Monday, May 29, 2017

week 78: "Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant!"

Monday, 29 May 2017

     Well folks this is it the final blog posts as a full time missionary. It's quite bitter sweet for it all to be coming to a close. But I am forever grateful for my mission. Before I sob I'll tell you about my final week! 

      We started off with pday at Top Golf!! It's a a super fancy, huge golfing arena. It's like batting cages for golfing! I stink at it, like I can't swing to save my life but it was still SO fun! We then did the usual pday activities. After dinner we had a little desert and lesson with the Hill family! Sister Kikel shared a quote from Elder Hollands talk "Missionary Work and the Atonement." Its long, but trust me, it's good!
"Presidents, you will have occasion to ask, and your missionaries will have many occasions to ask, why is this so hard?  Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid?  Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth.  We believe in angels. We believe in miracles.  Why don’t people just flock to the font?  Why isn’t the only risk in the mission field that of pneumonia, just being soaking wet all day and all night in a baptismal font?  Why isn’t it easier, President?  Why do the people not understand, President?  Why do they reject us, President?  Can’t they see?  These are things that a nineteen and a twenty and twenty-one year old will ask.  These are things I have asked.

     I have thought about this a great deal.  I offer this as my personal feeling.  It is not Church doctrine per se.  It’s just my feeling to you as you prepare to go into the mission field.  I am convinced that missionary work (life) is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.  Salvation was never easy.  We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, He is our Great Eternal Head.  Why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement if we have never known or felt anything of such an experience? As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ—and we are.  But mark my word.  That means you must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, to at least occasionally sometime during your mission shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed.

       Now please don’t misunderstand.  I’m not saying you have to look for suffering, and I’m not saying that we experience anything anywhere near what Christ experienced.  That would be presumptuous and frankly, sacrilegious.  But I believe that missionaries and investigators to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to come to repentance, to come to know something of the price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price—it will only be a token, but I believe it has to be paid.  I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness in the Church is.  I believe it is supposed to require something of our soul. If Jesus could plead in the night, falling on His face, bleeding from every pore and crying, “Abba, Father, [Papa]...[remove] this cup from me” (Mark 14:36).  Well little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or “easy” thing for a missionary.  This is the Living Son of the Living God saying, “Isn’t there some other way?” So, presidents, if your missionaries (anyone) wonder why this isn’t easy, they should remember they are not the first ones to ask that.  Someone a lot greater and a lot better asked it a long time ago.  He asked if there were not a less excruciating way—and for him, there wasn’t.  So, perhaps, for us in token and symbolism, there won’t be an entirely easy way either."  Can I get an Amen!? It's so true. If we choose to follow and represent the Savior, of course it's not going to be easy! But He is going to help us, that's the great thing is that He is walking alongside us and carrying us through our trials.

      Tuesday I got to check something off my bucket list! We did chalk art in the park! We drew out the Plan of Salvation and some quotes and scriptures that we love!! We can only pray that someone will see it and it will bring them comfort or help the, to want to find answers to questions!

       That afternoon we backed with Nancy for the last time!! I love that lady! She is so sweet and we both have a love for chocolate and peonies! We had a pretty in depth conversation about the Plan of Salvation. We hear a lot of "oh, that makes sense!" So that's a good sign! 

      Wednesday I had the opportunity to sit down with President Marston for the last time. It was the best interview I've ever had. I feel so much peace about going home. I feel that I have worked hard, and the Lord has accepted my efforts. I love President Marston and I am forever grateful for his love and care!! 

      Friday was the departing Temple trip. President and Sister Marston, the Kenneys and the departing missionaries all went to the Temple! All I can say is I felt so much love and peace. President had each of us promise him that we will always be Temple worthy and hold a current recommend! So many blessings!! Ahh!

       We had a lesson with Ron and Patty Coney! It was the best lesson we have ever had!! I shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon and got to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of this book of scripture. It has truly changed me. I find answers, peace and direction. My relationship with my Savior has grown and I am just happier when I read it! 

       Saturday was my last proselyting day!! It was a good day! The highlight was tracting and meeting Betty Gotluck! She's golden! She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon, she's looking for a church and wants the Sisters to come back! She was so excited and so grateful that we stopped by!

      Sunday was SOOOO GOOD!! The talks were amazing and the spirit was strong! Nancy came to church!! We spent the day saying goodbye!! I got to see the KRINKES!! I LOVE them so much!! It didn't really feel like my last Sunday as a missionary. It hasn't really hit me yet that I'm getting on a plane tomorrow and flying home.

       I have absolutely loved my mission. I am so grateful that God called me to serve Him and His children. I have laughed, cried, felt joy and sorrow. I've had many ups and downs but I wouldn't trade my experiences for the world. I know that my Savior lives and love me. I know that He has carried me and led me. 

Once a missionary, always a missionary. 
Lots of love, 

Sister Emily Gore 

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