April 7, 2015
The time has come where I get to send my last email. The feelings and thoughts that keep running through my head as I either lay in bed at night, or walking in downtown Calgary, are thoughts that I cannot begin to express. I am nervous of going home. I am nervous to begin this new chapter in my life. I have been comforted by the Spirit that all is well. It is time to leave my home, as I did the first time, with faith and trust in the Lord. I am not going to tell you how the week has gone, as I will be able to tell you in person. I want to explain three principles that I have learned on my mission.
Trust in Him
Even from when I was a small kid, I heard about the stories of Jesus, and how He performed many miracles. I was told how this “man” loved me. That He cared for me. It was not until my mission where I truly learned on how much He cares. I have learned, not heard, that He was not just a man, but a God. That He walked on this earth 2,000 years ago for me.
In Mosiah 24, it talks about Alma and his people, how they were in bondage to Amulon. They had many tasks put upon their backs, or in other words, afflictions. They prayed to Heavenly Father for help, but Amulon threatened whoever prayed again, would be put to death. This is where the trust comes in. They did “pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.” (Mos. 24:12) Because the people acted on the Lord, they were blessed. Just a few verses later, the Lord gives them a promise and teaches them why we need to have a solid trust: “I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, even you cannot feel them upon your backs… I do [this] that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” How many times on my mission that I thought of this story when I was going through a hard time are too many too count. I can now stand as a witness that Jesus Christ will always help you through any trial. I stand as a witness that He will never leave anyone. I now stand in full trust that He will always pull through.
The Truthfulness of the Book of Mormon
I have taught many people on the street, on the door step, and even one time at a stop light, that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on this earth. My testimony of this book was always there. I have known, because of goodly parents; that the Book of Mormon “puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do in this life to gain peace…”
The knowledge of the Book of Mormon came through diligent study and specific questions that I asked in sincere prayer. I was told before I left my mission too not waste the precious time in the morning. Some of my most sacred experiences on my mission came through studying the Book of Mormon in that personal study time. I know that this book, that gave us our nickname, Mormons, is true. If anyone takes the time to read from the pages, have sincere questions to ask, they will know, as I do, that they can find answers to any question that they have. The Book of Mormon brings clarity and adds to the Bible.
The Principle of Desired Difficulty
In 2nd Corinthians 12:7-12, which happens to be one of my favourite scriptures, talks about weaknesses and why we need them. This is the Apostle Paul, and he is talking about one of his weakness that he has had his whole life. “…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…” He was given a weakness; it was like a thorn to him, something that hurt, and hard to get out.
He continues in verse 8, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” We learn that Paul was in constant prayer about this weakness. He wanted it to leave him. He prayed over it many, many times.
The Lord comforts His Apostle, by telling him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then testifies on why we need weaknesses, “…will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
When we have these thorns, wither they be in our flesh, or spiritual, they are for us to be made strong through Christ. I have seen my weaknesses, I have noticed the thorns that I have given me the most pain, but that is how I have come to know the Lord. I am grateful for the thorns He has given me. I have many more thorn bushes to pass through, but I know it is so I can stand as a witness of Him.
My mission is coming to an end. I am getting on a plane that is taking me back to Idaho in just a few days. I have always dreamed about this moment, how I would feel, and how I would react. Now that the time is here, I am acting and feeling different than I ever thought. It is time to come home. I feel like I have given my all.
The number one thing that I will take back from my mission is my testimony of my Saviour Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, I know that He is real, and I know that He is there. I will always be so grateful for the things that I have learned on my mission. I know that this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I will never leave, He will never leave me.
I can now stand up and shout hurrah! Hurrah for Israel!!!
Hurrah for Israel,Elder Browning III