There's one huge thing that happened this week that overshadowed all else:
I got my visa.
I'm going to Sao Paulo on Tuesday, November 11th. At 9:40 am, my plane leaves Salt Lake City for Atlanta, Georgia. I arrive there at 3:22 pm, and stay in the airport until 7:38 pm, when I board a plane to Sao Paulo, Brazil. I arrive in the city at 8:15 am the next day. For the flight from Georgia to Brazil, I know of at least one other Elder who I can fly with, so we'll work something out. I'm really excited! This time next week, I'll be in Brazil!
I've already started packing! And I'm getting ready to send home my winter clothes, since it's summer in Brazil. I feel like I just got them, too!
There's so much that's happened in the past week!
Our investigators are going really well!
I've almost finished "Jesus the Christ" by James E Talmage!
I found out I'm related to one of my companions through our great great great great grandfather, Daniel Tyler (give or take a "great").
I got to watch "Johnny Lingo" (now, I can say that I am truly a Mormon) and "The Testaments"!
It's snowing ALL THE TIME!
We ate breakfast in the Provo Temple cafeteria after my last (sad!) temple trip, and it was SO good! Best breakfast I can remember! (Sorry, Mom!)
The two new districts are awesome! They look up to us!
I'm not the youngest in my district!
Elder Brewerton's surgery is today! (They postponed it a week because the doctor went on vacation, and Elder Brewerton's been really suffering.)
There's so much more I want to say, but I don't have much time.
Never in my life have I done anything like this. The past five weeks have been the most difficult weeks in my entire life. The spiritual hardships, the relentless attacks from the Adversary, the tests of faith and courage, all make for a very hard journey.
But the past five weeks have also been the greatest, most valuable weeks of my life. I would give up the last 18 years to keep these. If my mission were to end now, which would be heartbreaking, I can truly say that my life has forever been changed. My testimony is greater than I could have ever fathomed. I've met my Father in Heaven and have learned of Him as well as of His Son, Jesus Christ. Never has the Spirit been so strong. I never want these feelings to end. And they don't have to. I am excited for life! October 2nd, 2013 will always be the day that I was reborn as not just a Mormon or a spirit child of God, but as a servant of my Father in Heaven and as a proclaimer of truth to the world. I have began the life of discipleship to my Lord, my Christ. I want to give all of my life to Him, to bring my friends, family, posterity, and fellow children of God to Him to be perfected and saved.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the one and only way to receive salvation and eternal happiness. Through faith, repentance, baptism and keeping covenants, receiving and using the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we may reach the highest point of heaven and live with our Heavenly Family once more, who earnestly ache for us to return to Them.
I love my Father in Heaven. I love Jesus Christ. I love my mission. I know that God is preparing people in Brazil to be taught the Gospel, and that He will lead me to where He needs me. I know, with all of my being, that Jesus is the Christ, the Living Son of God, and that the Church He established has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith by the wisdom and power of God. Along with this, the priesthood and authority of God has also been restored, and the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ, has been revealed to the world.
What a glorious time in which we live! I feel sorry that I haven't thanked my Heavenly Father for the privilege it is to live in the Fullness of Times, the Last Dispensation before the Second Coming of the Savior. Never before have there been so many temples, so many missionaries, so many disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel is restored in its fullness, and will never again be taken from the Earth. This is a glorious time. Despite the wars, rumors of wars, disasters, tragedies, and sorrows, I know God loves His children and that Satan will ultimately fail. This is truth from God, that we will win the war which began in Heaven and will continue until Satan is thrust forever downward, never again able to afflict and tempt the children of God.
We are soldiers in the army of God, and He needs us to focus and continue doing good works. As we trust in the Lord and do His will, then everything else will fall into place.
God loves each and every one of you, and He has restored the truth for you, that you may partake of it and live with Him forever in happiness as eternal families. I testify of this, having seen the hand of God in my life daily, in the sacred name of our Older Brother, Teacher, Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.