt, and everything I learn in life, all I hear and see and experience only adds to this testimony of faith until that day when I can stand face to face with my Savior Jesus Christ and bear my witness that I know.
And as I pass the eighteen-month goal line of this spiritual marathon and savor my last sister missionary breaths, I´ve decided what I would wish as a heading for my RM gravestone, "Invited others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end". Not to say I did so perfectly, nor that my going home marks the end of my efforts in this purpose, but only because I hope the sum total of these months in which God allowed me a fulltime part in his work and glory have had some miniscule effect in the eternal life of at least one soul aside from my own. I´m really going to miss not just being able to teach, but also to show, to love, to experience, to tutor, guide, and to accompany these of God´s children on their journey to Christ. And even in this short year and a half my merciful God has showed me countless joyous fruits as evidence of what He has done with me as a tool in His hands, of which I savor, and in which I glory. And in the words of a fellow missionary (shout out to Hermana Millett!), simple and profound, "The mission has truly saved me."
Love you all! Can´t wait to see you next week!