Monday, July 17, 2017

My Last Post

So this will be my last email home as a full-time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I still have all of this week to be a missionary but next Monday I will be with my family here in Chile, and I probably won't write home. 
I want to take this opportunity to reflect a bit on the past 2 1/2 years as a missionary, and also on how it has affected me. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of going on a mission without the slightest idea of what a mission really was. I learned really quickly when I arrived in the mission field in February 2015 that a mission is much more that a really long Youth Conference. After a long preparation at home I returned to the mission on December 2, 2015 ready to start again. 
The mission isn't easy. There were many times when I wanted to give up because no one wanted to listen to us, or because I couldn't speak Spanish, or like when my grandfather passed away suddenly. But from every one of those moments I learned something valuable. I feel very much like Ammon when he speaks about the trials and blessings he and his brothers had when they went to teach the Lamanites (Alma 26:27-30).
Even through all of the rough times I was able to see the hand of God work in the lives of the people like Claudia and Fernando from Linares, or like Loismar from Concepcion. I was able to make friends that I will remember for the rest of my life like Claudia and Javier from Concepcion. I can truly say  "...there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all powerall wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name." (Alma 26:35)
All of those experiences have helped me to learn who I really am and the grand plan that God has for every one of us. All of my companions, investigators, converts, members, and leaders have, in one way or another, helped me to understand that God is really our loving Heavenly Father and that he truly loves us. He has provided the way for us to achieve eternal happiness through his son Jesus Christ. The joy that I receive by sharing and teaching others about this plan is immense.
"know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and glory in it. do not glory of myself, but glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." (Alma 29:9-10)
Thank you to everyone who has supported me during these past years through your emails or through your prayers. See you soon!

Elder Evelo