Monday, June 23, 2014

DC Week 71!-- June 23, 2014

Okay. So this is it folks.

I never knew 18 months could hold so much adventure. So many lows. So
many treasures. So much growth. So many broken hearts. So much change.
So many ripple effects. So many miracles....

I never knew that I would love it here so much. That I would make
lifelong friends. That I would reconnect with old friends from another
time and place. That I would change them. That I myself, would be
changed because of it.

I never knew I would be a minority. Or learn so much about other
cultures. Or learn so much about my own nation. Or speak fluent
Spanish. Or become a fan of Inca Kola. Or hear the sound of cicadas.
Or get so many bug bites. Or spend so much money on tights. Or learn
how to cook arroz con pollo in a hundred different ways. Or see
fireflies. Or learn how to tell the difference between Japanese,
Chinese, Korean, and Thai. Or learn how to drive and stay alive on the
495. Or how to get lost so dang much.......Or how to find myself

I never knew that I would be okay with messing up. That God is so
merciful. That Christ's Atonement has no bounds. That it is never "too
late". That He never, ever leaves us to "fend for ourselves".

I never knew just exactly how God was going to use me. That He could
ever use someone so imperfect, to polish and perfect another's sins
and flaws. That that is exactly how He works. That the secret, is to
simply allow Him to. That the trick to success is to let Him in. That
forgetting myself and submitting my will to His ultimately earns us
both a win.

I never knew my capacity to love would increase tenfold. Or my
patience level. Or my to-do list. Or my organization skills. Or my
ability to daydream.

I never knew I would be exposed to so many religions. Or find so much
solace and conviction in my own.

I never knew I would get rejected so much. Or testify so hard. Or
defend my God so fervently.

I never knew that in one year and a half...I could live decades and
centuries. I never knew time could pass so quickly. I never knew that
in that fleeting time...I could even make a difference...

But I have.

...What I did know was that I would have to leave home to have all of this....
...What I didn't know was that I would be leaving home twice.

I love being a missionary. There is nothing better. Nothing. I love
this Gospel. It is true. It is real. It is fulfilling. It is
satisfying, and it is saving. It is essential for our Eternal
Salvation. And it is essential that we, as privileged holders of this
truth, share it.

Family, as a set apart representative of Jesus Christ, I leave you
with my conviction and sincere testimony that this is His divine
church, restored to the earth once more through the power of God. I
testify of the truthfulness, and the power of the Book of Mormon. It
is another testament of the living Christ. There is no flaw in it.
Through the prophet Joseph Smith, the impossible was made possible,
and a new and brighter hope once again filled the earth. We have a
living prophet on this earth today, who guides Christ's church under
His instruction, and He will never let us fall. We....are in the last
dispensation. The dispensation of the fullness of times. This is it.
Now it's just a waiting game. And what a fun and exciting game it is.
There is a lot of work to be done. And so, until that glorious day
when we shall again meet our Savior face to face, let us thrust in our
sickle with our might, and deliver those elect into the Hands of The
Lord of the Harvest, that they are not wasted.

The following hymn has stuck really close to me throughout my mission.
It also seems to fit nicely with my thoughts for this final email. So
I'll share it:

"It may not be on the mountain height or over a stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle's front my Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice He calls to paths that I do not know,
I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine: I'll go where you want me to go.

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I'll be what you want me to be."

Well, family. It's been good. It's been really good. Save me a spot in
the car for the ride home.

Sister Graff
(Alma 26:29-31)

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