Monday, August 15, 2016

Laoag Week 104

Dear Francis family, 

Well I have 7 more days left of work.   Wow, the mission goes by so fast and I can't believe that I will be home next week. Well I would just like to say that these last two years have been the best two years of my life and I won't regret this ever.  I am really going to miss the Philippines, the people I  have came to love, the friends I have made,  and the culture. I am really excited to come home and not because I am going to miss being a missionary, but I am really going to miss the Filipino people and all of the friends I have made. 
But I can tell you that the mission really does change a person and the testimony I have of the gospel really has grown so much.  I truly know with all my heart that this is the true church and I know that the Book of Mormon is true because I have seen how it can change the lives of others.  I feel like when I read it, I put myself in their spot and really think and ponder what I read and my testimony grows so much stronger that Jesus Christ lives and He is my Savior and Redeemer.  He loves me so much and He died for me. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet because I have prayed about it and I have received an answer that he is a true prophet of God.  That is why I came on a mission,  because of the Restored Gospel and because I know that Jesus Christ lives. That is why we are all here, because of Him.  I keep telling myself and other members that I meet that we need to "Stand up for what we believe in". We need to live the gospel to the full and be an example of the believers at all times.  We need to be a light to others so others can see the good example.   You need to stand on higher ground to lift others and that is what I have seen my last two years of my mission and the people's lives that have changed.  The thank you's and the tears and happiness I see in their eyes and hearts and they truly can feel the spirit when we share the gospel with them.  They feel the love Heavenly Father has for them.
 I also know that a mission is not easy but it is so worth it.   I have gone through ups and downs and a lot of trials but we need to get back up on our feet and get back to work, and always remember that we are never alone in this work. I always remember this quote "Do I want the life that's up ahead, or the life I left behind?" I can say before my mission I was going through a lot of trials and my faith was not as strong and neither was my testimony.  I had obstacles and road blocks that came to my life but because of my mission I  have seen the love of my Heavenly Father and the power of the Atonement and the healing power it has on each and every one of us.  No matter how far you have gone or how lost you get, the atonement of Jesus Christ is real and it is there for everyone. There is only one person in this world that knows your thoughts and what you are going through and that is our Savior and he has felt our pains and sorrows and wants us to be more happy. 
Also something I have heard on my mission a lot is this quote "True Christlike service is selfless and focuses on others."  I feel like since I have been here on my mission I have learned or obtained Christlike attributes and the promised blessings when we truly serve him with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, and really serve him every day in our actions and deeds. I like what Elder Holland said to us missionaries: "When I asked you to be a missionary, it was forever. When I asked you to see this through to the end, it was because it's not over 'til it's over, we're in this 'til the end."  I  like how it says we are missionaries forever, here on the mission and after because we have Christ's name in carved in our hearts and we are his instruments in this work and helping his children return unto him.   We need to endure always the trials and challenges that come into our lives and endure the hard things and continue to exercise our faith in him. 

Something else I would like to share with you is the 13th Article of Faith.  It starts of with "WE Believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men: indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." I would like to share my testimony about this and when I read this it makes me think that "It is about who we are",  It's not just a behavior, that's who we are at all times. We live these principles 24/7, every day and every hour we need to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and virtuous at all times and in all things. We need to endure all things and continue to walk forward in the right path that leads us to eternal life and that is what I  really like from this article. 

Well Francis Family and Friends it has been a long two years, but the best two years ever and I am ready to come home.  I can't wait to see you all. I would love to baptize Aiden and tell him Congratulations!  I would love to see you all at the airport next Thursday.  I will see you next week. Thank you for the prayers and e-mails and letters and the love you have given to me.  

Mahal na Mahal ko kayo at mag ingat kayo palagi. 
Kita kits next week. 
10 days na lang. 

Elder Francis 

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