|Elder Sahue and I|
Well, my family, friends, and whoever else might be reading this, today marks one year for me in my full-time service to my Lord and my God. One year full of growth, hardship, triumph, humility, experience, trust, trials, commitment, disappointment, forgiveness, and understanding. To put this past year in words is beyond my significantly insufficient human capacity, so I pray that Heavenly Father strengthens me in my writing so that I might share a word of two of wisdom with you.
I began one year ago as a naïve, spunky, willing 19-year-old boy as I hugged and kissed my parents good-bye in the Jacksonville Airport. I flew to Utah to enter in the Provo Missionary Training Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After two weeks, I flew to a very special place that will always be held dear in my heart: West Africa.
I spent five-and-a-half months in my first area—the Nukafu-Wuiti area in Lomé, Togo. In November, I was transferred to Baguida, Togo. I now write from Fidjrossé, Cotonou, Bénin. In each of these places, I have met, worked with, learned from, and taught many outstanding children of God, many of whom I will always remember.
I have worked with six companions here in Africa: four from Ivory Coast, one from Congo (DR), and one from Madagascar. Each has been very, very unique. It certainly has not been easy. At times, things run perfectly smooth. At other times, it has seemed that everything runs backwards, being tossed in a stormy sea. Yet again, at other times, everything seems to stop. From each of my companions to this point, I have tried to find one or two characteristics in them. More specifically, one that I would like to acquire and one that I would like to learn to deal with that might very easily come up again in my life.
This past year has been incomparable. It has been the hardest and most challenging year of my life, but it has been the most rewarding with the most growth of my whole life. I would not have traded it for anything. There have been many times where it would be so much easier to just give up and go home, but one vital lesson that I have learned on the mission is patience and trust in the Lord’s will. I still have so much to learn, but I am so grateful to see the growth in myself.
I know that the work in which I am engaged is very real. The authority that I have received to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ comes directly to God, extended to me through His living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the one, true and living Church organized by God Himself that is on this earth today. Joseph Smith really did restore the Church that Jesus Christ organized during His mortal ministry. The Priesthood, or authority and power to act in God's name, has been restored on the earth. This message is unique, and it is amazing. While it is carried out by imperfect messengers to the whole world, it was written and is continually guided by our perfect Father in Heaven. I am one of those imperfect messengers. If you are reading this now, I pray that you see and feel of the truthfulness that is contained in this Church and its doctrine. I pray that each of you who read this pray to God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to know if these things are true. I promise you that God will unfold to you many mysteries through the power of the Holy Ghost that are not understood by the world this day. I promise each of you that God will answer your prayers. He loves each and everyone of you individually and perfectly.
I said that this whole experience started a year ago as a 19-year-old boy. I write this now as a 20-year-old young man, with hopes that in one year’s time I may write its sequel as a 21-year-old man.
|Pillowcase Mom made|
|The beach today! Perfect beach day today in my opinion! Cloudy|
with a slight drizzle as we played some baseball, volleyball, and
ultimate! There were some prime 6-7 foot waves out. Just can't go in
at this moment.
A little shout out to my home town this week!
|This kid is terrified of me.|
|BUT I FREAKING LOVE HIS SHIRT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
mission. I've seen like every other big US city.