Ahhhh! Well it's just about time already! My two years are up. Zip...see ya! Time to come home. But it's all a part of God's plan and design. I have done my part and I have accomplished the Lord's work here in His vineyard. It all started at the Provo MTC where I learned to rely on the Lord despite my many prevalent weaknesses. Then it was off to meet my trainer Elder Gomez who had the biggest beam on his face I've ever seen! He taught me the importance of optimism, which was shortly tested in my next area in Cedar City. My first several weeks with Elder Ramirez were tough, but we learned to push through and find common ground in the work of the Lord. From him I learn the importance of boldness and confidence. (Our visa waiter Elder Price also added a sigh of relief to the tension...I hope he's doing well down in Mexico!) Soon enough it was time for me to head back down to St. George in the Little Valley stake with Elder Betham. What a clown! Although his polynesian tendencies got the best of him sometimes, he really taught me the importance of building relationships with others.
All these attributes carried me over to my next assignment, which was to white wash into a brand new area, Buena Vista 2 in St. George, and train a new missionary Elder Bradford! Up to this point I had been junior companion for 8 months, so I was super excited and nervous and all of the above! Turns out BV2 would quickly become my favorite area of my mission. I put into practice everything I had learned up to that point on my mission. I faced the assignment with optimism, boldness, and confidence. I soon started building lasting friendships with the people, and eventually the assignment to be a District Leader fell into my lap. I finished training Elder Bradford and got Elder Linville,and ultimately in my 6 months in BV2 I learned the importance of leadership, joy, and charity to name a few.
Well before I could blink it was already time for a new area....Ephraim Bilingual! I showed up and thought I had been transferred to Pima. I relied on my companion Elder Stephens for his Spanish and he relied on me for what I could offer. Pretty soon an old friend came back to serve with me...again! Elder Ramirez and Payne back together! We put our experience together and in the process we started to fire up the members. The hastening of the work was beginning to take effect as I waved goodbye to Ephraim after 6 months of highs and lows. I can look back and say I left the area better than I found it.
The Lord requested that I finish my mission as a zone leader, and He put me in an unexpected area to do so! Back to Little Valley, this time with Elder Lewis. The area was just as dry and tough as the last time, but it was here that I really learned the importance of diligence and hard work. Then it was time for another unexpected transfer...this time to Red Cliffs stake on the other side of St. George. And here I've finished my last 6 weeks with Elder Richhart, with whom I have learned to lose myself in the work, talk with everyone, and contribute what I know for the benefit of others. I have learned to strengthen my companion while exercising everything else I have learned throughout my mission.
And the results have been priceless. I haven't become perfect. I haven't experienced a Saul to Paul conversion. But I have helped the Lord and His children by being and instrument in the right places and at the right times. That's all He has asked me to do. I thank Him dearly for this remarkable experience.
President mentioned in my exit interview on Sunday that the work you do on a mission, or in life in general, will create a big effect on those you have touched. Generations will be changed because of the work you have done. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" is a humbling thought. Thanks so much for YOUR support throughout my mission. The prayers have been answered. I have been led to the honest in heart. I couldn't have done it without a family who was so supportive of me. Thank you thank you thank you!
See you soon,