Elder Sanders

Elder Sanders

Monday, June 24, 2013

My last Mission letter and testimony - Week 98, 1 week left. 8 days I'll be home !


Well well,

Before I get into my final testimony and all, I`d like to re-pass the week`s news! So, it`s true, this is my last letter to you guys! Monday and Tuesday I should follow the flight plans as says in the ticket, but I`ll call you if I can.

I also attached photos of some last minute activities. Here is me at the ECUATOR, at last! The whole purpose of ECUADOR!!! And other fun activities there, such as balancing an egg on a nail between the two poles of the earth. Good fun.

This honestly feels just like I`m having another change, and not finishing the mission. I`m content, happy, and most important, working. I`m really just trying to do as the scriptures say, `Perseverar hasta el fin.` or say, Endure to the End. And I will!

I was really moved by the mighty capitalization that we saw Sunday from the Prophet and first presidency of the church. I REALLY HOPE that EVERYONE at home saw it, because for me, it was wonderful! (For those that didn`t get the chance, 
It seems that there is a whole new world of missionary work to come forth, and the Lord truly is personally working with us to bring it forth. I did wonder why that one scripture from Daniel, the one about the stone cut from the mountain without hands, (which is a prophesy of the Lord`s church/work in the last days), was quoted about 6 times or so during general conference in May. Now I know why. With over 70,000 full time missionaries in the field, (and soon to by 70,001 with Chantel!!!!) the Restored Gospel of the Lord is bounding the land!

I cannot describe all the ways that the mission has blest me... I actually tried to make a list the other day, which consisted of 15 or so items. But it seems that the in the start of the mission, I began to gain a testimony. Before I left, I did believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the only true church on the Earth, or at least, just enough to go on a mission! But within months, as I TRULY felt the spirit, and TRULY learned and lived the doctrine, I actually gained a FIRM CONVICTION of the truthfulness of the restored gospel.

And that was only the beginning! By the spirit, and the spirit alone, did I learn that The Book of Mormon was a book from God, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that the Atonement of Jesus Christ truly heals sins and changes people. Before my mission, I feel my testimony was based on human knowledge. Like Logic. It`s was logical the church was true. I thought that was enough, but as soon as you get a taste of the REAL power of God, you really know that just learning about something isn`t enough.  For me, it was a start, but a true testimony comes only by the spirit, and we must Seek the Spirit. Honest prayer, peaceful environment, and a true desire to know. that`s the formula! 
James 1:5, aIf any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that cgiveth to all men  liberally, and dupbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Step two of mission magic comes by means of Conversion. It`s possible to have a testimony, but not conversion. but it`s impossible to have a conversion without a testimony. Conversion is being true to Christ and his Restored Gospel in every moment of our lives, whether someone is watching or not, with intentions to obey not out of obligation, but of love for God and others. When one begins to be obedient to commandments, or in my case, mission rules, it seems you first do it out of obligation or duty. Good right? It`s a start. I learned that you should obey Commandments and rules not out of routine, or because it`s easy or correct by view of others, but obey because you Know God lives, that he will bless you, and you need no other reason to obey than by what it says in 3 Nephi 27:13

Behold I have given unto you myagospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you葉hat I came into the world to do thebwill of my Father, because my Father sent me.

The main motivation Christ had to obey His Father was from one reason: because God commanded him to do so. We should follow that example, to do God`s will just because God asks us to. That`s True Faith, to trust that everything will go well if we make sacrifices to keep his commandments and standards.

 And then blessings follow.  And just like it was stated yesterday in the conference:
When we act in faith, the blessings we receive are not what we expect they will be.  

And lastly. A week ago, whenever I thought about finishing my mission, my initial emotion was sorrow. Interesting, right? Sorrow to leave here. Everyone says a mission in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the BEST TWO YEARS of their life. Why? All you do in those 2 years is forget yourself (EX: abandon your name and take upon yourself Elder or Sister. Try to be a representative of Christ and his church, not yourself), serve others, and do nothing but study the gospel and live it. And the result is blessings, and happiness. Thus, the best 2 years. `How sad that it has to stop!` , I always thought.   Then, in the conference, I watched how members of the Church did deeds to help others come to happiness and the church, by being an example of Christ in all times, and in all places, and in all things (Mosiah 18:9).  And then I thought, I`m not going to be missionary in a week, but a member. MEMBERS CAN DO MISSION WORK!  Those best two years don`t have to stop!!!! And again, when one leaves on a mission, he receives a blessing called being `Set Apart`, in which they are literally set apart from the world, from the carnal, from evil and worldly things.  But when you finish the mission, you never receive a blessing that ends that period of being Set-Apart... it actually keeps on going! You can STAY set apart from the world!   Just like Christ said to his disciples, `Be in the world, and not of the world.`!

And That is what I Intend to Do.

I love you all, those I do know personally and those I do not.  You are all important to me.  And I will do all I can to ensure that every single one of you has the chance to hear of the Restored Gospel and prepare to meet God during this life.  My wish is that all you make it to the Celestial Kingdom, and the only way that is possible, is by these conditions:
  19 And ano unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his brest save it be those who have cwashedtheir garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: aRepent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and bebbaptized in my name, that ye may be csanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may standdspotlessbefore me at the last day.
21Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is myagospel; and ye know the things that ye mustdoin my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;
22Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

This scripture came from the mouth of Jesus Christ, and was written by ancient prophets and is recorded in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I share it every week, because I know that only what it says is true, but that the Book itself is true.

Pray everyday to fortify your testimony of Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Church, and your faith.

These years have been wondrous! I`ve had both the best and worst experiences of my whole life here!  I cannot wait to share my testimony in person!

Good bye from Ecuador !
Until the airport,

Elder Sanders.