Monday, November 2, 2015

Heading off into the sunset!

Well this is it. I can't believe it but it is coming to an end. I just need to finish packing, say some goodbyes, have dinner with Elder and Sister Horne (the senior couple) and then on wednesday I fly to Barbados for my final interview with President and then on thursday I hop on the big plane for a big transfer. Crazy! I have a lot going through my mind right now and I am going to try to use the next little bit to share all of them! If it's a little scattered please just bear with me!
These last 27 months have changed my life so much! I can't believe they are over. I have gotten to know some of the most incredible people in the entire world! I truly love the west indian people! They are absolutely incredible! They are so happy. I am going to miss that so much! I have learned from them that it isn't so much about what we don't have but focusing more on what we do have. I am going to miss that. 
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is there to help us come closer to Jesus Christ. We just need to use the keystone to get closer to the cornerstone. I have said this before but I know that there is peace just waiting inside of those pages.
I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and that he was the instrument used to restore Jesus Christ's church. I know that the church is still divinely led and that the Lord is still the head of it. I know that Thomas S Monson is a Prophet and is called by God to help guide the church here.
I have also been able to see how much our Heavenly Father really knows us. To be completely honest when I came home for knee surgery, I didn't know why this was all happening and whether I would be able to make it back out. It was still one of the hardest moments of my entire life. I questioned a lot of things. I struggled a lot! But I learned that Heavenly Father puts amazing people in your life for a reason. Now I'd like to highlight a few of those. The first is obviously my mother. I have to agree 100% with Elder Holland when he said at this last conference, "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." During those 3 tough months and the rest of my mission my mom continued to carry me and support me. I love my Mom and I am so grateful for her and her love. I also am grateful for my Dad. Those 3 months were some of the closest moments for me and my Dad. He helped me so much with just being patient and working through it. I also had some great talks with him during that time as well. I also had some other wonderful family members and friends that were there that helped me to make it through it. But due to time I can't go into any more specifics. I guess the bottom line is though, I know that Heavenly Father truly does love us and He puts great people in our path to help us along the way! i know that!
I am also a witness of the scriptural promise, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." I know that is true. I may not have been the best at it over the last few years but I've tried! Ha and I've noticed that as we don't worry so much about what we want and we allow ourselves to follow the Savior and worry more about what He wants then the power will come into our lives! Then we will find the true purpose of our lives! If you want to know why you are here then forget yourself and try to help somebody else! I know that as you do that you will find yourself! Elder Christofferson once said, “Not only do we ‘find’ ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. … We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!”
I know that our Heavenly Father answers our prayers. He loves us. I don't know why we sometimes forget this simple truth so much! It kills me! However it is something that I have also struggled with. But as I have gone throughout all of these things that were at times very hard I've realized that we really do matter to Him. He cares about us in a very special way. I hope that I will never forget that. If we will let Him, He will bless us more than we can possibly imagine. But we just have to let Him.
The greatest piece of knowledge that I have gained from my mission and the greatest friendship that I have made is definitely my friendship with my Savior. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that He loves us. I know that He can change us and transform us. Before we know it we will be on our way to becoming like Him. I heard a quote that goes something like this, "A life touched by Christ's grace will eventually begin to look like Christ's life." And that is the whole point! We are here to become like Him! And through the Atonement and Christ's "Amazing Grace" it is possible. I have to say that my favorite part of my mission has been seeing the Atonement change people. I think of these people that I have taught and a lot of them were in so deep. They were spiritually drowning. But as we came by and were able to help them access the blessing of Christ's Atonement, little by little they were changed and they were able to breathe. Were there setbacks and disappointment along the way? Absolutely. But they kept trying and kept working at it until the change came. I know that His grace is sufficient to change us until one day we will become exactly who He wants us to become.
I can't believe that "the best two years" are over. I have been blessed more than I could've ever imagined. I am going to miss it. It's time for a next chapter though and I am very excited. It is simply time to move on. I can't wait to see all of you! So to paraphrase the old Michael Buble song. "It will all be alright. I'll be home thursday night. I'm coming back home." I love you! I'll see you thursday!
With Love,
Elder Smith