Monday, August 21, 2017

Goodbye Philadelphia

I've starting writing this first like like a billion times because I hardly know what to say. Halfway through Saturday I looked at the date and realized it had been a whole 24 months since I left home. I can't explain how fast those months went, especially the past 6, but it looks like my days are few so hopefully you enjoy this last email as much as I'll enjoy never having to write one again!

This week was just as full as I thought it would be. A packed pday full of soccer and rugby, plus dinner with one of our favorite families in the ward.
Tuesday I led our Book of Mormon study in District Meeting. For the past transfer we've made the studies extra fun by turning them into games. This week we played trashketball which definitely was a blast AND the spirit was felt. Something I've loved about the mission is that you can enjoy it, have fun and still accomplish your purpose with the spirit guiding you. Afterwards the District had a funeral for me. We laughed as they read a eulogy a sister wrote for me and talks from the elders, followed by a roast session. We helped out at the Ronald McDonald house afterwards. I love walking into the building and seeing "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" on their sponsor wall. How amazing is the humanitarian work our church does?
I had my departure interview with President Randall, such a bittersweet thing. We talked about the past, things like "what companion would you want to proselyte with for just one more day?" "who is someone you would love to teach one more time" then we talked about the future and I'm reassured that as long as I have the gospel in my life everything will work out according to God's plan.
We had our last lesson with Allen, Quince and Vennesa. Allen asked what advice I could give to someone who wants to serve a mission. I'm so proud of him for thinking about a mission at 14 and I rattled off a few things, but I ended up just telling him that it was the best thing I ever did for my life and it would be the best thing he'd ever do for his life too. They took us out to Chinese buffet where we pounded a ton of food before heading over to help a member move a piano into their new house.
On Friday I went to the temple with all the departing missionaries. As we all drove together we laughed about all of the crazy things that have happened in two years. The temple was great, it's been a focal point of my mission and it was amazing to be there once again. I just noticed a huge peace come over me. On the way home we stopped to get some water ice, something I'll miss way too much. The rest of the day was teaching and dinner at Antoinette's. Since her baptism she was called to work with the young women and went to camp with them. She had 3 less active girls in the church over for dinner with us and I was so impressed how well she's magnifying her calling, probably without even knowing it!
Sunday was too good. After working with Quince and Vennesa for 6 months I was able to confer upon them the Aaronic Priesthood! It was such a powerful experience and a reminder that missionaries don't have to baptize people to have an impact in their lives. After church a family that I've come close with had the baptism of their 8 year old daughter Alisha. Her dad Emmanuel asked if I could confirm her. Such a great last Sunday in P1!

The next few days are going to be awesome! We are going all out playing at the field today. Tomorrow all of us going home get to go hangout in Philly for half the day, then we head back to the Randall's for our departure dinner. Wednesday we will take the other elders and sisters home and I'll get to stay with the Assistants to pick up the new missionaries. On Thursday will probably be their golden training, which I'm excited to be apart of again! On Friday I'll get picked up by some former missionaries, Devin and Dusty, who are going with me to Trey and Kyra's wedding at the temple! It's gonna be amazing, I can't imagine a better way to finish my mission than to be in the temple with some of my close friends as one of them gets sealed to his wife for all eternity. Afterwards I'll be getting on a plane and heading back home to Utah.

Thank you for all the support you have given me over the past two years. It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it. I've come to love this gospel so much and I'm thankful for our Savior who paid the ultimate price for us. I'm thankful for my family, my companions, and all of my friends whether here or at home. I'm thankful for an amazing Mission President and his wife who care so much for us. These two years have changed me so much and I can't imagine where I'd be without it. This truly is the best two years for my life! I know the Book of Mormon is true and that we have a living prophet on the earth today. I love Philadelphia and the people here so much that it's going to be tough to leave, but I know that it's my time to go and I'm excited to see you all soon!

1) water ice with the departing kids
2) 128 oz slurpees!!!
3) Allen, Quince, Vennesa and Solange
4) the Pour family! The two girls on the left got baptized
5) best District ever