Monday, May 1, 2017

Beginning a New Chapter: Life Changes

Two months ago today I returned home from being a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I took off my nametag that I had placed with a smile every day that reminded me that I was personal representative of Jesus Christ and that I was lucky enough to be able to share the restored Gospel with the wonderful people of Guatemala. I said goodbye to all of the wonderful people that I met in so many different places. And slowly I began adjusting to 'normal' life again. But a part of me remains in Guatemala. And every single day I cannot help but think of all the amazing people that I met there and how they changed my life. Now since I got home a lot of people have asked exactly what I did as a missionary in Guatemala... and to be honest I have not done the best job of explaining it. So I want to take a chance to let people know a little more about what exactly I did every day for 18 months. As a Mormon missionary we are called to invite all people to come unto Christ and to follow Him through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. So what exactly does that mean... well it means that every day we went out and tried to meet as many people as possible and talk to them and share with them messages about Jesus Christ and the blessings that we can receive in our lives as we follow Him. Now some people are probably thinking why in the world would a 19-20 year old willing do that with their time? Why did I decide to put my studies on hold for 2 years and go to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language and did not know a soul and try to teach people about Jesus Christ??? Well the answer is because I know that my message is true. I know it with all my heart. And I love my Heavenly Father and my older brother Jesus Christ. And I want everyone to be able to feel of their love. Because coming to know that they love you and understanding that because Jesus Christ suffered and died for each of us to help us all find peace and happiness in this life.. well that's something that changes lives. I saw it up close and personal. I saw peoples faith increase, I saw the Lord keep His promises and I saw people change their lives to do the things that the Lord asks each of us to do. And every single day it changed my life. I would not trade those experiences for anything in the world... not one second of it. Even when it was hard and I wanted to give up after being rejected all day, having doors slammed in my face or being rained on for hours because seeing the joy of the Gospel fill someones life made me the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. And to be honest coming home was the hardest thing that I have ever done. No one can fully prepare you for life after the mission. One day you are out talking to everyone and sharing about Christ and having all these wonderful experiences and the next day you are thrown back into the real world. And it was hard for me. It still is... but slowly I am adjusting. Life just has made me do an awful lot of reflecting but I love having small moments to just take a step back and think about what the Lord has in store for each of us. Many aspects of my future are currently up in the air but I am thankful that I can face to future with a calm knowing that with the Lord by my side I can do all things. And as I begin this next journey I am excited to see what the future holds. Like my mission president reminded me of my last day in the mission "the future is as bright as your faith." And I believe that I have a very bright future.

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