I wish I knew how to tell you all the thoughts and feelings racing through me, but it would be impossible to relay them to you as keenly as I'm experiencing them.
Naturally, this week I've thought deeply of what my mission has given me. This has by far been the hardest experience of my life, but I've never felt so happy or so free. There are too many gifts to count that I've received from my time here, but I will name a few.
An understanding - a true understanding - and love for the Savior. I've caught a glimpse of His atonement again and again, along with all the healing, restoring, redeeming, enabling powers it offers.
A stronger, deeper appreciation and appetite for the scriptures. Diligent study has opened my eyes and enlightened me. I crave the peace they provide.
A witness of the reality of the Restoration through His servants on the Earth. I love, revere, and believe the words of the prophets and apostles. I know they are called of Him.
An eternal perspective of the Family. I know our families are specially catered to us, and that they are central to the Plan of Happiness.
A vision and understanding of how the church works. It is remarkable! What stunning organization, what beautiful members, what an inspired kingdom. Peace and safety and goodness are found here.
A deep sense of identity and purpose. My feeling and reverence for God as my Father has grown so significantly... I feel increased confidence and peace with myself as I've come to understand my relationship to him.
An increased commitment to claim my gift of the Holy Ghost. I know what it is like to feel its influence govern my thoughts and decisions. Personal revelation through its power is one of my most cherished gifts in this life.
A testimony of the Priesthood. I have seen it work in imperfect men to move the Lord's work forward. I believe in its authority and power, accessible according to the worthiness of the bearer. It makes sense to me.
A greater grasp of eternal laws and principles - tithing, fasting, chastity, the word of wisdom, mercy, justice, agency, accountability. I have seen miracles wrought as a result of obedience to them.
A sincere love for people and relationships. I know He teaches and touches us through those He brings into our lives. I will carry the tender connections and relationships I've built here with me throughout the years to come. I feel as if I've caught a glimpse of true charity through these people here.
Above all, I have gained a testimony and a deep conviction of God's love. It is so real. With that understanding, I am committed to do everything in my power to return to Him.
Sister Reeves' words sum up much of how I feel:
"...I do not know why we have the many trials we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father,'Was that all that was required?' I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally."
I feel so equipped with perspective and understanding. I know the miracles I've seen here will continue to propel me forward in the days ahead.
I love you! I have so much to share with you and I'm so excited to be with you again.
See you soon :)