I have been thinking recently of what to share in my last letter while still on my mission in California. I was thinking about what Paul said to his son Timothy before he departed from this life through beheading by the Romans due to unrighteous judgement by Nero and the Christian persecution. 2 Timothy 4:6-8 reads, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight , I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." I feel and also continue to pray in my heart that none of my work will go in vain that some of the people of whom I have changed their course in life for the better, will stay on the course that have been shown unto them.
I think often about Marcia Baker, Sally Molinari, Maria Cursay, Athena, Jasmine, Marcus, and his mom, Sister Rutherford. I worry for them if they have truly stuck to the path to make it back to our Father in Heaven's love and ultimately, exaltation. Not only will we be in His presence, but we will be like Him in every way. Some I heard have strayed and did not endure to the end. Others continue to strive for greater kindness, better help from others to be lifted up to a higher plane of action and thought. For those out there who struggle in their testimonies in Jesus Christ and the resurrection, I give this advice at this time. Doubt comes when we do not obey the simple commandments the Lord has given us. We also doubt because we are not strengthening our seed of faith, and it will shrivel and die. How we can nurture is by reading the scriptures, inquiring for personal revelation, and continuing to be strengthened by coming to church to take the sacrament, and renewing our friendships so we can uplift one another. Faith is also a substance of our action.
Hebrews 11 talks much on the events that faith has done through the prophets of ancient days. I felt only to quote verses 1-13 for this is most suiting for the situation. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham... sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:... Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. THESE ALL DIED IN FAITH, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
I think that is enough spiritual advice and strength I can leave for all forever on my mission blog. The last thing that may go up is my homecoming talk that I will be sharing this next Sunday. As for my week, last night we were able to hear about the transfer news. Elder Ashcraft will be training for the first time. I guess I was the final companion to help him be all prepared for such a task. I showed him how we should be organized in our area book and how we can consult together about what is the next best move. It will be an amazing experience for him. There is still so much to do in this area--finish the potential investigator sheets, visit the prospective elders and part-members. Finally when that's done, they can track new houses that probably haven't been tracked in years since that has not been the case. We have been trained by many to use the area book as much as we can. Trackting was usually the last resort, but lately I have been seeing much success in finding new people. I feel confident that Elder Ashcraft will do great as a new trainer starting tomorrow.
Last night, we were able to teach the Hernandez family one last time before I head to Modesto tomorrow and then fly home on Wednesday. So far, we have done lessons 1 through 4. We talked about temples, family history, and in depth-the priesthood, and promised them that they too will be able to receive the gift and power of God after they are baptized. It is sad that I won't be able to see them be baptized, but it's not about me, it's most of all about them--to be sure that they are spiritually converted first before they make that final step toward baptism, but they said that they will be baptized. They just want to be sure first.
Also last night, my last supper in this area was with the Van-Lehn's. I'm sorry, but I forgot my camera again that night, so I was not able to get a picture with them or the meal they prepared. It was a good continental breakfast for dinner though-- sausage patties, pancakes, eggs, and oranges. It was all really good. The real last supper will actually be with the Palmer's house in Ripon. I'm excited to know what it is. I got my bike all packed up by the way. I just need to order the price tag online on bikeflights which is the cheapest way to send it through FedEx. I just need to pack my trunks/bags today. Surprisingly, I haven't been too 'Trunky' as they say, where you are always thinking about home, but now I should be thinking about it. Utah here I come.
May the Lord sucker you in your afflictions
The greatly worn dictionary that Elder Boyes gave me.