Monday, August 22, 2016

Turning the Page -- August 22, 2016

Well. There's no point in beating around the bush. This is the last email of my mission. 

I'm going to fly home this Thursday. I'm going to leave the mission. I'm going to take off my nametag. And all at once, I'll be Brother Johnson again. This is true. I'm conscious of this fact. I understand that I'm going to see my mom this week. I know that I'm going home. I get it. But. I also really don't. Because right now, I still have my tag. I still have a companion. Two, actually. I still keep rules. I still eat more rice than you can shake a stick at. And maybe the weirdest thing about all this is that honestly, I feel completely normal. This has been my life for the last two years, and although it only will be for three more days, it still is.

One of the great cruelties of life are "the lasts". Having to square with the fact that things or people you love are gone and aren't coming back. But the blasted thing about it all is that I'm here at one of the great lasts, the end of my mission, and I'm constantly waiting for some grand feeling to sweep over me. I want everything to be super extra special because it's a last. My last district meeting, last weekly report, last testimony. Cough. Last weekly email. But sadly, I've had dozens of district meetings. I've born my testimony hundreds of times. These things will only be special when they're gone.

But that's okay. Although there's a weird bittersweet sensation hanging over everything I do, the biggest feeling I have is peace. I feel at peace with myself and with my mission. I have made countless mistakes and I know I could have done more. But I do not regret my mission. And I feel that the Lord is satisfied with the work that I've done. And so I am at peace.

And so after all that has been said, after so many eloquent stories and painstakingly drafted emails, all I want to say is that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in our day. I know that this is the true church. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And above all, I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me.

This is not a unique testimony. There are millions of people who have the same one. It's just another brick in the wall. But it's my brick. And I thank God every day for it.

So now it's on to the next great adventure. I will never forget what happened here, and I will carry shades of my mission within me literally forever. And I'll press onward. Life is a progression and although this chapter is about to close, it just means that it's time to start another. And that's a great gift.

See you soon.

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