To sum up my mission....
I have loved my mission, no doubt about it. I have had 10 areas, (Roy West, Syracuse, Ogden East, Weber Campus, Tremonton West, Mt. Lewis, Nibley, Logan Central, USU 2, and North Ogden) 19 Companions, (Elders Simbeck, Berg, Simpson, Buckley, Wood, Young, Coronado, Petersen, Alsterberg, Mika, Housman, Skidmore, Madera, Bayles, Rangel, Chaing, Nielsen, Florschutz, Clukey.) I have loved every single area, and believe it or not, every single companion. Each has helped me grow to be more Christ-like, each area I had the wonderful member support and the families that I have met have treated me so dearly. I will always remember many of those whom I have met on my mission.
My favorite conversion stories that I had the privilege of being a participant of were...
Tom Greenwood. Tom was having missionaries coming over to his house for over two years before he was baptized, when he was baptized his daughters were serving their missions in the South, one of which was in Macon GA, mission. When I first got to the area was he just starting to take the discussions for himself, he had previously been there for his sons going through the discussions. I will always remember that night when Tom admitted he believed that the Book of Mormon was inspired by God. That is when I knew he was going to be baptized soon. It was sure a rollercoaster ride throughout, but he surely was a convert. Going to the Bountiful Temple with him to do baptisms for the dead was so amazing.
William Knight. The Knight family was so awesome. I will always consider them friends. The way that we ultimately met them, was when we were walking down the hallway at church. Shirley said as we passed by, "Will, those are the missionaries who will teach you before you are baptized." We immediately went back and talked to their family.
Stacey Hamblin. The 9 year old, being cared for mostly by her Grandmother. However, she would walk to church by herself, and also grab her friend Mckenna to come to church along her way. Both were baptized together.
Erica Brandenberg, Due to her friends' amazing example to her, she actually went knocking at her neighbor's door, asking them first, "Are you a member of the Mormon church?" Then subsequently asking, "How do I learn more?" She was baptized 3 weeks later. Very many cool stories with her, she was so spiritual, just on a higher level than me for sure.
The Felix Family. My goodness I love this family so much. Ashley and Jacob Felix were trying to get back on the path of discipleship. Their kid's, Ayden, Mason, and Madison were baptized in the process.
Mark Henning. 17 years of meeting with the missionaries. On the first lesson, we invited him to be baptized to a specific date 3 weeks out. He had never been invited for a specific date. Mark already had a calling in the Ward, and he had been active in the church for those 17 years with his member wife. A week after meeting with us, he told us that he gave up coffee to be able to feel the spirit stronger... We didn't even know he drank coffee... The day before his baptism date, he still hadn't received an answer. We knelt down in prayer, had him pray if he should be baptized. The Spirit was overwhelmingly strong. Nevertheless, he said he got no answer. The next week we met with him, he admitted he did get his answer last time we met. He was baptized that weekend.
Rebecca Warden. Went down to temple square. Felt the spirit so strongly that she wandered into a church building and talked with the bishop on a Sunday and asked him how she could learn more. She was baptized a month later. The next week after her baptism we went to the Ogden Temple for baptisms for the dead.
Jordyn Schrad (Mack). Mack... What a stellar woman! Never even heard about the church, came to USU for college, immediately she asked her roommates if she could come to church with them. The Wednesday after her going to church, we taught her the first lesson, asked her how she felt about it, she knew it was true, right then and there. Despite opposition from family, she followed the prompting some of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in 3 weeks, the same day that her mother was supposed to visit. Forgoing her visit with her mother to enter into the fold instead. After being disowned by her family shortly after, she went to the temple weekly to maintain her testimony. She just about a month ago, started on her mission papers, and plans to head out as soon as she can.
Vivianne, barely knew English at the beginning of teaching (From Ivory Coast) her, however even with that trial left behind her unsupportive family to learn more. Despite not knowing English very well, and having quite a few French Translators help us out, she was baptized 2 months later.
These are some of the people that I had the privilege of helping come closer to Christ, and there are even more miracles than this. This is just scratching the surface. I have learned many things on my mission. From not using fabric softener for laundry detergent, to having Christ-like love for strangers. From snowshoeing to meeting in-active RMs and learning how not to be like them. I would like to conclude by baring my testimony.
My testimony is that I know our Heavenly Father loves us, he wants us to have joy. He has given us families, and the gospel of Jesus Christ for that purpose. I know he has revealed the gospel to us through prophets of old, as well as a living day prophets (Amos 3:7). I know that God gave us his only begotten Son to die for us, that we may live with him again (John 3:16-17). Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless example for all of us, he taught the fullness of the gospel. There undoubtably is, and has been a tremendous amount of confusion on the subject of religion. Nevertheless I know, and I testify, that God has once again, restored his gospel through a prophet, and that prophet was Joseph Smith. My testimony of him roots from the fruit which he bore, that is The Book of Mormon (Matt. 7:15-20) . I have read this book, I have prayed about it, the words and the spirit it contains has changed my life. I know that it is truly God's word, because of the witness and power of the Holy Ghost (Galatians 5:22-23) . Joseph Smith was given the power and authority of God to re-establish Christ's Church, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that this organization is directed by Jesus Christ himself, and contains the fullness of the gospel of which He previously taught. Everyone who actively seeks to know these things for themselves will likewise receive a testimony of truthfulness of these words (Moroni 10:3-5). I solemnly bare this witness and conclude in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.