As you have all so kindly reminded me... this is my last letter of the mission. I'd be bitter about the reminders... but I think I need it... otherwise my state of denial would be worse. I really don't feel like I'm finishing... we are of course working with everything and running with all that we have... and so of course nothing has changed yet... and I just can't imagine life being different than this dream that I have been living the last 18 months. .....is there life beyond this?
As I've been reflecting on these precious and sacred last 8 months here in Belize... pure gratitude overwhelms me. This has been such a hard and painful experience here... the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually difficult thing I've ever done... and oh how I love it. I can honestly say that I am grateful for the pain and trials I've been through here... because they have ended in the sweetest joy and love I have ever tasted before. I have found that the people that have been THE HARDEST to serve... are now the dearest and most difficult to leave. Nephi said it so beautifully in 2 Nephi 33, " I have charity for my people... and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat." ... and I share that faith with him. I know that through the Atonement and the grace of Christ... that my family here can and will continue to come unto Him... repent.. and that we can be together again... but in pure bliss. I have shared with some the same message that Nephi also said at the end... that "these words shall condemn you at the last day..." because it is the hard truth.. that they are now even more accountable to continue acting on the things we have taught them... and I have been given the hope and confirmation that they will continue to do so.
I have seen countless miracles and tender mercies every day of my mission.... and the Lord has so clearly made His hand manifest in all these things. I have received a peace that I have done what I was sent here to do. This is a never ending fight and work... despite the huge part of me screaming to build my own little bungalo on the canal and run barefoot house to house here forever.... I do know that I have done what He has sent me to do... with the time He has mercifully granted me. I love the way Jacob put it in his end... that "our lives passed away like it were unto us a dream..." - although this is the most awake and alive I've been in my life... and yet... looking back.. it has truly flown by like a dream.... and I plan to never wake up.
The lord led me to find the perfect scripture this week... that brought me great solace and comfort. In D&C 19:32 when he is giving instructions to the missionaries to serve and preach His gospel... he said,
" This is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you.... this shall suffice for their daily walk; even unto the end of thy life."
I am consigned to leave Central America/Carribean... but my service will never end. For that... I am eternally grateful.
P.S. Upon my return.. my only request is that there be waiting for me...... a bike, list of inactives and recent converts... and spinach salad. :)