December 8, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #70

To all those I dearly love and cherish,

As far as I know, this is the last email for me as a missionary. I have this last week of work, then on Sunday I will report to the mission office. Monday we have interviews and departure workshops, Tuesday we have a temple session in Manila, and then on Wednesday my flight should take off. (granted the typhoon doesn't wipe the airport out.) HA!

I just wanted to write all of you and let you know, that I am okay. It almost doesn't feel real that this day has come. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was saying goodbye and feeling like it would be an eternity before I would see anyone again. And now, here we are.

I just want to testify to all of you how great God and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ are. I want to testify that I know they live. There is no doubt in my mind of this. As a missionary, I have experienced trial, heartache, pain, tears, and anguish at times. But, they were always there. As a missionary, I have experienced happiness, laughter, hardwork, intense joy, feelings beyond comprehension or description and still, they were always there.

There is nothing we can do that can seperate us from our Divine lineage.

I know that I have been gone a while, and quite a bit has changed since then. But, I do not regret my decision to serve, not even a little bit. I feel honored and blessed to have had this amazing experience. It has shaped me, molded me, taught me, and prepared me. It has helped me to see who I am. It has helped me to see who we ALL are. There is so much more to all of us than this rusty skin and bones. things I never understood are now seen plainly in my sight. The Lord, in his infinite mercy has helped me to experience real growth in a way that I will forever be grateful.

Growth though does not come without a few growing pains. There were moments out here where I thought I wouldn't make it. Moments I viewed myself in "my fallen and carnal state" and just felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. But it was in those moments that I feel I grew the most. It is when we are carrying our own crosses that we truly feel the mercy and power of the Atonement. I have learned friends and family that sometimes we have to hurt a little bit. Sometimes we have to hurt for the growth to come. Even Jesus Christ, our ultimate and all powerful Savior, suffered lower than all the earth. He was completely abandoned in his suffering. Yet, He prevailed and He rose again and now, because of Him and his selfless love for each of us, we will also rise again. Not just from physical death, but from trial, suffering, and anguish. The Atonement is and always will be victorious.

I have never loved the way I have loved here. I feel like I have felt just a smidgen of the love our Father has for each of us. I love the people of this country. I love their quirks, their imperfections, their crazy language, and there beautiful smiles. They have changed me and taught me so much. I have never seen so many happy people in one place in my life. This country is living evidence that worldly things don't bring happiness. All we need is each other and here in the Philippines, we have each other. I am forever grateful to every single individual I have met here and I will never forget them. I will never stop praying for them. I love them as my own. I hope they all know that.

I guess that is all. But, I hope you know how grateful I am for the love and support I have received as I have tried to serve the Lord diligently. All the prayers, love, cards and boxes were more than appreciated. I am the luckiest and most spoiled missionary. I was getting boxes down until the very last week of my mission! (props to Aunt Rachel!!!!) I can't quite explain what I feel, but I will say, thank you. Thank you so much.

I love you all so much. There is nothing more to it than that.

I will be seeing some of you soon. For those I am leaving, this is not goodbye, we will be together again!

The end.

Sincerely and lovingly,
Sister Thomas

Can it really be the end?!

I am truly with my "beautiful brown people!"

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