The Lord knows us and our potential. I was not at all reaching my potential before my mission; I was so unprepared to go. I had never read the Book of Mormon all of the way through, or any other scriptures, or read from Preach My Gospel; but I had a testimony that the atonement is real and a testimony of the plan of salvation. Having a testimony of both these things have molded me into who I am today. With that testimony I have been able to now have scriptures with doctrine to support everything that I believe, and it increases my testimony knowing that. I have been through the refiners fire many times and have been molded and pushed and shifted a lot of time by the Master to make me into who I'm supposed to be... though I'm still far behind.
I am not a perfect missionary, nor will I ever profess to be; but one thing I will say is that I always loved the people with all of my heart and that I served and tried my hardest to help them come unto Christ. I'm leaving the mission still imperfect, but I'm leaving it with a desire to become perfect and to progress each day.
I've only had to give a few final testimonies so far before I leave, and I cried like a baby in all of them because of the love I have for the Lords' work and the love I have for these people. I'm sad leaving my family, but I have joy knowing I will be greeted by my other family.
I thought of an analogy to describe my areas and companions, and I always tell missionaries to have this mindset. Just as a parent loves each child as much as the next... he or she loves them each individually in different ways because each child is different and has different strengths. To me that perfectly describes the three places I have served and the companions I have had... I have no "favorites" .... I love them each equally, but in such different ways.
The New Mexico Albuquerque Mission is my sacred grove. El Paso, Alamo, Magdalena, Socorro, and ABQ West are all my sacred grove. Just as Joseph Smith came out of the grove knowing that there is a God and Jesus Christ, that prayers work, that miracles continue to happen, that Christs' church has order and is true, that the Lord expects a lot from each one of us individually, and also the Lord can show us a vision for our personal ministry and what we must become ... the same I feel has happened as I have served here in the Lord's sacred vineyard.
I do not want to be writing this... I want to continue to serve and to help others come unto Christ. No one will truly know how I feel inside right now or how nervous I am to come home, but I do know one thing... I know that my Savior and my Mother have been by my side everyday since September 9, 2012 and will forever be after my mission. Everyday when I put my name tag on I remember my Savior as I see His name as well as my family name, and I always strove to make them both proud by the work I am doing.This scripture that Paul writes describes my feelings exactly...
2 Timothy 4 : 6-7.
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
I close this, my last epistle, with my testimony of eternal families. I know families are forever and that sacrifice brings blessings beyond measure. I know that my beautiful mother will continue her missionary work on the other side as I continue mine, and that we were foreordained to serve full-time missions at the same time. I leave these things with you with all of the Love and Faith that I posses. In the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Justin Williams Taylor
PS: Thank you for all of you who have read my blog and have supported me in doing so. Honestly, I'm shocked at how many thousands have read it and I pray that it helped you in some sort of way!