My dear loves,
I stumbled across an article in the New Era a few days ago that was written by President Gordon B. Hinckley. It was called: Gifts to Bring Home from the Mission Field. He said:
Quite a few years ago I was in an airport and happened to meet some returning missionaries. Their families were there. They were picking up their baggage, and I said to one of them, “What’s all this you have?” He said, “These are gifts I am bringing home.” And that has given me the title of what I would like to share. . . These are 10 gifts that I would hope every missionary would bring home with him or her—not a lot of tinsel, not a lot of dolls, not a lot of rugs or furs or dresses or plates, but these great, enduring, wonderful things."
I decided to make my own list of ten gifts I am bringing home from the mission. I was made aware in my interview with President Salisbury this past week that I have ten weeks left in the mission field. That being the case, I decided to share one gift from my list here each week. =)
Gift 1: An open line of communication with Heaven
I know that God hears and answers prayers. I have seen it and felt it so clearly. I have experienced it in the quiet moments between the hustle and bustle of mission activities, when I turn my mind to be grateful for a soft wind or a beautiful sky or a spiritual witness that came to an investigator. I have felt it when I grit my teeth as I walk away from a group of negative people, and then turn my thoughts to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. I have felt it in the night hours after the lights are out and I can pray without interruption. I heard it on my knees on a few mornings when I sought for guidance and got far more than I was expecting, and in one case, more than I wanted. But I could not deny it. I know that God lives, and I know that He communicates with his children as frequently as we have need or desire.
When I was in the MTC, we were taught that we as missionaries would meet people who had little to no connection to their Father in Heaven. A triangle diagram was drawn with Heavenly Father at the top, 2 missionaries on the left, and an investigator on the right. A large conduit was drawn connecting the missionaries to Heavenly Father, and then a large conduit connecting the missionaries to the investigators. Between the investigators and Heaven there was only a small conduit, and sometimes it was drawn as only a one-way connection. Our mission is to teach them how to open that connection, to learn how to communicate with Heaven. If they are reliant on us for their answers, or their testimony, and their conduit with heaven remains small, what happens to them when the missionaries leave?
I love this area, this companion, this branch, these people. I will never regret or forget these two years, and I will hold this time and this experience sacred throughout my life. Ten short weeks remaining.
I will give my all.