Monday, October 7, 2013

The Old Red Hills of Home

Georgia, here I come!

But first, Santiago, Concepción, Temuco, Los Ángeles, Lima, and Machu Pichu!

I can't quite believe that this is my last email home in the mission...I've got a lot of mixed feelings. It doesn't quite feel real, so I can't really say this is difficult or easy or anywhere in between, it just is I suppose.

I suppose it would be more difficult if it were more sudden, but since I've been expecting it for a while and preparing for it, I'm trying to take it as just another step forward. As I think about not being a missionary anymore, it is sad. But, it is comforting to know that I can still reach the celestial kingdom, even if I'm not a full-time missionary for the rest of my life. Haha, it's good to know that the Lord has more plans for me within his great big plan for our salvation and happiness.

I can't think of a better way to have finished my mission that with general conference (it being my 5th general conference in the mission by the way. woah..). I went with many questions, like, "How can I continue to serve in the Church? How can I have success as a member missionary? How can I apply all that I've learned in my mission to the real life? How can I continue to be constant? When and whom should I mary? How can I increase my faith and works? Which profession should I select? I'm happy to announce that every single one of these questions (and more) were answered by the voice of the Spirit in a very remarkable personal way.

The conference really helped me see what the next years of my life will look like, as the consecrated and devoted member and disciple of Christ I desire to be. I learned a lot about what sanctification means and what it entails as a regular member. I realized (as I had earlier in the mission), that no body becomes sanctified on accident. It is always a choice we make. And we must all consciously make it eventually, or we will always live beneath the level of our potential and our privilege. I am thoroughly excited to be an everyday member, but with the capacity to see miracles every day in my life. I desire to give my life to the service of the Lord. I know that the mission does not end here. It is every day. I know who I am. I know where I'm going. I can see it, I can taste it, and I have the desire to acheive it, with God as my motor and the Spirit as my lamp.

I love the Savior. He has saved me countless times from my sins. I love His work. I love His church. How greatful I am for the time He gave me to serve by His side. And what makes me even more greatful is knowning that I can continue to do so. His work is not over, and neither is my part in it. I know Christ is our savior, that this is His true church. I declare that The Gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, that the Book of Mormon is a solemn and powerful witness of Jesus Christ. I can declare, as did Paul, that I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. I pray we all forever do the same.

With much love,
Elder (almost Brother) Wilcox

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