Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Last email....

Dear family,
This was an incredible week! I won't go over everything that happened because I wish to try and verbalize some of my thoughts about a mission, but here are some highlights:
1. S's children moved in. We taught them and the F family the Restoration and it went super well. They all accepted everything and S really wants this for her kids. She seems to be doing really well. We stopped by later in the week and they had all read the first three chapters of the Book of Mormon. I cannot even describe how incredible it felt to teach a huge family of six like that who are so receptive. They weren't able to make it to church however, but it is a matter of time.
2. L had an incredible week and we taught him several times. He accepted a date to be baptized on August 1st and I think he will make it. We got several members involved and it was great.
3. Elder T came on exchanges Wednesday to help Elder C with Spanish and because we were both going down to San Antonio Thursday for MLC and dinner with the Slaughters. It was fun to be with him all day Wednesday,Thursday, and Friday morning. MLC was great. All departing missionaries give testimonies. Elder L, Elder S, and Elder T were all very powerful. President asked me to write mine down as well and give it to the historians. Me, Elder T, Elder H, Sister T, and Sister S (one of the current LSTLs) all had our exit interviews. Mine was fairly short. It was amazing and I can tell you about it more later. President was so kind and loving, but none of it really hit me because it still doesn't feel like I'm going home. We drove to the mission home and had dinner and asked him millions of questions. He is so incredible. I will miss hearing his incredible counsel. I have been so blessed to have such an incredible mission president. A mission president couple just got home to Brushy Creek and the former President bore his testimony and it was great. There is a special spirit with President Slaughter. It can't be explained well, but you can definitely experience it. One day more people will understand how faithful and Christ-like he is. He answered a lot of our questions.
4. Luckily not many people in the ward know I'm leaving, but the ones that do are freaking out and trying to make us come over, but tonight is the last night so there's no way I'm losing proselyting time. 
It was an incredible last week. I have felt the Lord's approval and I could never have imagined having such a life-changing experience. 
I want to briefly go through President Slaughter's seven hopes and expectations for us, because I think he encompassed just about everything I have learned, although as President says, "fallen language cannot properly describe a Heavenly experience."
1. Know who you are and act accordingly
We are children of God (Rom. 8:16-17) and have the potential to become more like God. "The restored gospel enables you to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ" (PMG p 115). We are also children of the fall. "We are made partakers of misery and woe" (Moses 6:48) without which we would never know "the joy of our redemption" (Moses 5:11). "All mankind were in a lost and fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer." (1 Ne. 10:6) Christ overcame the fall and we can too by relying on Christ. We are also the seed of Abraham and have the responsibility to take the blessings of the gospel to all the earth (Abraham 2:11). As Elder Bednar said "you and I, today and always, are to bless all people in all the nations of the earth...We were foreordained in the premortal existence and born into mortality to fulfill the covenant and promise made to Abraham." ("Becoming a Missionary")
2. Discern the Spirit and submit to its promptings 
I have learned that we must "walk in the light" (1 Jn 1:7) and that God has given us the power to choose for ourselves and we can do much good of our own free-will (D&C 58:26-28). He allows to do all things "according to judgment and the direction of the Spirit" (D&C 62:8). Powerful promptings are more rare, and commonly they come as simple thoughts or feelings. We must act on the promptings we receive because "unto him that receiveth I will give more" (2 Ne 28:30).
3. Unksaken and unwavering testimony of the restoration
I have no doubts that this is the true church. Joseph Smith was called by Christ to restore His church. We have the authority to act in His name. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool in conversion. I have often wondered how much stronger the church would be if every member simply read from its pages every day. Jesus Christ is our Savior and He lives today. I have experienced too much to go back on it all now.
4. Has a sound understanding and teaches with power and authority
I have paid the price to learn of Christ's doctrine and it fills me with joy to know the power of His gospel. I have "searched the scriptures diligently" to "know the word of God" and have given myself to "much prayer and fasting" (Alma 17:2-3) to teach with power and authority
5. Understands the doctrine of gathering and the principles of effective finding
I have learned the importance of restoring the House of Israel. The children of Israel are to be restored to their true identity (1 Ne 15:14, 2 Ne 30:3-5). They are to be restored to the "true knowledge of their Redeemer (2 Ne 10:2). They are to be restored "to the true church and fold of God" (2 Ne 9:2, D&C 84:2). They are to be restored to "the covenant" (3 Ne 5:25) made to their fathers. We are here to gather the elect. We recognize them because they 1) recognize us as servants of the Lord, and 2) are willing to act on our message. (PMG p 156)
6. Learn and apply the principles of leadership
I have learned to observe my leaders and the "unwritten order of things." I have learned that the Lord qualifies those he chooses. I've learned the best leaders "teach by example" (MH p 64) and there most important influence "comes through ministering to others in harmony with the Savior's example and teaching" (MH p 57). And "a leader helps other most when they feel the leader's love" (MH p 60). 
7. Unending desire to improve
I have learned that the gospel is all about progression. It's about becoming something more. Probably the biggest thing that has changed about me is that I no longer will settle for being average. I want to build the kingdom at all times. I will always seek improvement. 
I am so grateful for the blessings I have seen of serving a mission. Not only have I learned things intellectually, but I have felt it all in my heart. I love the Lord and I love this gospel. It is the way to salvation. It has changed me and those around me forever. May we all continue this great work!

Elder Pew

Elder Pew will be speaking in church August 16th at 1 PM.  You are welcome to join us after for visiting and some "grub".