My reflections are as such:
The mission is an eye-opener. Words can't express the things you see, whether it be the bustling streets, the crazy traffic, interesting people, funny accidents with your companions, interactions with investigators and members, and many countless other interesting things.. But you grow up so much. Unfortunately the hardest thing perhaps to see is the new "self" you acquire, but with others' help you can be reminded of it.
You become so much less self-centered. How could you not? You are always having to think of others, whether it is your companion, your family and friends, your investigators, you name it. Suddenly so many things that were once important become so unimportant. I think you find the true "you" doing so though. I have a much clearer idea of who I truly am as a person now.
If there's one disappointment I feel weigh on me at the end here, it's some of those difficulties you run into that actually don't seem to be resolved ever. Of course you always have really high hopes that you can see miracles happen and you put lots of thought and prayer into it suspecting that God would like it to happen too. But some miracles don't seem to happen because the interesting thing is that everyone has the God-given right to choose what route they want to take for themselves.
By no means do you think that by them not accepting your message that they are bad people or doomed to some certain fate. However, you do wonder "where did I go wrong as a messenger?"
At the same time that you have these emotional lows though, you have some really high good times. Perhaps you have to convince yourself a little that those good times really do outweigh the tough times, but to be honest there really are some times that are priceless.
Regardless of whether the good or the bad is more or less or whatever though, the mission is worth every cent. Every drop of sweat. Every step. Every breath. I've become a man. I have faced the winds of life and have built muscle in those places in your heart and mind that I didn't know existed.
I have seen miracles. During my highs and lows, the Lord was always with me. I know it now. As practically minded as I am, I can accept that there's a God up there watching over me. I'm very comfortable with that idea now. And regardless of all the questions I once had about history and commandments and the definition of sin and like things, I can finally accept everything as I've been taught. I am happy living the commandments. I feel secure inside. I feel at peace with myself. I will never condemn others for their actions, however, as for myself, I will conduct myself in the way I've been taught the Lord expects me too. Because what I was once taught, I now believe. Faith is an interesting concept. It is empowering when one can grasp it.
I once had a moment on my mission where I had to ask myself the question, "Who do I choose?" That question is much easier to think about than to actually have to answer. But when faced with it, I chose the Lord. I can't say how it happened, but after that decision was made, my life was changed forever. And I saw the biggest blessings I've ever witnessed before.
Perhaps King Benjamin had had his own experiences behind what he meant when he said that those who keep the commandments of God are happier than those who don't? My humble witness is now the same. I am happy with the gospel. It is my life. I am finally converted.
I choose the Lord.
I hope everyone has a great week! See you at the end of July!!!!