Monday, December 7, 2015

*THE END* // *FIM*

Close your eyes for a sec. Think back to what you were doing two years ago. Where were you? Who were you with? I've been reflecting A LOT this past week. It's incredible how fast two years passed by. Two years ago I was packing a suitcase for an adventure to Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil where I would make friendships and memories that will last forever.

I'm down to the last TEN DAYS of my mission. I'll have one more Monday after this but I'm not sure how much time I'll have to email next week because of interviews, temple, etc. so I've decided to send out my last words today and to let you all know how much I've loved this mission and how much I've learned.

I remember as a kid we would have the missionaries over to eat dinner at our house and I always admired them and thought it was awesome because the best dinner of the month was when the missionaries were over. My parents hooked them up! I also remember putting on a tie and a backpack and riding around the neighborhood on my bike with my friend Scot pretending to be missionaries and it was like the coolest thing we did as kids. Eventually my rebel days came and the things of the world started to appear more attractive than the things of the Lord and my desire to serve a mission was lost. I remember fighting with my parents about serving a mission because it was going to be a "waste of time".

Fortunately my parents sent me off to BYU-Idaho for a year and a half where I learned that in order to marry an attractive girl from the church I would want to serve a mission. To be honest, the reason I came out on a mission was just to get that "RM" title to be able to date whoever I wanted at BYU. HOWEVER, having that as my base for coming out on a mission was not strong enough to keep me on a mission. I quickly learned that a mission is SUPER hard and that in order to make it through two years I would have to make up my mind and figure out what would be able to keep me on a mission.

In my first area, Águas Claras, I witnessed the true power that prayer has and was able to gain a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father. In Montanha I learned how to work hard and set high goals. When I went to São Tomé I was taught that many times God's plan for us is not the same as our plan for us and we need to accept the will of the Lord. When I went to Fátima I started to realize that it's the little things in life that bring us happiness and we need to give value to those things. In Fernando Osório I learned how to smile during hard moments (like getting robbed). Here in my last area, Lomba do Pinheiro, I've been learning how important the family really is. All these important lessons that I've learned in each of my area, along with many more, were key factors in the building up of the testimony that I have now. The testimony that I gained during these two years in Brasil was what kept me out here.

I have never seen God or Jesus Christ but I now know that they live because I feel them. I know that they have a really awesome plan for us and want us to be able to come back to their presence, better than when we were with them before this life. God calls prophets so that we don't have to wander through this life completely lost. The scriptures contain the words of the Lord and will tell us ALL things that we should do. Families are forever. There is no end to glory, there is no end to love. There is no end to being, there is no death above.

I love you all! Thank you for all your support, prayers, and whatever else you did for me!


Elder Sanok