Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15th, 2014 - LAST email from the mission field!

I really have no idea how to put into words the emotions I have felt in the last few days! I truly feel so blessed to have spent the last 18 months of my life serving the Lord here among the people of Pennsylvania. There are so many things I wouldn't have been able to dream up that I have experienced, and both the good and the bad are things I wouldn't trade for the world because EVERY experience has provided an opportunity to grow closer to my Savior. Yesterday in the 3rd hour of church, Sister Pugmire and I were invited to join a small panel of returned missionaries for the Young Women to ask questions to about sharing the gospel. It was a sacred experience for me because I was able to pause for a moment and really reflect on my mission. A flood of memories of the AMAZING people I have met, loved, taught, and been blessed so greatly by just completely overtook me and I couldn't help but sit there in awe. I felt such an overwhelming sense of gratitude to my Father in heaven for the love He has for me, in allowing me this opportunity. I feel so blessed.

So many miracles happened this week for Sister Pugmire and I! We had two lessons with Sheila about the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity. Both of them were incredible experiences because Sheila is sincerely preparing herself for the day she will be baptized, and I have never seen anyone so genuinely desire to please the Lord. In explaining the importance of our bodies as special gifts, sacred temples, from our Father in heaven she instantly grasped onto the seriousness of keeping them holy! In the word of wisdom lesson, she started pondering if she should give up sweets as well because she didn't think they do good things for her body! We thought it was amazing how she was so readily applying the teaching in her life, but did explain that moderation in all things is a key part of the word of wisdom. :) She is such a neat lady!! She has grown at such an amazing rate in the last few months, it is such a testimony to the power of the gospel! IT HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE LIVES!! I know that with all my heart.

I was asked to teach our district meeting this week, which was neat. I chose to focus on a phrase that has been a major blessing to my whole mission, told to me by my Daddy at the end of every letter - "Remember Joy!" During my time in State College, I read the Book of Mormon focusing on the word "remember" and it was such a powerful experience, realizing that one of Satan's greatest tools is trying to make us forget the spiritual promptings, revelations, and aspects of our testimony we have worked so diligently to gain! The Lord promises that if we retain in our remembrance the tender mercies He has poured out upon us, that we will not fall into temptation! The greatest tender mercy, or gift, we have been given is our Savior Jesus Christ. If we remember Him then we will have motivation to keep all our covenants and our Father in heaven will rejoice that we are choosing to acknowledge what He has done for us. The gospel is what has brought the greatest joy in my life and the time I have spent here in PA as a full-time missionary has helped that become so very clear! I know that part of my next task will be to remember the lessons I have learned, the experiences I have had, the people who have touched my life, and the relationship I have gained with both my Heavenly Father and my Savior. If I allow those things to propel me into whatever comes next, and to help me continue deepening my love for the gospel and my resolve to become more like Jesus Christ, then I will have nothing to fear. 

I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know that God provided a way for us to receive all the blessings He has by restoring the fullness of the gospel to the earth! I know that the Plan of Salvation give us greater understanding, and by studying it we can gain an eternal perspective that can change the way we see our everyday lives. How amazing is it that we can KNOW that we are loved by a perfect God?! I have come to know so deeply through the power of the Holy Ghost, that each of us are beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. I know that He desperately wants us to return to Him and that we can!! He has provided a way, and only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can we achieve our divine potential.

I love you all and I cannot thank you enough for the support you have given me!!
Hurrah for Israel!

Sister Walborn


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