So...............this is my last update from the mission. I am going home this coming week.
Just about 2 weeks after I got to my area in Reu, I found out that my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was a huge shock and it was really hard to handle - I was just getting used to the mission and adjusting, and then dealing with that news at the same time! It was pretty rough and pretty overwhelming at times. I was seriously thinking about going home after I got that news, but decided that I would stay, at least for another change, and keep moving forward on my mission. It was great after that! I felt like I could really focus and dive into missionary work, and we saw some pretty amazing miracles there in July.
Then, just a few weeks ago, I got another update that my Dad's condition was much more serious than previously thought and, long story short - I'm coming home this week.
This decision did not come easily and without many desperate, tear-filled prayers and a very inspired trip to the temple in the middle of it. I had the feeling that I needed to be home with my family, but that conflicted with the calling I had as a missionary, to put aside all personal affairs and lose oneself in the service of the Lord. But after lots and lots of tears and prayer, I made the decision to come home, and I feel at peace with it.
I am beyond words with how grateful I am for this experience I have had as a missionary. It's only been 3 months, but I have learned and grown so much. Most of all - I gained my testimony here on the mission.
My testimony was decent before I came on the mission - I knew I loved the Lord and I loved the church, but there were parts where I wanted it to be strengthened and solidified, and my prayers were definitely answered. I have a testimony that Joseph Smith really was a true prophet. That he was chosen to bring forth the restored gospel to the Earth again - the same that was on the Earth when Christ was here. That the blessings available for the people who come to a knowledge of this truth are amazing and because of this truth, we have the guidance of a living prophet to help us on this journey back to our loving Heavenly Father.
I know that He lives, I know that He loves us and I know that His love extends to every single one of his children, no matter where they are. I am so incredibly grateful for the people I have met and the miracles I witnessed here in Retalhuleu. I just hope I was able to make some sort of difference in the lives of the people we taught. I certainly tried and testified with my whole heart.
I am very anxious to be home to go through this challenge together as family and I know that our loving Heavenly Father is watching over us.
Sorry that this mission blog was pretty short! But I am very grateful for my mission - and I will never forget it.
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
p.s. no pictures this week. But I had one of the Elders recover almost all of my photos!! But at the risk of them being erased again...I'm just going to wait until I get home to post them haha.