Monday, April 6, 2015

18 months to change a person...

I'm not really sure where to start, and I'm not really sure where these last 18 months have gone. All I know is that this mission has changed my life. Coming on my mission I was searching to find my Heavenly Father, to serve Him faithfully, and to feel His powerful and undying love for me. Ending my mission I can now testify that our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ live, for I have felt their guidance and Holy Spirit more closely than ever in my life. Serving our Heavenly Father faithfully turned out to be far more rewarding than I imagined it would be. To leave all personal and worldly cares behind, including family, studies, friends, music, naps:), and freetime of any kind turned out to be the greatest blessing. As my love for Him grew, the more I wanted to serve Him, and the more obedient I wanted to be. And I discovered the greatest gift of all, that my Heavenly Father loves me. I think it was something that I had heard since I was a little girl in Primary, but maybe it wasn't something I believed with all my heart. How could a perfect and all seeing Being love a selfish sinner like myself? I had never done anything worth "writing home to mom about." And I definitely had my share of faults and flaws. So why would He love someone like me? Well I was convinced that the only reason was because it says so in the scriptures. That out of obligation he loved little Julie Clark. So I came on my mission with that, and I hit the pavement and started running and found that the mission is really hard. Much harder than I had imagined, but then miracles started to happen, and it was still really hard but at the same time it was all so beautifully worth it. Giving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to share a message about a 14 year old boy who lived more than a hundred years ago and who had seen God the Father and Jesus Christ, and explaining to families why in the world that should matter to them and how it could help them eternally was at times physically and emotionally draining, but at the same time the most joy my spirit had ever felt. As I went along, I found my own testimony of this 14 year old boy, and the Book of Mormon, and the only true and living Church on the earth was growing. As I testified of the truth of this message to families in their one room homes, sitting on their beds because they don't even own a chair, and telling them that through obedience to this wonderful gospel they would have mansions in the Heavens with the Father my testimony grew. I now know without a doubt that Heavenly Father doesn't love me out of obligation. He loves me because I truly am His daughter. He loves all of His children, and I'm not sure how I didn't see it before, but by and through His Son Jesus Christ we know that He loves us. This past Thursday, more than a thousand years ago, Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for the sins, problems, trials, and pain of all human kind. Of every person who had ever lived, who lived, and who would live. And then the next day, on that Friday He chose to let the people torture, mock, spit and finally crucify the only perfect being who had ever lived. The beloved Friend, Master and Teacher was gone, and the next day on Saturday was preaching in the Spirit World. He hadn't even stopped working! And on that wonderful Easter Sabbath morning He was resurrected by and through His unworldly and Godly power. And then today, Monday, almost 200 years ago the Church of Jesus Christ was established on the earth once again restoring all powers and keys to seal families together forever. I know that my Savior lives, He loves me. These past 18 months have changed me because I gave all myself to Him. He changed me, and I will forever be grateful for His love for me. Always remember the miracles He gives us! I love you all!

Signing off for the last time from Bolivia,
Hermana Clark