One year ago today I concluded my mission in the Russia Novosibirsk mission. One year ago, a sat in the mission office and had my final interview with my MIssion President. He lay his hands on my head and released me from my service. My MIssion President spoke about how grateful he was for my service and how much he had loved having me serve with him.As he did so, i felt so strongly that the Lord was proud of my service. In his house that evening, we spoke about the future and how I could move forward and continue to grow towards the savior.
Looking back at the past year, I can’t believe all that has happened since then. I finished my first year of law school and got married to someone that I love dearly. I have grown in many ways in my faith and in my intellect. There have been moments where I have struggled and moments where old habits have threatened to destroy the progress I have made, and yet I am so grateful for all of the experiences that I have had this past year.
On Friday I sat down and was interviewed by Shira a graduate student at Yale doing her thesis on technology and missionary work. As I spoke to her, I recalled my conversion to the Gospel with great gratitude. Her father in an Chabbad Rabbi and as we spoke, I remembered my love for judaism and yet why I was unable there to find answers to the questions that plagued my soul. In the Gospel is truth and life eternal. There are good people of all faiths. Good Jews, Christians and Muslims, but I have confidence that the Gospel can bless anyone no matter who they are. It can make a bad person good and a good person better. It is the truth
Shira asked me why I thought that serving a mission was so more important than other kinds of service that one could give. I thought of the words of the Lord to the Witmers that the thing of most worth to them would be to preach the Gospel of repentance to all mankind:
6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.”
As a missionary I was able to heal broken hearts and bring peace to those tempest tossed and discomforted. I saw the healing power of Christ’s Atonement first hand. I am so grateful for the time I spent serving in a portion of the Lord’s Vineyard. I am grateful to have been given a stewardship from the Lord. I am grateful that God blessed me with success and with incredible life-long friends.
My mission meant everything to me. It was an experience that shaped my life. I would not be where I am now without it. I would not have the faith or testimony I have without it. My choice to serve will impact generations.
I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that it is the Lord’s work.