Not sure how to even begin this email or what to say. Just like most of you of guess, this week has been a range of emotions. After serving here for a good minute, these people have become my family and my area, kind of like my child. I've grown to love them and love the gospel so much more. Each area has taken a big piece of my heart. I stay long enough to love it, then get moved again. I didn't know it was possible to love so many people, to the point that I never want to leave them. I keep telling myself I'm just getting transferred to a new area, that I'll go serve in another ward and meet more wonderful and amazing people, that I still have at least 6 months left, and it still doesn't feel real. I remember when I first came out, I thought it would be forever till I went home, and that I had plenty of time. I can't believe its been 18 months. It honestly feels like I've been out just 6 months. One of the best ways to describe it is very bittersweet. My heart is breaking to have to leave my Southern family here, and I wish I could stay longer. I wish they could just all come with me, and then y'all could meet them:) Sorry if I sound dramatic y'all, but I'm just expressing how I feel. And how much I love and am going to miss the people I've met.
So I only have time to tell y'all about a few things that happened this week. First off, we had a awesome week! And I'll tell a lot more about it in a few days.
Some people we just barely started teaching are Kayla and Mary. Mary is the mom, and Kayla is the daughter. We stopped by and saw them last week. And at first when we were talking to Mary she told us she wasn't interested and that didn't want to learn any more. Well, the Spirit being the wonderful companion it is, we felt prompted to share why Mormons are called Mormons. It’s this little drawing that explains the history of the Book Of Mormon. Anyway we started to explain using the picture, and Mary had a ton of questions for us throughout the whole time. By the end of it, Mary and Kayla were very interested and wanted us to come back. It was really funny because Kayla has a Book of Mormon and has read a little bit of it, and her mom was telling her it didn't have Jesus in it, and Kayla was defending it. So when we said it was centered on Jesus Christ and showed them 3 Nephi 11, Kayla pointed at her mom and said "I told you so!" haha I love them, they’re really awesome people! :D
Sorry this email isn't very long y'all, there's a member feeding us lunch and she waiting for us at her house. Words don't even begin to describe how grateful I am for my mission and all the Lord taught me. I'm so grateful for all the experiences, trials, people, companions, and friendships I've gained. These past 18 months have been the hardest 18 months of my life, but the most rewarding. My mission has taught me the importance of always keeping our lives centered on Jesus Christ and his teachings. It’s taught me how to study and feast on the words of Christ, and that by applying what we learn in the scriptures we can find peace, comfort, strength, and hope. It’s taught me that through heartfelt prayer every single day, studying, trying our best to live the gospel there's nothing we can't overcome. I know that we can find answers to our questions or problems through the scriptures and the best part is we can feel the love our Father in Heaven has for us. It is so real, and he loves us so much. I know that he loves and knows each one of his children. He's aware of our struggles, flaws, sorrows, burdens, and pains. He knows when we feel weak or frightened. I know he has helped me through all of the challenges I've faced in my life, and if I turn to him, he will make me strong. As we draw close to him and try to understand who he is and what he's done for us, he will change our nature and we will understand who we truly are as sons and daughters of God. I'm so grateful for the Plan Of Salvation. Because of it, I know what Heavenly Father expects of me and who he wants me to become. I know that I have a purpose in this life, and Heavenly Father has a plan for me. Because of the hope we can have in Jesus Christ, we can make it through trials and challenges having the reassurance that they’re not given to us to torture us or be mean or cruel, but to help us grow and become like him. By myself I am weak, frightened, and scared, but with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I can do anything. Before my mission I didn't realize how much I needed them in my life, and I took being a part of the Lord’s kingdom for granted. I didn't understand how much there is to life, to the choices we make, or even how much there is to the gospel. Now I understand more how important our everyday decisions are. I understand that the decisions we make now will influence and determined who we want to become, our children, and so on. My mission has helped me understand that a life committed to Christ doesn't accidentally happen. It’s something we have to work at all our lives and as we rely on the Atonement to find peace, healing, grace, and turn desire into action. Our Savior and Father in Heaven can make so much more out of our lives then we ever could, if we give it to them they will mold us, shape and change us. Through the Atonement of Jesus and sincere repentance we will find eternal peace and joy. I am so grateful for my Savior who has make it possible to overcome my flaws and weakness and made it so I never have to go through this life alone. My mission has forever changed me, and I pray that I will always remember my mission. I've loved it so much! And will always be a missionary, whether or not I have the name tag. I may not wear a physical name tag for much longer but it will always be engraving on my heart.
Thanks y'all for everything, for the prayers, support, and encouragement!!! I'll see y'all in a few days!!!
Love, Sister Keables