Well everyone. This is it. I can't believe that I am writing my final email as a missionary right now. If you want the real "juice" and everything I learned as a missionary then you probably won't ever get it. Well, you can sorta get a little now, and a little bit more at my homecoming talk (Date and time TBA). But I have learned a lot more than 18 months of scripture mastery and teaching skills. I feel like my spirit has aged a lifetime since I started my mission. I don't think that I'll look very different to any of you (rather than plumping up a bit, perhaps). But I know that the Lord has totally remade me on the inside. C.S. Lewis said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace."
I've learned many things about myself as a missionary. The most important discovery I made, is that it IS possible to offer your whole soul to the Savior. I really didn't think I could let go of the world. I spent the first weeks wondering how I would ever get my left foot "out of Babylon", until I gained a testimony of the truth that has been taught to me for so long! That we are not human beings having an earthly experience, we are spiritual beings, filled with light and intelligence, having an earthly experience! This being said, how could following the voice of the spirit and tuning out evil be counter-intuitive? It may be painful at first, but it IS THE EASIEST WAY! I testify that we can give our whole souls as an offering to Christ. In the Book of Moses, Chapter 5 verse 6, an angel appears to Adam and Eve, asking why they were offering the firstlings of their flocks.
"Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shall do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shall repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore."
I have had more joy than I could have ever imagined possible as a missionary. It has been the most incredible and life changing 18 months of my life so far, because it has been the first time that I have done everything in the name of the Son. I know that he lives, and I pray that the joy I have found will guide me as I work to do all that I do in the same of the "Only Begotten of the Father, who is full of grace and truth."
Here is a little picture of Kevin's baptism on Saturday. What a beautiful way to end this mission. As soon as he was baptized, he changed into his basketball clothes to play ball with the young men after the service! Literally brought tears to my eyes! I love this boy so much.
I love you all more than I can say, and I can't wait to see you again! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers!! Gotta go because it is so embarrassing to cry at public libraries!
Sister Thayne..... signing out.... *single tear rolls down her cheek*