Monday, June 15, 2015

The last of them all.

Well, my family, friends, and all others who are on my list here, this is it. It has finally come to an end. My mission as we know it has officially reached a closing point.

In one week, I shall be once again as a normal person. I will be Coby once more.

This week I just want to talk about the blessings I have received and talk about how I feel and stuff like that. Just basically, finish my mission emails with the best one I've got.

So, to start off, I just want to say that I honestly didn't expect the mission to be this way when I got here. I honestly didn't think that I would have so many difficulties or heartbreaks or setbacks or low points.

However, I didn't think I'd ever get to the point I'm at now. I never thought I'd be the person I am after 2 years of service.

Looking back, i can see that there are a couple things I wish I could have done different, but they aren't things that are really big, such as contacting more, or trying to just find anyone possible using every last bit of willpower, strength, knowledge and wit to do it. Like, honestly, I wasn't a perfect missionary in that sense.

But I can also see that there are many things I wouldn't have any different. I wouldn't change my companions, my converts, my experiences, my friends, or even my wards.

I can see now in my mission that I've changed a lot not because of me, but because I've let God change me. I've come to understand a little more what it means to let God change you.

I came to understand this doctrine a little while back. I believe it to be 100% true:

God doesn't send us on a mission to baptize. He sends us on a mission to change us, and make us who He needs us to be.

Just think about that. God doesn't need me to baptize anyone, because he can do it on his own.

Besides, at the very end of everything, every single person will have had a baptism, either on the earth or in the Spirit World, and every single person will choose to reject or accept that baptism.

So honestly, me being here doesn't really mean a whole lot. Especially since there are SO MANY PEOPLE in this mission.

However, He DOES need me to serve Him later on in other capacities, and unless I am in His service, I will not be the Servant he needs.

Now, I'm not saying that it's not important to baptize, of course it is, and of course, I'm here to help people come unto Christ.

But if I had worked with all I had and brought not a single person to the waters of baptism, it wouldn't matter, because God just needs me to give effort so He can change me. That's the whole point of the mission. Not baptize a ton, but to save your soul.

I believe that God has done that here. I believe that Heavenly Father, although hopeful that His sons and daughters will accept me, sent me here to turn me into the person I am today. That's what this was all about.

I've received a lot in His service. I honestly thought that by serving a mission, I'd pay off the debt I owe Him, but that proved completely false, because I can never repay Him anyway, but even then, I just accrued more debt while on the mission anyway.

For starters, I've learned a second language, and I've become very proficient at it. Everyone says that apart from the people who learned Spanish and English together, I'm one of the best North American speakers in the entire mission. That's a great blessing that has been given me.

Next, I've become much more charitable. I know I wasn't so nice before, but I feel like I've grown a lot and learned how to love. Before, it took me quite a bit of willpower to even give a compliment to someone, but now, I love doing it. It's a big change, but an even bigger blessing.

After that comes knowledge. I've come to know SO MUCH about a lot of things: The culture of Mexico (which includes anything from government to manners to standard food), bikes (I have learned a lot about bikes here in Ensenada. I know the names for almost all the parts, and I can probably fix the majority of the problems there are), Scriptures, clothing, cleaning, studying, and a slew of other things. I could just sit here all day talking about it. But God has definitely blessed me to come to understand a lot more about many things, and I feel that this knowledge that I have will be put to good use later.

Another thing I've been blessed with is patience. Honestly, if I were to pick any one thing that I have received in the mission more than anything else, it would either be humility or patience. I've grown SO much more patient than I was before. Not saying I'm perfect in patience, but I endure a lot longer than I did before the mission, and I am able to hold out under pressure a lot more than I did before.

Something else I want to mention as a blessing is good friends. I've met a lot  of people on my mission. Missionaries and members and investigators alike. And almost every one of themn has become a very dear friend to me. Many of my companions are still excited to talk to me and see how I'm doing. In fact, there are 3 of them that are writing me even after their mission, and that are excited to talk to me when I'm home. I've got people who want me to come back and see them ASAP so they can say goodbye to me, and I know there's a bunch of others that I've met that would gladly accept me in their home once more.

Honestly, I can't name all the blesssings I've got, bceause I'm sure I'm still going to receive more in the future, but these are just some of the most important blessings I've received.

I want to thank all of you for your support. Every week, my Mom was emailing me, and she constantly told me about how many of you were asking how I was doing, or wondering when I was going to be home, and I know that all of that support has been manifest in prayers. Thank you all for everything.

I hope you've all enjoyed reading my emails these past 2 years. I've come to grow up a lot, and I hope you can see that throughout the letters.

Speaking of letters, I gotta finish this last one.

investigadores

Yeah, I said it in Spanish.

Luz Elena - She's set to be baptized. She asked me to baptize her, which is very humbling. I'm so excited to be able to finish the mission with a baptism. Everything is set with her.

Juanita - She should be baptized this week, but we just gotta find her and get everything set up. We're planning or, but we're going to see. Everything should be set for her too.

Fernando - Didn't come to church this week, and we don't know why. We're headed to his house to see what happened. He is progressing really well. He's read up to 2 Nephi, so he's honestly doing everything he can to stay in the church.

last time for fun stuff

1.) Well, to start off, last week, right after P-Day finished, we went to visit a guy we had contacted, when all of a sudden, an ambulance tears around the corner and passes by, and stops in front of the house we were going to visit. We went up, and turns out that the guy we were going to visit had a seizure. Well, we couldn't teach him all that week because of that... So, we're going to try a few more times this week to see what happens.

2.) We got rid of the bikes!

That's right. We're going on foot for my last week. Elder Cruz and I decided that it was better to go without them because they were causing too many problems. Also, Elder Cruz's bike was about to break anyway, so we just gave it back to the member, and I gave my bike away to a member that just recently had his stolen. I honestly felt really good giving it to him, because he really needs it. I just hope he chains it up this time...

3.) I played Tennis in the mission for the last time. Here's a picture of me with Jeffrey, one of the members who has been playing with me. I play better than he does, but he gave me a good match because of how rusty I am. I taught him how to serve and he started practicing and was really happy about it.

4.) Last picture is a picture of some statues that are on the top of pyramids in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico. There are som REALLY cool stuff I'd like to discuss about this statue with Mom and Dad later. It's awesome.

Okay, well, that's it. This is the end of the line. Here I raise my Ebeneezer. Hither by Thy help I've come.

May Heavenly Father bless you always, and may you always be close to Him, whoever you are, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstances you may be in.

Love you all dearly. See you next week. Literally.

Elder Carter





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