Bonjour à tous
There are several things I want to express but there is way too much, so I have the difficult task of choosing what to share! I've had so many experiences.
I don't know why I have been so blessed to have been able to come to this mission, at this time. Looking back at my mission, I've realized how everything that has happened to me, has been crucial to my spiritual growth and testimony of the Savior. It has been like a perfectly designed puzzle. My life will never be the same thanks to President and Sister Roney (and the Browns), all of my companions, the faithful French members, who everyday face the challenge of living in a country apathetic towards God, the Amis I've come to love as family, and even the random person on the street.
If I've learned anything during the span of my mission, it would be this; love is the key. I have genuinely come to love the French people and their culture. The exquisite food, flawlessly balanced in taste and consistency. The pâté fois gras, escargots, all of the patisseries, bread and chocolate. The French affinity for family and friends. Their family is the most important thing of their life. I love how initially awkward they are when you don't know them. I love how they have practically zero spatial awareness and are nearly incapable of guessing if something will fit somewhere (except whilst parallel parking). I love the members and their courage to stand up for Christ's doctrine in the face of ever present secularism. They are pioneers of the church and I have gained a huge respect for them. They are incredible.
I am forever grateful for the lifetime friendships I have created. The word 'ami' for investigator is more than appropriate. To even think I would have not had the opportunity to meet the people I have greatly saddens me. There are so many incredible people! I've learned great lessons. You can't just "deal with people", you have to love them.
I know Heavenly Father made it possible for me to gain a sincere love for the people and even my mission. For every beautiful experience, every kind, sincere person, for every good day there have been innumerable bad ones. Days that are unbearably long where people yell at you to go home and keep your dirty sect. I've had things thrown at me. I've been laughed at. I was assaulted and even stabbed. These experiences weren't fun. But they didn't define my mission experience.
They weren't able to... Because no matter how tired I was or how mean the people were, I knew and I will always know that I was never alone. Not once. The atonement of Jesus Christ can turn the greatest tragedies to the most beautiful experiences. The difference between misery and happiness is an eternal perspective. On the days where I felt like I couldn't continue, I felt divine support from my Heavenly Father through His son, Jesus Christ.
I long to see my family. I love them much. I'm excited to see them. At the beginning of the mission, you look forward and feel like your mission is never going to end. Two years seems so long. But then you look backward and it seems it has been about two weeks.
I love you all and I am eternally grateful I was able to share a tiny bit of what I have experienced. I hope you have been uplifted and strengthened in your faith in Christ.
Que Dieu vous bénisse! À bientôt :)