...Well, everyone. I want to say thank you. Thanks for doing these two years with me, and for listening to all of the crazy stories and random pieces of advice my 20 year old brain came up with throughout this whole experience. Thank you for all of your love, and support, and for giving me the confidence and courage countless times when I thought I might fail, or couldn't believe in myself. Thank you for sending letters, spiritual thoughts, and emails.. I promise I've read every single one of them, even if I may not have ever gotten back to writing you. I've kept almost every single letter I've received on my mission-- and hold them near and dear to me. YOU have all really helped me so much. ..Just by watching. By reading. By being a part of this ride.. this experience we could have together. I can't say I've grown into this incredible man who can grow a super handsome beard or anything, but I can say that.. ...I'm way better than I used to be, and I think that's important. I've learned how much one life can impact another, and have grown in ways I never expected to. I've been humbled, tested, tried, and shaped into an instrument that I know both the Lord and those around me will be able to use just a little bit better. ..And I know that this church is true. I know that faith isn't just a principle of the gospel.. it's not just a word we use to describe why we feel the way we do about our religion. I've learned that it's our lifestyle. Every decision we make is because of the faith we have in those promised blessings. I've learned over my two years in Korea that I kneel and pray to my Father in Heaven with faith that he will answer me. ..Why would I kneel and pray in the first place if I didn't have any faith?
Of all the blessings I could promise.. of all the things I could testify of, I want to leave with you one simple testimony of something I know to be true-- with all of my heart.
In one sentence, my testimony is this.
I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers every child's prayer.
Before I sign off, I want to share an experience I had with prayer, that I shared with my trainer a few weeks ago.
..I was having a really hard night. I was stressed out my mind, got a call to speak in church with the Stake Presidency out of nowhere the night before, was worried about my life and future, who I'd marry, what I was doing as a missionary, if I'd done enough.. if I had made a difference, and was seriously just drowning. I tried my best to just throw it all down in my journal and walk away with a positive attitude like I usually try to do but, nothing was working.
I went into a different room, and knelt in prayer -- saying what I'd probably call an angry and frustrated prayer with my Father in Heaven. I was frustrated, and didn't feel like there were answers to anything. I cried my eyes out, and was just so upset. ..As I prayed, I remembered that all who have the Aaronic Priesthood are entitled to something called "the ministering of angels", and though I didn't really and still don't really understand what that fully entails, I plead with God to send me one. Someone, some angel, to help me through it all. Be it the Holy Ghost or anyone else to just.. help me get a grip on things.
It was after that-- pleading and struggling, that I felt the Holy Ghost, and was comforted enough to walk back into my room. I was thankful, and felt that that was the answer to my wrestle of a prayer.
..But that night, I fell asleep, and had a dream that I was in a field. A huge, golden brown field-- where I was supposed to work. But, the amount of work I had to do was SO immense. Wayy more than I could do by myself, and I knew it. There were huge weeds, and stocks of wheat all around me, and I was so overwhelmed. I looked around and saw others in the field, harvesting and plowing and working -- all in groups, in teams, and with partners. Happily, whole-heartedly, and diligently. They were confident and making incredible progress. ..I stuck my shovel in the dirt. And spaced out. Totally overwhelmed, not even willing to start, when I felt a hand on my right shoulder.
I turned around, to see my trainer, Elder Chow.
I was surprised, to say the least, and asked what he was doing here. He looked at me and said, "Hey. I'm here to help you. ..What's wrong?" ..I started to explain how frustrated I was and that I just couldn't do it, when he interrupted me with a soft voice and said, "Hey.. come on. We can do this together. It's not just you. Now come on, let's work hard." ..And man, we worked. We worked all night. We worked and talked about everything that I was stressed about, and he just listened to me talk about … well, ..everything.
I woke up, comforted, confident, and capable, and the next day was a major success.
I just wanted to thank you --all of you for having that kind of impact in my life. For teaching me that I can work hard. That I can do my own work, but that I can also have help from others, and that there are always others there to help me out.
Thank you for being there for me.
And a special thank you to the man who made me the missionary I am, Elder Chow.
I hope all is well, and I hope each and every one of you remembers how special you are -- that there is no one else in the WHOLE WORLD that has the same influence you do,
and that you remember how great life is.
..Whatever stress you may be holding onto, I promise that if you give it to our Father in Heaven, just like you would a loving parent, you can let it go and be truly happy.
Remember that you're never alone.
..and continue always to choose to be great.
Be good. Walk Tall.
Be you. Keep the Faith.
Be True. Finish the Fight!
All the love,
ELDER TRUE ANTHONY DEMILLE!