Well here it is everyone, the last letter to come from Elder Ollis... wow. Two years has changed a few things and I honestly have no idea what to say in this letter to really express what I feel. The mission has been a very special experience for me. I went into the mission very ignorant, not knowing much, and I feel like I have definitely come to have a testimony of this gospel and everything included with it.
My scripture before the mission was in Ether 12, about how the Lord makes weak things become strong. In some aspects, I feel like that has been fulfilled in my mission. I have become more patient, I have come to love the scriptures, I have come to know a lot more about how the Holy Spirit works, and I have come to learn another language. Those are a few things that I have really been able to improve.
I know that this is the Lord’s work. I have seen it. I saw Him prepare people to receive His messages, even while he had a very incompetent instrument in His hands…me. I have seen people change many parts of their lives to follow the will of the Lord. I have experienced more than a few health problems, some of them I will be bringing home with me (ha ha). But all of this has been an experience that I would never trade. I have had some of the most frustrating moments of my life in these past two years, in some of the most difficult circumstances. Honduras is not an easy country in which to live. But I have been happier in these two years than in any other time in my life. I’m so grateful to have been able to help people accept the gospel. I get so happy to hear that many of them are still following faithfully.
I know this gospel is true. I know that the scriptures are the word of God. I have enjoyed the opportunity to study them. I know that as we strive to be obedient, we will be happier, even though it’s often the harder path. I know that God loves us. He has given us so many things to help us come back to His presence: prophets, the scriptures, prayer, revelation, inspired local leaders, and patriarchal blessings…all of this because His purpose is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. He gave us the gift greater than all... that of his son, Jesus Christ. He gives us the opportunity to be forgiven and cleansed from our sins, which impede us from coming into the presence of God. But our salvation and redemption from sin is conditional, and is based upon our obedience to the perfect plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only thing that we can do for ourselves. There is no other way. We must live the gospel. If not, we will be subject to the demands of justice.
I know, and many of you know, that I’m a perfectionist. And I’m not perfect, so I’m really hard on myself generally. My mission President told me in my last interview that the Lord is saddened that I’m so hard on myself because He doesn’t see me that way. He doesn’t see any of us that way. I’m still developing and learning the concept of the love of God. He loves us in a way that I don’t understand fully yet. He only wants us to try our best and He is willing to take that little effort and give us His divine help, His grace, so that we can come back to him. Truly the Lord loves us.
I’m so glad I have been able to serve Him as a small show of my gratitude. I know I haven’t been perfect. I’ve tried to work hard, and when I faltered, I tried to repent and be better. I hope the Lord accepts my efforts. I know that the gospel is something I will keep living. It is the way to real happiness. I know there’s a lot more after the mission. But for right now all I need to do, and all we need to do, is to keep living the gospel the best we can, because in the end, nothing else makes a difference. Through faith in the atonement of Christ we can have hope to be able to come into the presence of God.
Well, that turned out to be really long. I love you all, and I will see you all on Thursday hopefully!