8/20/2014 (this letter was dated 8/20/2014 and we received it 10/26/2014)
Dear Taylorsville 23rd Ward,
Well, today would mark the one-year mark of my mission and this would be the first time I ‘ve actually written a letter to you all. Sorry for slacking there. I’ll try to be more timely. So basically to sum up one year: I’m uglier, fatter, and I can speak a second language. And those aren’t bad things, they just happen when you have a year in the mission. But this has been one of the quickest (and easily the hardest) years of my 19 years on this earth. I have learned a ton and I would say I’ve changed a bit. I’m so very thankful for the experiences I’ve had, for the testimony I’ve grown, and for another year to keep going.
I just wanted to share a scripture that I really like in 2 Nefi 2:4 and 6-9. I love the last line of verse 4: “and the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.” The way was prepared for us and salvation truly is free, thanks to “the Holy Messiah for He is full of grace and truth” (vs 6). His sacrifice is “unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (vs 7). “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God save it be through the merits, mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah who layeth down His life….” (vs 8). “And they that believe in Him shall be saved” (vs 9). I truly am thankful to my Savior for His sacrifice. It is only through Christ that we can be clean from sin and have the chance to return with God. I know Christ lives and that He will come again. I know God loves us and that’s why He sent Christ here and through His sacrifice we can receive strength and comfort in all our difficulties. Salvation is free to all as we follow what Christ asks and keep His commandments, always giving our best effort. That’s all He asks us is that we give our all. We will never be perfect in this life, but as long as we are progressing each day we are doing ok. As we come unto Christ we “shall find rest unto our souls” Matthew 11:29). And “how great the importance to make these things known unto the habitants of the earth” (2 Nefi 2:8).
I’m so thankful I have the opportunity to help in this work, to invite people to come to Christ, and partake of all of the blessings of His restored gospel and partake of salvation that’s free to all. I hope you all can find ways and participate in this cause. Be an example. Serve others. Give references to the missionaries. Help people come to this knowledge that we have, that through Christ we all can find rest, be saved and live with God again. That’s my invitation and testimony to you all. I know Christ lives, this is His church, and Thomas S. Monson is the man called to guide us by revelation he receives from God.
In the name of Jesus Christ amen.
Love, Elder Ollis