A Bitter Sweet Close….. May 4, 2015

¡Buenas tardes a todos!

This week, I am full of a mix of emotions.  It is sort of funny, but I don’t think that I have yet fully assimilated the fact that I am just about to leave the mission field and return to the ‘world’.  Honestly, I am short of words to describe what is going through my mind right now.
These two years have been full of experiences that I hope to never forget.  I have met many people, and many have touched my life.  There are many things that I have learned.  There are also many fond memories that I will keep with me forever.  Not all has been easy, but it has been worth it.  The Lord has blessed me with so many things that I cannot fully see how much I have been blessed.  Every area has taught me something different.
I am glad and excited to see my family again in just a few days.  Thank you for all of the love and support that you have given me during these two years.  Thank you to everyone who has written me sharing advice, sharing experiences, or just to say hi.  I am honestly very grateful for all that I have received from everyone.
At the same time, I am saddened to think that in a few short days, I will no longer be a set-apart representative of Jesus Christ.  As missionaries, we are set-apart from the world.  That means that we take upon ourselves great responsibility and accept to live by the rules and standards that the Lord has set for his missionaries.  At the same time, if we live up to those responsibilities and magnify our calling, then we receive great rewards.  It will be sad and weird to take off the badge and to find myself without a companion.
However, that is part of what makes this experience so special.  It is not something that lasts forever, rather it is a time that one has to treasure while living the experience.  I know that this is the work of the Lord.  I know that this is the true church, the only true church on the earth today.  Thanks to Joseph Smith and the question that he asked, the Lord has brought about “a marvelous work and a wonder”.  I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that families can be eternal because of the plan and the Priesthood of God.  Christ lives, and he loves us.  Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sincerely,
Elder Gardner
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