The Conclusion

Well… I think this is going to be my last post on this blog. My mission ends next week and I’m not sure when I’ll have the time (and motivation, quite honestly) to make another ‘official’ posting. So… this is it. Nothing in particular is really on my mind, but I’d like anyone who’s reading this to know that the last two years of my life could not have been spent any better than they were.

My mission was awesome, and it will most definitely be something that I’ll keep close to my heart for the rest of my life. Yeah, sure, it wasn’t a walk in the park. There were ups and downs. There were times when things went right and I knew that I was doing the Lord’s work, and there were other times when things didn’t go so well, and I wondered if I was wasting my time. Thankfully, the Lord has been with me to lift me up, even during those rough moments… or days… or weeks… or months, and to remind me that things aren’t meant to be easy.

But honestly, even the lowest points of my mission were still super awesome. It’s amazing how easily we can function through stressful periods of time. What’s key, or rather, the two main keys are simply a good attitude and a reliance on Jesus Christ and His gospel. Everything else basically falls under those two things.

I’ve learned too many things to count… about others, about the gospel, about the world, about myself. Some things I’ve learned about others… let’s see. People are weird. Straight up, some people are just strange. But it’s okay, ’cause we’re all weird, and we’re also all children of God. Not one of us is better than any other. We each have our strengths and weaknesses. We each have our likes and dislikes. We each have a history, and perhaps most interestingly, we really can’t judge anyone based on their past. Oh yes, you can make generalizations, but you never know when or how someone might change. You never know when a heart might be softened, or broken.

About the gospel? The gospel is powerful. It can be what breaks that hardened heart. It can pierce the thickest darkness and make it light. It can be what gives you strength when nothing else in life can or will lift you up. It’s so much more than even just a lifestyle;  it’s a dedication. It’s a consecration of one’s soul to the Lord (this one I’m still learning about… and working on). It’s the most personal thing in the world, yet it requires one to reach out to others more than anything else.

About the world? The world is messed up. That’s about it. It’s a shaky foundation to build on… and by that I mean it will crumble beneath your feet. Don’t trust it. Don’t rely on it. Don’t indulge in it. Rely on the gospel.

About myself? For one thing, I learned very quickly that, contrary to my pre-mission belief system, I am not the only normal person in the world. I’ve become a lot better at picking the right battles in life. I’ve learned patience and a little bit of charity. I’ve learned that my mind indeed can be quite powerful, and with the right kind of motivation, I can get myself to do a lot of things. I’ve also learned that I am absolutely nothing, and that everything I have learned about myself means nothing if I don’t associate it with the teachings of Christ. In essence, I’ve learned that though I am certainly nothing, and by myself can only amount to nothing, I am everything to my Heavenly Father and my Savior and can do anything with Their help…. if I let Them into my life.

Well, I think I’ve probably rambled enough. I’d just like you to know that I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s kingdom on the earth today. It is the only true church. It contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel, including the holy priesthood of God. The Book of Mormon is a fruit of Joseph Smith. It is a true record, and those that sincerely pursue a study of it can come to know of its divinity by the Holy Spirit. We have prophets today, and the Lord speaks to them just as He has spoken to them anciently, as we can read in the Holy Bible, which is also the word of God.

I can’t express how grateful I am to my Savior. He’s done more for me than I could possibly imagine to list. He’s been with me through so much, the good and the bad. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, my Rock, and my Redeemer. He suffered and died for our sins, and now He lives for us! How awesome is that? The Atonement of Christ is so powerful, it’s really quite amazing. I love my Savior. I wish I was a better servant, a better representative. I have regrets, but who doesn’t? All we can do is seek forgiveness through Christ’s atonement and then move on and do better. Look up. Look forward. Don’t let your sins or our past define who you are. You are a child of God. Let that divine knowledge help build your character.

Thanks for reading! I invite you to look through all the posts I’ve made. I’ve got quite a few… so… go read and have an awesome day. God bless.

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Lessons From A Dream

So I had a really interesting dream a few nights ago. I dreamt I was in an airport with my family, ending my mission. In the dream itself, I woke up the next morning, not a missionary, and had a great time hanging out with people. I honestly can’t remember who the people were, but I remember it was really sweet. It was just such an amazing feeling, the fact that I had accomplished my mission and was now beginning the next great chapter in my life.

Then I woke up. My sight met darkness, and after a brief moment of confusion I realized I was back in my bed in Montana. I’ll admit I felt a little frustrated when I also realized I still had six months left to go on my mission. It was a strange experience, mostly because it was the first time I had a dream specifically about finishing my mission. I remained in my frustration for most of the morning, wondering why in the world I would be given such an experience. I already have enough difficulty trying to keep my mind focused throughout the day. The last thing I needed was a dream about going home!

All these thoughts vanished away, however, as I realized that perhaps the Lord was trying to teach me something with this dream. These are some things that I’ve gathered from my thoughts.

1. The end doesn’t come easy.

Life is a journey, and the destination doesn’t usually arrive in an instant. If we want to get somewhere, we need to do some enduring and exercise some patience. From point A to point B there may be some distance. In my case, it’s six months. So be patient and enjoy the journey.

2. Prepare for the end, the time between really isn’t that much.

My second thought was, “Holy buckets! Six months? That’s nothing!” It really isn’t. One and a half years flew by like nobody’s business, six months definitely won’t take very long. I only have six months left to learn all I can learn as a full-time missionary. I only have six months left to share the gospel with as many people as I can. I think my dream was a good reminder to me that my time is short and I need to use it wisely. Am I always able to do that? Certainly not. I’m not great at managing my minutes. Wasting time was pretty much a hobby of mine before my mission. Anyone who knows me very well can second that. But I’m trying to do better and learn from my mistakes.

So basically I did a 180 and became rather grateful for the dream. The Lord knows what I need, so… I probably needed it. Don’t let a minute pass you by. Make the most of your time, and when you screw up, seek counsel and forgiveness from the Lord and then move on with your life. And don’t think so much about your destinations that you miss out on the experiences the journeys can give you.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4)