Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 102 - Thank You All and Thanks to God for the BEST Two Years!

As the remaining couple of days of my mission are running out of time at an almost frightening pace, I want to thank the many people behind my efforts. I have felt the strength, comfort and inspiration of your prayers and read your words of encouragement. It has lifted me and held me up when I have felt discouraged and it has left me stronger to know that you, your thoughts and prayers all were here with me through the tougher bits. Thank you!

My mission has been a wonderful two years, where I have been privileged to see the gospel in action. I would do it all over again if I was moved back in time and had to choose again. But, contrary to popular opinion, a mission is not two years of feasts, sunshine and non-stop success. I am not a highly skilled teacher, presenter or diplomat and many times my efforts have seemed feeble and insufficient if not for God, my Heavenly Father continually teaching, embracing and comforting me with His Holy Spirit. He was there for me and the people we were attempting to teach and once He taught them they knew in their hearts that His Spirit was there for them also.

Perhaps somewhat due to my early US visa troubles and Trans-Atlantic transfers I have had the opportunity to serve with many companions in a bigger variety of circumstance, totaling seventeen companions! But, this has allowed me the privilege to experience and learn from a wide diversity of personalities. Growing up I didn't always agree with all my siblings (two brothers and a sister) all of the time, I had the opportunity to learn to get along. Going on an a mission I didn't always agree with my missionary companions and again I was given the opportunity to learn to get along. If this was easy I would not have grown and I wouldn't have learned as much but with most of them, getting along was easy--leaving us room to focus our learning and attention elsewhere. I have found something valuable that I needed to learn from every single one of my companions.

I wish I could blame the harder times on mission on others but I can't. I wish I could excuse times with lack of success on my companion, the area or Satan for that matter but I can't. One thing that I have tried to improve on and that I am still working on, is taking the responsibility for things that happen. Out of all the factors that play in all things that I have been a part of, I have been the only one that I have been able to change. I can't choose my circumstances but I can choose to do as much as I am able and I can choose my attitude. Good choices are sometimes harder to make than easy choices and I have yet to get a lot of things right. I am sure my Heavenly Father still has a few lessons in store for me.

It is difficult describe the feelings, all that I have learned and experienced on my two years as a missionary in just mere words, it seems nearly impossible. But, first and foremost I want to express my gratitude: I am grateful for my mission and I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am grateful that my Heavenly Father deemed me worthy enough to serve, trusted me to share His words of comfort with the people seeking and needing Him, people dear to Him. I have a lot of gratitude for these last two years especially to my awesome parents who have helped me with tremendous effort to keep this one little missionary going. I could not have done this alone. I am grateful That God loves me enough to test me, put me through what's needed for me to learn and to use me in His service.

My mission has turned out to be something I would never had expected. Looking back, I'm not quite sure what I could or did expect but it has definitely proven to be a series of unexpected events, shaping me and serving to make my mission a success. Like so many other missionaries experiences, my mission has been guided by the hands of the Grand Architect, helping me reach for my potential as a person and a missionary. Having seen and felt His gently guiding hands in the lives of those around me, my life and mission, I know That He loves the people we find, the people we teach, the many people of this mission that I look up to and have learned from and He loves me.

I have learned that although I have lots to learn, I know enough to know that God lives and is there for us all. I know His gospel is true and real! I don't visually need to see my Savior to see His hand in my life. He has power to heal, mend and change lives and broken hearts. I know that God loves every single one the people on my path here, that their happiness will increase as they allow God, His words and sacrifice into their hearts. Thanks to God my Heavenly Father I know my Savior loves me and will help learn what I need to know and with that, I know enough.

Next week this time, I'll be home!
Love you all, always!

Elder Jepsen

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