Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Last Mission Letter

     Good morning everyone!
     This is my last weekly letter for my mission. Next week I will send some pictures with captions if I get a chance to email but that is it. It's been a remarkable two years of service. I have loved it! I try to think of one word that I could use to describe my mission but I cannot think of one that accurately describes it. That's how amazing it has been for me. The closest word I can think of is "perfect", but that's not possible because I am not perfect. I suppose that a more accurate response would be "marvelous", or "outstanding". Somewhere between "marvelous or outstanding" and "perfect" could be an accurate measure, yeah we'll go with that!
     We had a very good week. We taught almost 40 lessons this week which is incredible! We have been very busy teaching a lot of people, but we have been struggling in terms of helping them accept a baptismal date or attend church. This week our focus will be more on how to keep the Sabbath day holy and the blessings we receive from our Sabbath day worship and by virtue of the sacrament. Hopefully it turns out well!
     This morning in my studies of the Book of Mormon I read the first ten chapters of 3 Nephi and tomorrow I will be starting the Savior's ministry among the Nephites in ancient America. I'm excited to learn more about the Savior's life and the way that he ministered to others. I think something that we as members of the church don't remember is the purpose of why we do missionary work, home teaching, temple work, etc. It's because there are lost souls or struggling children of the Lord that need to be ministered to and served. They literally need us and we can be an answer to someone's prayer everyday if we ask the Lord for that opportunity. That's why I do missionary work. That's why I walk around everyday in the blazing hot sun here in Utah looking for more people to serve, help, and love. If we did so with the same intent, I know that our desire or "fire" to spread the gospel would never cease. We would always be searching for missionary opportunities around us and never hesitate to share our testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ. 
     I know that charity -"suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh nother own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things,endureth all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Without charity, we are nothing as Paul writes (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). I know that the reason God gave us the plan of Salvation is because he loves us. The reason He restored His church through the prophet Joseph Smith is because he loves us. We have living prophets and apostles today that receive revelation for the world because he loves us.
     I know that God gave us His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, because He loves us more than we can comprehend. Christ did not give up during his earthly ministry because he knew that His gospel is the best path for us and because he loves us. Love, love, love, love, and more love!
     Christ was driven by love for His Father in Heaven and for us when he suffered His Atonement for us. His Atonement is the supreme act of goodness and grace that only a god could perform. Through it, all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation became operative. Through it are brought to pass the immortality and eternal life for us. Through it, we are saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment. And through it, all who believe and obey the glorious gospel of our Savior, all who are true and faithful and overcome the natural man, all who suffer for Christ and his word, all shall become as their Maker and sit with him on his throne and reign with him forever in everlasting Celestial glory. We may be saved my physical and spiritual death.
I know that Christ's resurrection is unconditional. All mankind, evil, good, or in-between, will be resurrected and saved from physical death. However, in order to conquer spiritual death, or sin, the affects of His Atonement are conditional on terms of repentance. Mercy cannot rob justice. We must repent, change, and try our best to become like our Father in Heaven to overcome spiritual death. That is why we needed a Restoration. We needed His gospel to be restored so we could access the process to overcome spiritual death and change. Through His restored gospel being; faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion, the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and enduring to the end, we truly can be saved and prepared to inherit the kingdoms of our God.
      We do not know, we cannot tell, no mortal mind can conceive the full import of what Christ did in Gethsemane.
We know he suffered, both body and spirit, more than it is possible for man to suffer, except it be unto death.
We know that in some way, incomprehensible to us, that his suffering satisfied the demands of justice. He ransomed our penitent souls from the pains and penalties of sin, and made mercy available to everyone that will believe in his holy name, even Christ the Lord.
     I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Not because I have seen or heard His presence, but because I have felt His love and everlasting grace through His restored gospel. Before my mission I believed that Christ was the son of God and I knew that this was His church. But, now I know because I have felt Him change me. Words cannot accurately describe how grateful I am to Him for the person that I have become. I know that this progression will not end when I finish my two years of full-time service in His work if I continue to apply His teachings into my life and the life of my future family.
      I know that Christ lives. I know that God gave us a perfect plan in the pre-mortal realm and we all accepted it. Everyone on this planet has already accepted His plan and His son Jesus Christ as their Savior once before, so why would they not do it again? I know that God's purpose truly is, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Jesus Christ brought immortality as a gift to us by virtue of His resurrection. However, eternal life, or living with our Father in Heaven again in His kingdom is dependent upon our obedience to His gospel and His commandments.
      My plea to all of you is to not allow our Redeemer's sufferings to be in vain. Please repent, change, and look for opportunities to improve. If we do not live His gospel then he virtually suffered for nothing! Please take advantage of this great gift and give the Lord a chance. Please, I'm begging you, don't forget who you are and who you can become. I testify that God is our Father, and we are His children. If we could comprehend and understand that simple statement then I believe that we would have no reason to do wrong or treat each other poorly. I know that our potential is limitless through Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, and most importantly, my friend.
I love you all so much. I am eternally grateful to everyone that has supported me through these two years specifically but also throughout my entire life. You have all played some kind of role in my life and I am certain that I have learned valuable, life long lessons from all of you.
      I titled this letter, "Thank You", because that is my simple message today. I am grateful for my family, friends, acquaintances, and God for demonstrating sincere love. Thank you so much.
     Have a great week! May the Lord bless you and comfort you in your times of need. I know that He will do so if you will simply reach out to Him.
     Saturday was Pioneer Day I was at Liberty park and I met Will Tukuafu! He is the starting fullback for the Seattle Seahawks. He was a way cool dude. We shot some hoops with him and the Tongan Elders for a bit and then took a picture.
      Sister Henrie! She is from Raymond and went to school with me in Magrath for a little while back in junior high! She is in my zone.
     The picture of me and Sister Henrie also has Sister Eisele, from Michigan. She is going home in one week too.

         See you Tuesday
                       Elder Strate 

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