Although that title is deceptive, seeing as I will probably send a few more emails after having finished this one.
Well, this will also be my last quarterly update.
That's right, this past week I hit two years of mission time- 19th of December 2013-2015- And I didn't even realize it until I was about to go to bed. But it is true- Two years have come and gone, they really have. Such is the time that passes.
So what has happened in these past two years? well, let's go over the last six months first...
A whole bunch of letters that must have been stuck in customs SUDDENLY ARRIVED thanks to Mauricio Macri, new president of Argentina, AKA Santa Clause for Elder Backstrom.
That's a total of 19 letters- yeah! that is a GOOD Christmas present for a missionary!
Thanks to everyone who sent me letters that never ever ever seemed to arrive. Because they didn't until now, but even though they are from as far back as February, they are still good as gold to me. We'll see if more are not liberated by MACRI FREEDOM JUSTICE,see goofy photo created by my mediocre "paint" cut and paste.
|rick mercer would be proud|
Christmas also decided to come early in the form of terrible ice-snow known as hail. it was actually pretty devastating to the crops in the area... however I went out and took photos after it stopped ~ 1am, and it looked almost like a white Christmas. photos attached, also two of la aconcagua, our normal everyday super huge mountain scenery. It didn't come out as well in the pictures as I would have liked it to.
Next, let's talk baptisms- Who got baptised?
1- Gisela Muñoz
2- Chagua Family (six in total)
That actually also works out to be the mission totals for me, since the first baptism I ever had was Gisela's; However, it's great to think that I have been able to contribute to the baptisms of at least these people.
Lets see, lists of areas-
Progresso, San Juan
San Martin 1, San Martin
Amppya, San Luis
La Favorita, Mendoza
Tres Porteñas, San Martin
Six in total. I have had 7 total apartments.
Lists of favorite foods-
1- delicious empanadas
2- buttery asado
3- giant raviolies
1- expensive creamy ice cream
2- english pudding
Well, I'm not quite sure what else to include.
Buses are not very frequent in Tres Porteñas.
This week I started desperatly writing letters to all of the people that I have known almost, saying goodbye to them and urging them to live the gospel. It is a little shocking to think that this is the last time I will ever write to those people in the role of a representative of Jesus Christ, and so I took as much advantage of the situation as I could to urge them with all the words I have to stay (or to get into) the path of the gospel.
I am very glad for the months and years of service that I have been granted to have. It has been an experience of growth and learning. I love the quote, "Never look back", But I'll make an exception today and say, looking back, it feels shorter than it was. I can't remember, almost, how long the days were; I only remember selectively the things that feel important- the visits, the people, the companions, the places. And the most important things that I remember are the small, simple spiritual experiences that help me to grow in my conviction of the living reality of the gospel, and to know that God has not given up on me, but that he is always helping me to become a better missionary, and a better person.
I know that this work that I have been doing for two years, has been worth it. I know that it is the work of God, and the most important work that is going forth upon the earth. there is nothing more important than to live the principles of the gospel, because there is nothing else that can cause us, in the last day, when all will have to answer before God for our acts in this life, to be received pure and worthy in his kingdom.
I would like to thank everyone who has writen me, really, it has been great. Thanks so much for your support.
I really don't have basically any time left in the mission- since this week is Christmas, and five days out of the week will be occupied with various Christmas activities- and so I'm sort of entering into the days that are not days. It's real for me for the first time that I'm actually going home... It's sort of like I'm living borrowed time. most missionaries don't have two whole years, and I have a few days more. But it will be so weird to go back to a life that I've forgotten how to live.
Well I can say that I am glad for every day that I have had. I can say that I dedicated myself to Tres Porteñas as though I would be staying here, and now I don't want to leave... But such is life in the mission.
Look, take care of yourselves until we see eachother;
here is a scripture from Jeremiah that is very applicable to what the mission president desires that we study right now,which is hope, and also very relevant to the vineyard experience in Tres Porteñas-
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
I think that hope is very important; it is our attitude; it is the way that we can remain green when there is drought and put forth fruits of repentance through hard times as well as good. Hope is what will eventually save us, as Paul declared, "they are saved by hope..." And for now my hope, which will water the tree of my faith, is that I will return home and be able to continue in the love of the gospel of Christ, and find all of you well and firm in your minds and spirits.
That you have hope of a better day, a day in which you will see me, (haha)
for the last time