As I look back over this time period I think on what I have seen. I think of my first sector and how sick it was to be arriving to the middle of the amazon jungle to serve, but what was even sicker was watching our branch grow in attendance due to our work to bring members to church. I remember arriving to my second sector in Cusco and having a culture shock from living in the jungle to becoming a city slicker, but even more shocking was the testimony I gained as I strived to grow and progress everyday through obedience and diligence in the work. I remember arriving to Juliaca and thinking about how many people I was gonna get to help while I was there, but even more than the conversion in others, Christ converted me.
Most of my mission, even though I have been striving as much as I can to help others, it seems that my mission has helped me. I can truly testify with all of my heart that if you lose your life for the Lord, you will find it.
Not only the best, but also the most difficult 2 years of my life. When you actually care about what you're doing, it seems as if everything gets harder. Elder Holland once said, 'If for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived.' I can also testify of the truth of those words. I remember an experience with the Zurita family a couple of months ago. My father told me something so important for my mission. 'Three words son. Love the people.' As I strived to love this family that we were teaching, I have been able to understand a small part of how much God loves us. For the simple act of them failing one of the appointments we had, I was brought to the point of tears. I have never cried, fought, or disappointment more in any part of my life. But, like Isaac Newton says, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Through the experiences I have encountered, and through the being tearing apart spiritually, Christ has been able to enter into my life and pick up the pieces and create something even better. I am still far from where I need to be, but I am so much closer than from where I was before.
Although I have served in a South American mission, I can not say that I have hundreds of baptisms beneath my belt. Honestly I dont even think I can say I have 20 beneath my belt. But with conviction I can say that God has converted at least one person on my mission. And that person is me. I am eternally grateful to people like President Harbertson, and Elder Black, and my parents, bishops, and countless others who have helped me on this journey.
Now my mission is ending and I have no regrets. I love the Lord and I love His work and I love His children. Now, if I may be excused, I have to go punch Satan in the mouth and preach the gospel for the time that I have left. I love you all and wish you all a great week.