In that Gospel Principles class, several new converts, like Andres, shared very nice experiences. The whole Insfrán family finally came!! I´ll be happy to hear about their baptism in the coming weeks. We have a lesson with them tonight, and like you said, I have a lot of goodbyes to do. I didn´t cry during my last testimony, but I almost did while playing the last hymn "God Be with you till We Meet Again," which I requested.
Now everyone wants me to come by their house and say goodbye. We´ll see what we have time for. I also have mostly planned how I am going to pack things, so I´ll be fine there. There are 8 missionaries going home with me, but only two others will be with all the way to Salt Lake.
Everyone keeps asking me how feel, and I honestly don´t feel much differently yet. But, the best word to describe it would be grateful. The experiences have been unforgettable, the Paraguayans are more than welcoming, and Heavenly Father has always been with me to help me learn and grow.
I think that´s something very important in order to feel at peace at the end of the mission, being grateful. It has also helped to be obedient--I don´t have any guilt nagging at me. Above all, I have tried to give my all to the Lord and to his work. That´s the key. You can´t be a successful missionary if one foot is still at home and one is in the mission. And above all, I have stayed focus on the most amazing miracle I have seen in these two years--Conversion.
Conversion means that someone makes their own decision to follow Christ and change their life to be more like His. And that´s why we´re here. That´s why they gave me a name-tag and flew me all the way from Utah for two years, to help the process of Conversion--giving people access to the Atonement.
That´s why it´s so important to stay focused on baptism. There are a lot of misconceptions in the church about missionary work, especially when it comes to baptism. Before the mission, I thought I was coming out here to help people live better lives, and if they didn´t get baptized, oh well. Now I understand that if they don´t get baptized, the changes they have made will most likely not have eternal significance. It´s like a hospital. The nurse that brings food to the patients will make them feel better for a few moments, but only the surgeon will help them make the permanent changes that they need. We are instruments in that surgery, and sometimes it´s tough. We need to work hard and be clear so that the people can understand the importance of repenting now. Everyone needs to understand in the first visit that our goal is to help them get baptized, because waiting longer will probably create confusion.
And above all, baptizing is just a very happy thing. The people I love and remember most are my converts, and I am so grateful to have helped them. I recognize that many great missionaries work hard and don´t bring many people into the waters of baptism. Finding and teaching are noble efforts, and I know I have laid the foundation for many people who were baptized after I left, which is great. But our focus always needs to be on baptism and confirmation, and it is urgent because it is of eternal importance! Salvation is so important, and we need to do the work the way Christ would.
That´s another thing I have tried to do, always live like Christ would. I know I need to continue doing that for these last days, because I have to keep up the good reputation of the church. So, once again, I am very grateful to all of you for your support, and I will see you soon!
-Elder Morgan the much Older
P.S. I do have two food requests: Krispy Kreme donuts and those layered graham-cracker and caramel bars. I don´t know if you remember them, but they are pretty similar to alfajors. I´ll explain more when I get back.