Well this is the last one. End of the line.
Well this is the last email I will send as a missionary. It is really kinda sad to think that the end has finally come and that there is nothing that can be done. I obviously am looking forward to certain things when I go home like family and friends and all of that. I'm kinda iffy on the whole going back to homework thing. But honestly it's kinda scary. I've spent the last two years of life in a very protected/attacked way. To explain this is kinda hard but those of you who were missionaries probably already understand. We are attacked by temptation daily as missionaries and because of the badge or cuz of our title we can easily turn away from the temptation. Like we are attacked from every stand point possible but we just move on and roll with it. I know that my choice to be a missionary pleases my Heavenly Father and absolutely pissed off Satan. And I'm pretty sure Satan isn't a very forgiving person. As missionaries we move God's work along. It's our job and for some of us it's our joy.
One of my joys is helping people in their problems. For example this past Sunday night I spent the night with an investigator family. The mother is looking for ways to improve her family and the dad just seems to be indifferent. We have been meeting and hanging out with their son more recently to help him and be a good influence on him, cuz that's what his mom wants. But Sunday night his mom decided to have me give my personal advice to help them parent one of their daughters. I'm only 21. I've got no kids, therefore no parenting experience really. And so honestly with this type of resume I'm way under qualified. But with love for this family I proceeded to draw upon the knowledge that comes from the prophets and apostles of this modern era. I suggested family councils, one big one to get it all started followed with small weekly ones to help everyone to grow together. Then she wanted me to mine in and try to confront the discipline section of family. I told them that they should in their family council go over the house rules and help everyone agree on the rules and the punishments and therefore once an agreement is made about rules and punishments there can be no complaining. She then asked how I was disciplined and I said some by force and sometimes not. But I then said every child is different and some need force and others don't. I needed the force obviously. Also I said that punishment needs to be given in love, weird saying it and they thought it was a bit weird at first too probably. But anyways the mom was way grateful and promised to follow through with this little plan. Actually we might go and mediate the first family council. Who knows?
This is my joy nowadays. Helping people apply gospel principles in their lives that move them closer to God, Jesus Christ, to eternal life, and to each other. It's so awesome to see. It's almost unbelievable to see the change in some people. Like for my last email I want to sum up my time her with a few things I did to help some people. I will not use names and there are multiple people for each thing I have helped people do.
Most people don't know, including my parents, but I had a really hard time in college for a while. My life seemed pretty good but I didn't know what was wrong. I was getting good grades. I was doing good in volleyball. I was having fun with friends but nothing was good. I didn't understand. Slowly I had stopped reading scriptures and slowly I began to decrease my church attendance to just an hour sometimes two. I claimed I was tired or that because all the lessons were on marriage that it wasn't for me so I pretty much kinda stopped. I still attended at least sacrament but sometimes I found that even hard. After returning home for the winter break I could tell something needed to change. But I still didn't know what. I returned for a second semester and almost immediately stopped attending church. I started finding different reasons not to go. And I began to feel the deepest loneliness I had ever known. I had no one I felt. Yet I had lots of friends. Japan is very similar they have lots of friends but they feel like their missing something. And it's true they are missing something. It's the same thing that I was missing. The best friend you could have, a Heavenly Father. Towards the end of the semester and having spent most of the semester avoiding actual church meetings, for some reason I didn't mind Institute. So in April of 2015 I realized that my time to serve a mission was close, yet at that moment I couldn't truthfully say if I knew God answered prayer or not. I couldn't say the church was true or not. I realized that I might break a promise I made to my mother. I always told my mom I would be an Eagle Scout and a missionary. And I wasn't sure I could do the latter anymore. So I embarked on a three week journey for answers. I decided the best thing to do was pray so for three weeks I went to the church building every night to shoot some hoops and pray. I began with a prayer, and I would pray any time I took a break and prayed before I left. I'd like to say it all came back to me but I wasn't going to be content with just a feeling I needed to know. So even when good feelings came with prayer I pressed on wanting more of an answer. So at the end of three weeks I felt like I had given my end of the bargain and that because God had not answered it was all good. So I said one last prayer, in which I said, "Well Heavenly Father this is the end of the road for me and you I guess. It's been a good 18 or so years but after I walk out of these church doors tonight, don't expect me to walk back through them, because you haven't done anything for me tonight or the past few weeks. So good bye." As I packed up my stuff and headed out I got a call from a friend telling me he had been meaning to call and talk, but finals had bogged him down a bit but he couldn't shake the feeling any longer. He then told me where he was and to come talk to him. I had gotten my miracle. As I looked around I was standing about two steps from the door. Ready to walk out forever. But my loving savior decided to let me know in my time of deepest loneliness and hate towards God that he loved me and that he did not want me to walk out that door forever. I resolved all of my problems with my friend with humble prayer, scripture study, and of course church attendance. The very three commandments that I teach people here. I resolved my loneliness by creating a bond with my Heavenly Father. Don't ever forget that, because I did and it hurts. I tell this very story to less-actives, members, investigators and all who will listen. I then tell them that they can know God is there and that he loves them, just like I do, because he is there. And he will answer theirs, and your, prayers. This is a testimony that's stayed with me and been a true companion for these two years. Just like the many other testimonies that I have gained here in this wonderful land of Japan.
This is for certain I love this people. I quoted it in my farewell talk and I do so know. "When I fully understand them... I love them"-Ender Wiggin (Enders Game). I understand this people, their language, and their mindset. And I love every bit of them. And because I love them, I have spent the past two years preaching a gospel of peace, of love, of healing, of hope, and deliverance. I end this long email/testimony saying; I love all of you that have supported me during these two years. Any and all mail, electronic or the regular letters have been much appreciated. And if I didn't tell you personally I'm very sorry. Thank you for this crazy ride and I will see you all back in the states, if my parents can get me on the plane ✈ home 🏡 😉 😉.
Called to Serve in the Japan Nagoya Mission..