This will be the last blog post of my mission. I suppose that leaves some temptation to be nostalgic and particularly reflective. There's not a great deal to report from this last week...we spent the majority of it chasing down contracts the mission needs urgently for the apartments of all missionaries.
Which, I suppose leaves some room to reflect on my mission. I ended up serving in seven different areas. Each one consisted of a life, a new community, different worries and hopes, and different lessons to be learned. I started in Huánuco, where I spent the majority learning the language and entering into the mission life.
My second area was in Huancayo, the biggest city in the mission, where I learned a good deal about the realities of the mission and how to adapt to different situatons.
My third area was in Junín, the smallest town in which I served. I learned perseverance and how to keep your head up in faith. My companion and I wasted and wore out our lives trying to get our pension's daughter baptized, who was our good friend. It mattered a lot to us, and we both left the area dejected that even though she had her testimony, and we felt we were the missionaries meant to help her convert, it didn't amount to anything. To complete the lesson of the area, though, I was able to return to their house for a small moment in my travels for a Leadership Conference this last week. She told us she was getting baptized on Saturday. So time doesn't really matter when it comes to what we do here.
In my fourth area, I got to serve in the jungle, in a city called San Ramón. There I learned how to work with the Young Men's program and animate youth to go forward in programs and refrain from inactivity. We helped out with a lot of personal problems there as well, and I learned how to be sensitive to the different situations people live in.
In my fifth area, I returned to Huánuco, to what I would deem to be my favorite area. I guess one of the lessons I learned there was charity, because the members, the investigators, the missionaries in the zone, and my companions mattered to me a lot there. I learned how to ride the high wave while it's up and enjoy it when hard work yields great results. It was my first area in a zone leader position, so I also got to practice leadership skills.
After that, I returned to Huancayo, where I learned to deal with feelings of inadequacy in the work, which inevitably come. I learned how to be patient with other people, and that I was not solely responsible for the salvation of those around me. I also learned how to amp up the work, which perhaps was not suitable for that time, but came in handy in my following area.
Which brings me to my last area...to Cerro de Pasco. I learned more about leadership here than anywhere else. I got to see missionaries change, and the dynamic of the zone become something wonderful to behold. I saw depressed missionaries get overjoyed with being bold in the work. I saw energy get renewed, and that did me a great deal of good. I also got great companions that brought out the best in me and made the work efficient in our own area.
I hope you enjoyed the blog in these last years. Perhaps the greatest change throughout the two years came from trying so hard to do exactly what God wanted day after day. I can say I gave it my all. The work means everything to me. The Church means everything to me...upon believing that this is the truth, it logically means that it's the center of everything. The center of the two years, and the center of our lives. It's the center of my life. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I want everyone to know that. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice fuel our lives. I know God is our Father. I know the Plan of Salvation is the path to life eternal. And that's all I want, for me, and for everyone that matters to me. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.