How do I even begin to start this one? This experience has been the best, most amazing, heart wrenching, uplifting experience I've ever had in my entire life. I have no idea how I did it, I really don't. I don't know how I made it, but here I am, at the end, writing my last email as a missionary. I can't believe it's almost over.
I haven't been a perfect missionary. No one is. I'm convinced the system is set up in a way so that you fail every single day. That way, you learn how to really and truly rely on Christ. You learn what it means to stand back up after you fall.
So, here are some numbers and stats about my mission. I've had a whopping 18 companions, including those in the MTC - Sisters Hatch, Sondrup, Jones, Warren, Kolo, Fa'oa, Boyd, Samanez, Wooten, Bell, Hansen, Dominguez, Hunkin, Stephens, Leon, Brewer, Hoffman, and Bueno. I've been in five trios. I've served in seven areas - Ucon, Pocatello West I, Tyhee II, McCammon, Grace, Inkom, and Eagle Rock. I've eaten 516 bananas on my mission. I've been a missionary for 558 days. My longest area was Ucon (six months), my shortest was Grace (two weeks), and my favorite area was Tyhee.
The summer I spent in Pocatello was probably my favorite part of my mission. I learned how to be truly happy. I found what happiness is. I found it. No one can ever take that away from me. I love Pocatello and everyone I've met there more than anything. It's literally my favorite place on planet earth. I was sent exactly where I needed to go. I didn't need to serve my mission in some remote, exotic, far away place. Idaho was perfect for me, and will always be special to me. Idaho is my home.
To everyone who has written me, thought about me, prayed, followed my mission blog, etc for the past 18 months, thank you. Thank you for your support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It's meant a lot.
To everyone I've met on my mission, thank you for changing my life. Thank you for helping me find real happiness. Thank you for being some of the best people I've ever met before. I've met my best friends out here, and leaving is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
To the missionaries I'm leaving behind in the field, make the most of it. It goes by fast. My mission has been the best experience of my life. I love you all so much, I'll miss you a lot. God speed. Don't get too trunky :)
I'll end this one with my testimony of the gospel. I've spent the last 18 months teaching, testifying, and growing. I know that the gospel is true. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's church, established again on the earth. I know it is. I couldn't say that before my mission. I thought it was a good idea, and I thought it could be true, but I can honestly say with all sincerity of my heart that I know it's true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and helped establish God's church again on the earth. He saw God and Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ. It's given me more power, more light, more knowledge than any other book has. It's changed me, and I know it can change anyone's life. I know God is real, and I know He loves us. He loves us more than any words can describe. His whole life, His existence, is dedicated to us. I know Christ lives. He lived for us, died for us, and lives again. Christ alone knows exactly what we're going through and exactly how to help us. He doesn't make everything perfect. But He does perfect us and builds us into the kind of people that can overcome anything. I know the Atonement, His sacrifice for us, works. I don't know how, and I don't think I ever will. But it works. This life is not easy. At all. But with Christ, it's possible. We can do everything with Him. I know He lives and I can't ever deny that. This gospel is the most important thing in my life, and I know I don't act like it all the time, but it is. I love it so much. It's changed my life and given me hope in a better world, one free of chaos, one free of everything bad. I know if I live my life in line with the gospel, I'll be ok.
I have absolutely loved my mission. More than anything. But, I'm ready to go home. I'm ready to move on. I'm ready to start the next part of my life. I have given everything I have for the past 18 months, and now I'm ready to move on. I'm ready to serve in a greater capacity. I'm ready to try and change the world outside of Idaho. I'm ending happy.
To quote Paul the apostle, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
I'll see you on the flip side.
Sister Morgan Ruth Smith, Idaho Pocatello Mission
August 27, 2014-
P.S. to all my friends still on missions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! LOVE YOU GUYS!