I never thought I would be sending out my final group email! But, the time has finally come. I did have a great last week in the mission!
First off, Light The World brought us so many miracles! We participated in the little service projects every day which made us so happy! In addition, we found some great new investigators this week by showing the video on doorsteps, people love it! We found six new investigators this week from it! (Which is huge for this area!)
We noticed these sweet, little girls at church had lice last week. And, we knew their parents (sadly) weren’t going to do anything about it. So, we decided we needed to go help them out. You know how you usually find a ton of eggs and just a couple of bugs? Well, we probably picked out 100 bugs. It was really bad! Later that day I went on an exchange with Hermana Jones (who is just the best and I was so excited to go on my last exchange with her!) She decided she would check my hair for lice that night, just to be safe. Sadly, I had a giant louse in my hair 😱 I ALMOST WENT MY ENTIRE MISSION WITHOUT GETTING LICE, AND IT WAS RUINED MY LAST WEEK! (It is normal for hermanas to get lice because we are around different people all day and we kiss their cheeks and touch heads.) So she coconut oiled up my hair and picked everything out the next day. Thankfully we just found the one bug, and it just managed to lay a couple of eggs. I am now clean! 😊
Tomorrow I will spend the day with the other missionaries that are going home and with my Mission President. Wednesday, I I fly back to Tulsa! (If anyone in Oklahoma wants to come to the airport with my family, I get in at 3:30 PM) That night I will be released by my ecclesiastical leaders and will no longer be a full time missionary. Even though I am leaving, I am not going back to the “real world.” I hope to never become part of the world; I will rise above it! My mission was an experience that changed my life more than I ever thought it could. Though I hope I was able to inspire and help other people, I know I am the greatest convert that came from my mission. I will end my final email with my personal testimony! This is the message I went out on a mission to share:
Heavenly Father loves us all so much! He is our Heavenly Father, the Father of our spirits. There are no coincidences, everything is part of His plan for us. He wants us to return back to Him, so He has given us things to help guide us. One of those things are our families. We lived as a family before this life, and He has given us a way to be with our families even after this life. He gave us the scriptures to help guide our families. The scriptures were written by prophets (like Moses) and Apostles (like Matthew.)
A prophet is someone sent by God to be His mouthpiece on the Earth. As we see in the stories of Noah, Moses, or any Biblical prophet, it is important to listen to prophets because they can speak with God face to face (Exodus 33:11) and they know what lies ahead. We can know if someone is a true prophet or a false prophet by their fruits (Matthew 7: 15-16). Sadly, people always reject prophets, and the world falls into a state called an apostasy when there isn’t a prophet on the Earth. All of the Old Testament prophets were preparing the world for the coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Christ did so many important things! The most important thing is that He died for us. Because of that, if we accept that sacrifice and follow Him, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. Christ also taught, set an example for us, and performed miracles. Even though there were many different beliefs and religions when Christ came to Earth, He established His own church (Matthew 16:18), or rather, His teachings and organization. He also called twelve Apostles. He gave them a power called the priesthood; the authority to act in His name. In Matthew 16:19 we read that with this power they could bind things so they would be bound on Earth and in heaven. They could bind things like a family, so they family could together even after this life. They could bind a baptism so that it would be valid in heaven and not just on Earth. This power was so important! Christ gave them this power by the laying on of hands. Because they had Christ’s power they could do some of the same things that Christ did like teach and perform miracles. (The prophets had this power too, that is how Moses parted the Red Sea.)
We read in Ephesians 2:20 that the Apostles were the foundation of Jesus Christ’s church. They were essential! (There also had to be 12 of them, that’s why they met together after Judas killed himself and chose Matthias to replace him.) Sadly, the people rejected Jesus Christ. He was crucified. But, three days later He resurrected (and lives today!) His church was still okay! The Apostles were still on Earth. They had His priesthood authority. They were the foundation of His church. They received revelation from Christ about how to guide His church, thus, it was still the church of Jesus Christ. But, the Apostles were teaching the same things Christ taught. The people rejected and killed Jesus Christ. They didn’t want to listen to the Apostles either. They were also rejected and killed. The Apostles were the ones with the Priesthood power, when they were killed this authority was taken from the Earth. The Apostles were the foundation of Christ’s church; If we take away a foundation of something it will fall down. Christ’s church fell.
But, there were still good people that wanted to follow Jesus Christ and remember the things He taught. So, people began to form their own churches. They taught good things, but they lacked priesthood power. Many churches taught about baptism, but they didn’t have the authority to perform a baptism that would be bound, or valid, in heaven. No one had the authority to bind a family. Marriages could only be performed “until death do you part.” When the people died their marriage ended. This was another apostasy, like the other ones that had happened in the past. This one lasted a really long time (after all, the people on Earth rejected Jesus Christ himself.) But, Heavenly Father would’ve leave us in darkness forever. The way He has always ended an apostasy is by calling another prophet.
In 1820 there was a boy named Joseph Smith. He was only 14 years old, but he felt really confused about what church he should go to. They all read the same Bible, but they taught different things. Jospeh Smith only had a 3rd grade education, but he decided to read the Bible on his own. One day he read in James 1:5 that if we lack wisdom we should ask of God. So, Joseph Smith decided to pray and ask God what church he should join. So, he went to the woods by his house to say his first prayer out loud. He started to pray when, in his own words, he said “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Joseph asked them which church he should join. He was told to join none of them; the church of Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth. Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet. He was called of God to bring back Jesus Christ’s original church, with everything that had been lost over time; Joseph Smith did not start his own church. Twelve apostles were also called. Three of Christ’s original apostles, Peter, James, and John came to the Earth as angels to lay their hands on Joseph Smith’s head and give him the priesthood authority of Jesus Christ that was lost. Because that power is on earth again a valid baptism can be performed and families can be bound together forever. Joseph Smith died, but another prophet was called. There is a prophet today! Thomas S Monson is the prophet of God on the Earth today.
We read in Matthew that we can know if someone is a prophet of God by their fruits. A fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith is the Book of Mormon. The Bible was written by prophets living in the Middle East. But, at the same time the Bible was written there were people living in other parts of the world. Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and He wanted everyone to know about Jesus Christ. So, he sent prophets to other parts of the world, as well. He sent prophets to the people living in the ancient Americas. These prophets wrote their experiences on plates. Eventually an apostasy occurred here too (a few hundred years after Christ died). The last prophet here, Moroni, was rejected and was about to be killed. He buried the plates in the ground. Joseph Smith was lead by an angel to find those plates, and by the power of God he was able to translate them (they were written in a very old language.)
The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible. The Book of Mormon is a second witness that Jesus is the Christ. In it we read the experiences the prophets had in the Americas. The Book of Mormon has brought so much peace to my life! The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
There is a way you can know if all of this is true. You simply need to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. I know He will answer you because He answered me. When I was 12 I decided I needed to know for myself, so I read the Book of Mormon and prayed to ask Heavenly Father if it was true. He answered me through the Holy Ghost. I was able to feel the Holy Ghost and know it was true. Because the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Because Joseph Smith was a true prophet, the church he restored is the church of Jesus Christ. That is why I went on a mission. There is a prophet of God on earth today! The heavens have been opened again! After centuries of being lost, the same church Jesus Christ himself established is back! We can have peace in this life, and we can live with God again and with our families after this life! This is the most important message; everyone deserves to know!
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask me! I would love to give you a copy of the Book of Mormon. You can also chat anonymously with missionaries online at mormon.org and read the Book of Mormon on the website.
I love you all! Thank you for supporting me, loving me, and praying for me these last 18 months. I don’t know exactly what lies ahead in my future, but I know it will be awesome!