Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The BEST Two Years!

Wow....it is hard to believe this is my last letter home. It still doesn't really feel real yet. This has been my life for the past two years, and this week that will all change. Kind of. Missionary work never ends of course, now it will just be in a new venue and with new people. And I won't get to do missionary work all day every day. I will have to do missionary work while working, going to school and dealing with the rest of life. I don't know what to expect really, but I am excited for this new journey. It will be hard, but it will be fun. I guess I have gotten comfortable out here, now it is time to change haha. Like the saying goes... "There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone". It is time for me to get out of the comfort zone so I can learn and grow in new areas of life. I am excited to see all of you on Friday though, it will be great!

I am not really sure if there is one main reason why I chose to serve a mission. It was something I always just planned on doing my whole life. I didn't really do anything special to prepare myself, but things just fell into place and somehow, someway I ended up out here in Boston on a mission. God needed me as a missionary, and He found a way to get me out here. So honestly, I have never really figured out how to answer the question of why I chose to serve a mission. Things just fell into place perfectly and it was clear that Heavenly Father wanted me to serve. I do know that I chose to work hard each and every day because I loved the people I served. Love is the best motivating factor. The love that I felt for the members and non members in my areas was enough to keep me working hard day in and day out.

I can't even begin to describe the things I have learned throughout my mission. These past two years have been a training ground for the rest of my life. I have learned what it means to be a consecrated disciple of Jesus Christ. I now know how to give of myself to the Savior, and how to let the Atonement work in my life. I have learned that God loves each of His children immensely, no matter what. I have begun to understand how to receive personal revelation directly from God, as to what He would have me to do on a daily basis. I still have a lot more to figure out on that topic though. I have learned what Zion truly is, and how we can work towards building Zion in our lives. The list will just go on and on of things I have learned. I guess most importantly, I have learned of the truthfulness of this Gospel, and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At the beginning of my mission I believed that all of these things were true. Now I can say I know that these things are true. That is the greatest knowledge I have obtained.

At the beginning of my mission I was really worried about the mission changing me. For some reason I thought it was going to turn me into a weirdo. I was comfortable with who I was, and I thought that I was doing pretty well in life. I just didn't really want to change for some reason. I think I was probably just scared of how hard it might be to change. Well, serving as a missionary has completely changed me, and I am okay with that. I now understand the repentance process, and how beautiful it is to see individuals make positive and lasting changes, and I want to continue making those changes myself. Before serving as a misisonary I was pretty selfish. Everything was about me, and how it was going to benefit myself. For the past two years I have been able to focus solely on the needs of others, and have attempted to truly forget about myself. My focus in life has changed from "How can this bless my life?" to "How can I bless the lives of those around me?". As I have changed this focus in life, many other things have changed along with it. As I have been attempting to focus on serving others, the things that motivate me have changed. I used to be motivated by recognition, praise, or wordlly gain. These motives would push me to do good things, but for the wrong reasons. Now I serve because I love God and I love those around me. Now I only care about what God thinks of me, and how he sees my efforts. My mission experience has honestly changed me completely. I am the same person, but my desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams, etc have all changed. I am really excited to see how the Gospel will continue to mold and shape me for the rest of my life.

I honestly have no idea what Heavenly Father has in store for me in the future. The one thing I do know is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be at the center of my life, for the rest of my life. Over the past two years I have met people from all over the world, from all sorts of religions who live all sorts of different lifestyles. I have been in hundreds of different homes and talked with thousands of different people. I have gotten a little taste of a lot of what this world has to offer. The one thing I have seen over, and over again is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY way for us to find true and lasting joy. There is simply no other way. My life will be centered up living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This will be my foundation and God can add whatever else He wants upon that foundation. I have loved every second of my mission. I don't think there will be a day in the rest of my life where I don't think about my mission or use something I have learned over these past two years.


Elder Pulsipher

Me with Barry.  In each area there is always that old person that you just go and visit sometimes to give them some company.  Barry is that guy.  He is awesome haha and has TONS of stories to tell.  Fun fact, Barry was born without a face.  He had no bones in his face...so his face is built out of plastic.  Pretty cool huh!?
 Boston Skyline with Joe!
Boston Skyline!

Me and Brother McCormick!  He is another awesome guy that just wasn't coming to church when I came to Lynnfield.  He had just fallen into one of those ruts that sometimes happens.  We started visiting and now he has been coming to church for the past 3 months and he is doing great!
 Saying goodbye to Brother Paolini. This is the guy we went to the temple with Saturday.
Temple trip with Brother Paolini.  When I first came to Lynnfield Brother Paolini was not active in the church.  He was baptized around ten years ago, was very active in the Gospel and then fell for a time.  We started meeting with him every Thursday at 4:30, and he has made a ton of progress.  He is at church faithfully every single week now.  He even gets there an hour early to set up the sacrament each week.  A few months ago we set the goal for Brother Paolini to return to the temple so that he could be baptized and confirmed for his father who passed away while Brother Paolini was not active in the church.  Just a few weeks ago he was able to get his temple recommend, but it didn't look like he would have a day free to go to the temple before I left.  Thankfully his boss called and cancelled work this Saturday, and we were able to go and do the temple work for his father.  It was a really special day and Brother Paolini loved it.  He kept saying "This is awesome" throughout the whole temple experience.  I love this guy. I always looked forward to our Thursday meetings.  He is an amazing guy and he always knows how to make me smile.  Saturday was definitely the perfect way to finish my time working with him.  It was special to see his reactivation from start to finishing there at the temple.

Harvard Library
Reading the best book in Harvard Yard! Trying to be smart and all...
 John Harvard...his golden shoe is supposed to bring good luck, or something like that.
These guys are the best.  Jen, Gary, me and Jake.  Let me start with Gary... His family converted to the church when he was a young kid, and he was raised in the church up until he was 16. Things fell apart in his family and they all kind of went their separate ways.  Fast forward 40 years and Gary has had zero interactions with the church since he was 16.  We started visiting Gary a few months ago, and things were slow at first but then all of a sudden things just fell into place.  Gary expressed an interest in coming back to church, and we said we could help with that.  Gary has been active for the past 3 months or so, and is doing really well.  He even quit smoking on his own last month after having smoked his whole life.  This guy is the most sincere, and selfless guy I know.  He does sooo much service to those around him it is unreal.  He never does anything for himself.  His main reason in wanting to return to the church is Jen.  She is 14 and is his God Daughter.  Jen lives outside of our ward boundaries during the week, but Friday - Sunday she comes and stays with Gary.  Gary wanted to give her some stability in life and help her come to know God. So he decided he needed to get back into the Gospel himself so he could introduce it into Jen's life.  Jen now comes to church with Gary every week, and she kind of likes it haha.  Jake is Gary's nephew.  This guy is a survivor.  He was born with cerebral palsy and is also autistic, and he has had cancer like 4 different times.  But he is just the happiest, loving kid ya will ever meet.  Jake has lived with Gary full time for about 10 years now.  Like I said, Gary is an amazing guy.
Me saying goodbye to Pat Nelson.  She was a member here in the ward who was in a nursing home...we tried to visit her as often as we could.  Gotta represent and visit those old ladies like President Monson always talks about!
Last Pday in Boston...Boston Public Garden.
 The Ducks...


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