26 August 2013 One Year Out
Hello Family and Friends,
I thought I would use this e-mail to just express my feelings and gratitude for the past year of missionary service. So I arrived at the, "Mountain Top" the 1 year mark of my mission. Looking back it seems that it has all passed by so quickly and I wish I could go back and relive a few moments. When I look forward it seems like the journey has just started and the greater challenge lies ahead. I have mixed feelings about the next year because on one side I want to return home as quickly as possible so I can see my family and friends and just relax for a little while. On the other side I realize how great of an opportunity I have to learn, grow and help others and I don't want to waste a minute. Of course I will have to go with the latter option which is the better choice, but the thought of another year out on mission seems like an eternity. I know that in a few months I will be wishing that I could climb back up to the top rather than make the quick descent. All the missionaries that are leaving the mission say that they wish they could trade time cards with me. To me right now this seems ridiculous, but I know I will be saying the same thing.
You learn a lot while on the mission. This past year I learned more about God and Christ than I did my previous 19 years together. I learned that they are real. I know they are real, because I have felt their presence and I have seen my prayers answered many times. I have felt at times that his angels watching over me, keeping me safe, guiding me to the right people, putting words into my mouth that Ryan Miller is not capable of saying. I have felt his love not only for me but for others that I will never be able to deny.
I remember a year ago saying goodbye to my parents and it being the hardest moment of my life. I could not even look at them directly in eyes because for sure I would have lost all control. I remember taking my first step on to the plane and thinking how unqualified I was to carry the name Jesus Christ over my heart, but what I have learned is that no one is ready and that He qualifies us along the journey. I remember looking over Porto Alegre while in the air and thinking that somebody out there was waiting for me, waiting to hear the Spirit through my medium so that he/she could accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and enter into the fold. I can remember vividly those extremely hot and humid days in Glória, ascending hills, sweating immensely, trying to find and teach. I remember traveling the dirt roads of Butiá with a Book of Mormon in hand, and thick forest on either side of me. And now I am on the farm land of Rio Grande do Sul, Dom Pedrito, with Gaúchos on every corner.
I have grown a lot also this past year, mentally, spiritually, and even physically ha ha. I have grown to love the scriptures and the spiritual enlightenment and understanding that I gain by reading its many pages. I have had to grow mentally in order to take on many responsibilities and challenges. All in all I have had to overcome my weaknesses by striving to be better each and every day.
There are so many things that I am grateful for. I am grateful for more knowledge, faith, and charity. I am grateful for all the people I have met, especially our recent converts. I am grateful for the love and support that I receive from every one back home, also for the help I receive from the people I serve. I thank God for all the companions I have had, because they have all taught me life lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Ultimately, I am grateful for the church in my life and the blessings I receive by being a firm member.
I am anxious to start this next year of my mission. I am certain that it will be the best year of my life. There are so many more challenges and wonderful experiences that are knocking on the door and it is now time to answer the call. I wish the best to everyone.
Love you all,
P.S. Happy early B Day to Lucy, From your favorite cousin in the world