August 20, 2012--Last Mission Letter

So you asked about the Chinese Activity? Overall the Chinese activity was a great success, we are not sure of the total count but the number of Chinese members and investigators there was between 30-35. We had about 8 from Manchester, 2 from Preston and the rest from Liverpool. Although the total number was not what we were expecting, we were still happy to see so many show up, like was said, they could have been doing any number of other things on a Friday afternoon and evening and we are grateful that they were willing to come to support us and each other. We learned a few important lessons that we can use for the next activity coming up in January sometime. We want to make sure that the next activity is more suitable for both the male and female gender. I think we did too many tough activities that the girls did not want to participate in all the time, so next time we will accommodate for that.

Mt. Snowdon? To be honest it was physically the second most miserable experience of my mission. Haha. The mission went in two groups on two separate days. On Tuesday the weather was perfect, Sunny but not too hot. Lucky half of the mission. The next day, Wednesday, it poured rain for the whole three hours we were walking up the mountain. When I say pour I mean pour. Buckets and buckets of water cascading all around us, forming into natural waterfalls all around us on the trail. 40 mph winds buffeting us from all directions thrashing the water into our bodies and stinging quite a bit. My supposed water-proof jacket was no match for the torrent of rain and I became completely soaked along with all of the belongings in my backpack including my mini Chinese Dictionary. (I am not sure what i was thinking about when I put that into my bag, who studies Chinese on a mountain?) I had to throw it away. :) On the way down came the chaffed legs and feet from wet jeans and shirt. We were cold and miserable, but we loved it.

That was the Physical side, but the mental, emotion and even spiritual side was fantastic. As it was the worst day it could have been weather wise, our spirits were high and we enjoyed every minute of it, kind of... Honestly though, it was a great opportunity to test our attitudes and character. In a way it made me really thing about Hel. 5:12. We will be buffeted in this world from all sides by the adversary, it may not be physical attacks but the will be moral and spiritual attacks trying to push us back and keep us from our goal on high. We will be tested and tried over and over again, just to see if we will keep trudging and pushing through and with what kind of attitude we will do it in. It was a great day for insights into what will be the rest of our lives. Once again, we loved it, I loved it.
Yesterday in Church Bishop Murphy told the ward that after serving for so long in Liverpool I would be leaving, after which he then invited me to share my testimony. The Bishopric and the ward for the past two months have been joking that they need to request my records to the ward because I was now a permanent member. Honestly that is exactly how I feel, Liverpool is my home ward in my heart. I just realized that in the past 3 1/2 years my longest time in any ward has been the Liverpool ward, even when I lived at BYU I was not there as long. Liverpool will always have a special place in my heart and will be the center of the memories of my mission because of the members, and because of the Chinese work that has gone on here. I will miss Liverpool, I will miss the Chinese people, I will miss my mission, but I know there are greater things in store for me to build and grow upon in the future. Yes I am sad to go, but also am excited for the new adventure ahead.

As my mission comes to a close I continue to ponder on how insignificant we are in comparison to God and eternity, but at the same time I joy in that fact. I know that we are nothing, but at the same time we are everything to someone, either ourselves or or family or our friends. You are everything to me as my family. After all the things I have been able to learn on my mission I want to with all my heart keep moving and progressing in every aspect of life, whether it be learning Chinese, gaining a greater spiritual knowledge and testimony, or even being successful in my future education and career. I know that these past two years have been a refining and building two years for the rest of my rest, a springboard to fulfilling the potential I have. I will love and cherish these two years for how hard it has been and how amazing it has been. My biggest goal I have right now is to stay in contact with those I have grown close to on my mission so that I can continue to develop my relationship with them and support them in the faith they have. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

In closing to this epic novel of my mission life I want to share with you my appreciation for the support and encouragement you as my family have been to me on my mission. There are missionaries who do this work without that support and I admire and respect them deeply for it, but I am forever grateful for the coaching and advice you have given me to help me keep going. Once again, I look forward to this continued service from you and the service I will be able to give to you, just now it will be more personal and face to face. :) I know that this work is true, the work of God and his Son. I am honoured to be able to wear his name on my chest and to follow in his footsteps. May we all continue to do so whether or not we are full time missionaries. I plan to. Know that I love you, I am sad to leave this great land with great people, especially the Chinese, but I will be happy to see you.

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