Friday, July 15, 2011

My Testimony

Today is a pretty big anniversary.  It was twenty-four months ago that I bid my family farewell and walked into the Missionary Training Center.  It does not feel like it, but dates do not lie.  As I look back, the time has flown and at the same time crawled.  I have never been happier; at the same time I have never been more depressed.  I have never felt so loved and surrounded by friends as well as so alone and forgotten.   

Me overlooking Billings my first day here
It is amazing to me how much I have grown in two short years.  I have had to step out of my comfort shell to talk to complete strangers, step up to fulfill different leadership roles, ask people to completely change their lives, learned how to apply the gospel and Atonement in my own life, and of course the dreaded missionary weight gain (I don't think 20-30 pounds is too bad for two years :). 

People always ask us where we have served, and most are shocked when I list all of my areas.  I apparently got a good little tour of the state.  From Worland, WY, to Missoula to Great Falls to Stevensville to Bigfork/Lakeside to Shepherd/Heights to Billings I had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the best of the best.  I also was blessed to be able to see many people make promises with our Father in Heaven through the ordinance of baptism and to find a new hope and a new light in their life.

When I came out, I committed that I would do everything I could to continually bear testimony of four principles.  They are: Jesus Christ, His love for mankind, His Atoning sacrifice, and His church here on the earth.  I cannot think of a more lasting place then here on the Internet to share my feelings and what I truly do know.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  I know that He lives and has a very active part of our lives.
I know that He has an unconditional love for each and every one of us.  No matter how far from the path we may stray, His arms are always outstretched, ready to receive us and welcome us home.
I know that in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ suffered not only the consequences and price for our sins, but also all of our heartaches, our pains, our sufferings, our concerns, our worries, our doubts, our horrible no-good rotten bad days multiplied by eternity!  He did this so that we do not have to go through those low moments alone; that He could give us strength to carry through.
I know on the cross that He willingly laid down his life, but was resurrected the third day so that we may all conquer death and return to live with Him after this life.
I know that He and our Father in Heaven appeared to a young boy in a grove of trees and that through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord restored his church and kingdom to the earth once again.
I know that Jesus Christ continues to lead His church and reveals his will to a living day prophet, Thomas S. Monson.
I have a testimony that the priesthood authority of God has been restored to the earth and that authority is what makes it possible for us to be united with our families forever.
I know that it is only through obedience to the will of God that we can have lasting happiness and peace in this life, as well as a fulness of joy in the life to come.

Two years may not seem like a long time, but how grateful I am for the chance I have had to serve a mission and for the chance I have to continue to serve our Savior for the rest of my life!

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