My Last Email from the Brazil Natal Mission – February 17, 2013
Sister Kim Johnson
I left for my mission to do one thing: invite others to come unto Christ. However, I had no idea that I would be the one to become so much closer to Christ. I would like to share some of the most precious things I learned:
Service. After all of the trials, beating, and crucifixion, Jesus Christ did not stop serving when he left this life. He kept working. He went into the Spirit World and organized the missionary force. At home, I had always thought that after a hard day's work I deserved a rest and time to myself. However, I learned that in the mission, this time doesn't really exist. When I felt I had done enough, I learned to leave my comfort zone and serve. "O filho do homen não veio para ser servido, mas para servir." (The son of man didn't come to be served, but to serve.)
Scripture study. When I first got to the mission field, I didn't understand what anyone was saying. And no one understood me. I lived in a house with only my Brazilian trainer who didn't speak a word of English. I felt very alone and very far from those I could communicate with. So, I turned to the scriptures. Nephi, Ammon, and Joseph Smith became my best friends. Their stories emboldened me and gave me the courage to work hard and move forward with faith in the mission field. I am so grateful for the people who sacrificed so much for the Church of Jesus Christ and wrote down their records for others to learn from. I developed a true love for the scriptures.
Prayer. Later as a senior companion and Sister Training Leader, we had lots of new people arriving and the missionaries with more experience than me left. I became one of the "older" missionaries in the mission and the one people turned to for advice. The only problem was that I encountered many situations where I didn't know how to act. Luckily, I knew that my Heavenly Father had all of the answers. He truly knows that heart of everyone we see and work with. I turned to Him for help during my moments of decision. I testify that He hears and answers our prayers. Our prayers can be eloquent or scrambled thoughts sent to Him. He loves us. He wants to communicate with us.
The Commandments. I became converted to the commandments. I always knew the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity were important, and I would be blessed for keeping them. Nevertheless, I didn't realize HOW important. Drunk fathers beating on their wives, mothers separated from children, knife marks embedded in walls, and many tears were all witnesses to me that God's commandments are non-negotiable. Man cannot make moral what God has declared immoral.
I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives. I know that he lived and died for us. I know that this is His true church. I testify that His church was restored by a living prophet, and that we have a prophet who leads and guides us today. For these things, I am eternally grateful. The lessons I've learned on a mission are irreplaceable. I thank you so much for all the love and support you've given me these 18 months!