Monday, June 13, 2011

I Have Learned

Monday, June 13, 2011
Hello Hello. Second to last week writing you all. I'm sure you're tired of listening to me by now. Well you can't. Anyways I can't believe that this whole experience is almost over and that life will soon begin. It's a weird feeling. Think bitter sweet puts justice to the way I feel. I hope that all of you are doing well and that you are seeing changes in your life to come closer to our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. There is nothing that is more important that we can do than to come closer to them, for they are extremely waiting for us to follow and obey. There are so many things that I have learned and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn so many things. I can't even begin to really understand what is in store for me but I do know that I have been blessed and that the blessings will continue to come. Kasey is going to get baptized on the 25th so I'm super excited for that.

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to share my testimony, along with all the departing missionaries, at the Departing Missionary Fireside. It was so surreal because it didn't even feel like I was going home even though it was about me going home. Haha. It was so cool seeing everyone that I had worked with before, there was many people that were there that I knew so it was a great experience saying hello and talking with all of them again. I don't have my camera but you will all soon have the pictures in hand. While I was there it caused me to think on everything that I have experienced on my mission and everything that I have learned. What made things worse is that we had to condense all of that into 3 to 5 minutes. I had no idea what to say but since I have the opportunity to share all that I thought of with more time I'm going to make a list that somewhat summarizes everything even though there is nothing that could do so. I wish I could just say "I didn't know anything, but now I know something." Here it goes:

I have learned to rely on the Lord in a greater way.
That consistency is key in everything, for that is the only difference between us and the Savior, He has and was consistently choosing the right.
The scriptures are key to understanding the things that our Heavenly Father wants us to do.
The Book of Mormon is true, along with the Bible.
I have learned to cook a lot more than I already knew how.
I have learned how to be patient in Los Angeles traffic.
I have learned to teach by the spirit in a greater way.
I have seen the hand of the Lord in everyone, I know that He is extremely mindful of all His children.
I have learned that baptism is essential to receiving greater blessings that are in store for us.
I have learned that all of us has the same potential, eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
The Lord puts people in our path to answer our prayers.
I have learned to bear the name of the Savior, literally and spiritually.
The temple is a place of refuge.
I have learned that almost all blessings are predicated on our obedience to His commandments.
I have gained a stronger testimony that there are living prophets and apostles on the earth today.
I have learned that the message of the Restoration is a hidden treasure to many because they know not where to find it.
I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the message that we share with the world is that we can see them too.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord answers prayers when we have the intent to follow what He says.
I have learned to bargain shop.
I have learned that we sometimes have to give up what is good for things that are better.
There is only one way to be together with our families forever and that is through the temple.
I have learned to not apologize for what we believe for these things are true.
There are many things in this world that are not meant to be understood.
One of the greatest things that I have learned is to forget myself and go to work.
Faith is a verb, its what you do.
One cannot offer a one cent prayer and expect a million dollar answer.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who were already following in His example.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who did not know His example.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who are struggling with addiction.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who are burdened with sin.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who have lost a loved one.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who have seen it change the lives of their peers.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who see nothing more to life than surviving.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who are seeking peace in this life.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who are young.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who are old.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who at first were not humble to ask if there is more to what they already believe.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who hate and despise us.
I have seen the gospel change the lives of many who we don't even know we have made an impact with.
I have learned that it doesn't matter what the cost is the help someone come to the gospel for that is what the Savior would do.
I have learned to knock doors.
I have learned to be rejected.
To find energy for the day when there is none left.
To wake up at 6:30AM and go to bed at 10:30PM.
That there is nothing more important than our relationship with our Father in Heaven.
I have learned to love everyone I see.
"Whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth."
The true enemy of best is good.
That the difference between us and all other churches is that this is the true and living church.
To sustain my leaders.
To be a leader.
I have learned that one must change oneself first to change others.
I have learned to listen to the spirit and obey.
General Conference is a six month guide until the following General Conference.
We were, we are, and will be.
I have learned to love others despite their attitude towards the things that we believe.
We, as missionaries, are representatives of the Lord, Jesus Christ and are the light that cannot be hod.
To not be ashamed of who we are.
To be quietly dignified.
I have learned to plan every minute of the day.
I have learned to come up with 15 minute talks on the spot.
Being faithful to the gospel is not easy.
All the mission rules have a reason behind them, not to confine us. This applies to the commandments of the Lord.
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven.
The Priesthood, or the authority that we bear, is true.
I have learned to sow.
I have learned that it is greater to give than to receive in a deeper sense.
Everyone is a missionary.
Our Heavenly Father has a plan for us and we determine the outcome.
We are meant to be in complete families with children.
Repentance is so worth it.
The Holy Ghost is my pal.
The things of the world don't measure up to the things of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You are who you think you are.
Desires determine our potential.
I have learned to rely on others and not do it all myself.
That this is the work of the Lord.
The Lord is preparing on a daily basis people who are ready to receive the restored gospel.
I have seen that there is power in fasting.
I have gained a testimony that the California Los Angeles Mission is the mission that our Heavenly Father wanted me to serve in.
I have learned that we don't always get what we want.
Complaining is for losers.
You can't judge the church if you are not willing to give it a full try with real intent.
That there are ministering angels round about us.
Consistently reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, will never take us away from the Savior.
The Atonement is real.
To go through countless meetings that one has been through many times.
To attend two wards on each Sabbath for 10 hours.
Be more patient.
Be more humble.
Be more charitable.
Be more diligent.
Be more hopeful.
Be more virtuous.
Be more knowledgeable.
Be more obedient.
Whatever we do as missionaries is not us but it is the Lord's doing.
Out of the many things that I have learned there is one that I'm extremely thankful for and that is that this faith is true. That anyone who follows after the example of the Savior or this faith, for they are the same, will come closer to their Creator.

I'm going to continue making a list and have more for you next week. I love you all so much. I also love the people here so much too. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve a mission for the Lord. Words cannot explain how much I have learned, seen, and heard but I do know that the things that I know to be true are true because I have prayed and received an answer from the the Master himself.

Elder Leavell

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