As I post Elder Richard's last "Missionary Post" it is with mixed emotions. This has been a WONDERFUL experience not only for our son but for our family! I will miss our special 'letter' on Mondays; but I shouldn't complain...I've had "Christmas" once a week for 2 years! I hope that I can share his letter with you and hopefully you can somehow see inside his heart and understand his feelings at this time! Thanks to EVERYONE who has shared this journey with us....You have added so much to it! ENJOY!
As the last 2 years have gone by, I have often thought....What have I learned? Well, it's a hard question for me to ask...because I didn't want to come on a mission if I didn't know that God existed. I have learned that the mercies of the Lord are seen as the people I've taught DO what we invite them to do and the JOY that comes into their lives as a result of that has been amazing (for me to witness).
Another thing I've learned is that as people make big changes in their lives, they need support - and a LOT of it!
My mission has taught me how to really appreciate the gospel - as when a person calls late and asks you to run to the hospital and give them a blessing; or asks you to go to their home and bless their home for them. As I have served in these and other ways....seeing their faces light up or feel their sense of relief from the service you have given. Other times helping another missionary who struggles to serve a mission - and you've done all you can to keep them serving........and they keep serving!!! YEAH!
It's hard for me to look back and remember the times people really have looked me in the face, trusting in God, knowing that He will provide......and my prayers have been answered! As I have 'waxed bold' so to speak, that's when God heard my prayers. It's an awesome feeling when you know that He does hear you. When I've borne my whole soul to him I have felt his love wrap around me in my most lonesome and troubled times.
The gospel is some times hard to understand or explain; and best learned not by asking questions but by DOING; following one who believes and then watching the signs that follow after one is obedient. (Many times AFTER we 'live' the commandment) then we better understand why the Lord wanted us to obey. I've learned that LEARNING comes by DOING; not just by reading.
I hope to continue my mission and serve until the end and I hope to have the support I need to make these very difficult changes in my life. The gospel is REAL...not fake. Remember - it's something to be DONE not just heard.
Read Ether 12:6 "....ye receive no witness until AFTER the trial of your faith".
Jacob 4:6 ".....and having all these witnesses we obtain a HOPE, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea." (Added by Susan)
I LOVE you all; thanks for all your love. I'll see y'all tomorrow!!!!!!!
Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints