it truly doesn't feel real. i feel numb and in shock and that i wont actually be home in a week. it has hit me about three times for just a moment, &the tears came hard, but other than that... im still working & honoring the placa on my chest the best i can. this next week is going to be insane, im not exactly sure of anything that is happening, ill be in a personal meeting with a general authority for the second time (this morning being the first), ill be in another area and with another companion, ill be battling with dia de peaton and trying to say goodbye to the people i love, but it doesnt matter at the end of it all. im still here in bolivia where i want to be and love to be. i feel such a strong love for everyone we pass in the street.. how is that possible?
i dont have time to write much but let me just say that i have seen an incredible amount of miracles this past week. its as if the windows of heaven have been opened and God is just showing me this is His work over and over and over again. i feel like it is a blessing from Him for working until the very last moment of the mission. miguel, jose luis, nowal.... my heart is literally overflowing with gratitude and amazement at the miracles God has shown me. i have so much JOY in my heart.
im sad to be leaving but i have peace. i had a wonderful interview with president hansen this past week and he helped me find an answer to a question ive been holding onto in my heart for the past 18 months. ive had experiences with prayer and revelation that jamas olivdare... ive been blessed left and right and all around and there truly isnt a way of explaining even the half of it, even if i did have the time..
speaking of time, that doesnt exist, and so here is my "final" (not actually the final, because a testimony isnt something we lose while sharing, its something that grows and burns even stronger al compartirlo..) testimony. for you syd, for the rest of my family, and for anyone who has taken the time to read my blog for these past 18 months. thank you for your support, your love, your prayers. i love you all and i will see you soon.
(you are welcome, it is in english, because president hansen asked for it in english for my final interview. forgive the grammar and spelling mistakes.)
ps, aunt judy, i love you so much. thank you for shooting me that email. those are JUST the words i needed to hear. <3
(not-so) final testimony:
It would be impossible to describe with words everything I have felt, experienced, and learned over these past 18 months. My time serving serving as a missionary in Bolivia has been such a blessing as my eyes have been opened to a better understanding of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony is simple but it burns in my heart and soul without a single doubt.
I know with all of my heart that this is the only true and Restored Church of Jesus Christ. I know that Christ is the head of this Church and that He restored it through His prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God and that by reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon any person with an honest heart and sincere desire can find the truth for themselves through the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet today. I know that the priesthood is the true power and authority of God Himself, and that it is found in the Earth today.
I know that God the Father lives. I know that He truly is my Father. I know He knows and loves me by my name and wants the very best for me. I know that He will provide me with the experiences I need to learn, grow, and become like Him. I know that His plan is perfect and that His Son Jesus Christ is the way back to His presence. I know that living and loving the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to gain true and lasting happiness in this life and in the life to come.
Perhaps the most important thing I have come to know during the mission is that Jesus Christ is not only the Savior and Redeemer of the world, but that He is my Savior and Redeemer. I have come to experience the true power of the Atonement. I have come to know my Savior on a personal level. I have felt His love enter my heart, wiping away all sin and filling me with the power to continue on. I have felt His hands lift, comfort, and guide me. When I have felt lost or weakened by life´s trials He has taken me by the hand and helped me back to my feet. I know that He truly and willingly gave His life for me. I know that each drop of blood was shed with love and that the marks in His hands are evidence of that love. I can feel of His love each and every time I take the Sacrament, read the Scriptures, pray, or serve my neighbor. I love Him, and I know He loves me. He lives. And I know that thanks to Him, we will all live again through His perfect and holy name.
I know that through God the Father and Christ the Son we can find hope and joy. I know that there is not a single sin we commit that is not able to be forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that there is not a single trial or weakness we can be given that can not be overcome with the help and strength of Christ. I know that all that is unjust in the world and this earthly life will have justice in the Last Day. I know that the Windows of Heaven can be opened and that the blessings can rain down in abundance to us here on Earth. I know that God loves each and every one of His children. I know that He will never abandon us, that it is not in His nature. He is loving. He is perfect. He is All-Knowing. I am grateful for the patience He has for me. Even when I forget Him, disobey Him, or fail Him, He always accepts me back into His loving arms. It is those loving arms that I crave to enter once again. The only words I wish to hear as I see Him for the first time once again are “I missed you.” I want Him to know me. I know that I can come to know Him as I continue reading my scriptures daily, praying daily, and attend His Church weekly. I love Him with all my heart and will show that love through trying my best to keep and honor the sacred covenants I have made in His Holy Temple. I do not doubt these things for a single moment. The truth of this Gospel brings a sure fire in my chest and fills me with His perfect love. This is my testimony. I know these things are true and I testify of them in His sacred name, Jesus Christ, Amen.