There you have it folks... My last sunday in August came and went. It's kinda whacko cuz during a mission you end up with a feeling like the last few months of you mission (for me it was June, July, and August of 2012) will never arrive. And somehow they just come and go without you even realizing it, and now all the sudden I'm on my last full week here... Yeah, I'm not even able to express what I'm feeling haha, but oh well... I'll just, I dunno ignore the feeling or something :P
Well how weird that my birthday is already this week. It's kinda funny cuz my last birthday out here was kinda a lame-o, and then with this swap in pdays, this one'll probably be another lame-o :D But, just the fact that it'll be my one-more-week mark already makes it rather memorable. That sure is crazy... I can't lie, I never felt like this part of my mission would come. Since when I was like 15 or something I always thought how un-imaginably long 2 years was, but now that it's coming to an end, 2 years doesn't seem like that long anymore. It's kinda fun now though to just think about how my mission was... I have journal entries for every single day, so that makes it even funner :) I was thinking a little bit as well, it sure is gunna be crazy to see how much I've changed. Obviously I've seen a LOT of ways that I've changed, but I feel like the end is just gunna be really easy to see the difference from that day when I got out of the car in Provo and the day I'll step off the plane in IF. It's making me realize just how perfect the Lord is though, the whole idea of sending young men on missions to make them come home as men is SUCH an inspired and perfect plan!!! I'm just so grateful for everything I've learned and all the things I've passed through. Including the trials and difficulties :)
This last week was really great cuz I had my LAST zone conference with the Area President of Brazil, President Costa. Man, what an inspired man... He looks a little bit like the white haired 3 Amigo (wow, my brain doesn't remember much more about movies or anything haha) but wow, he taught us incredible stuff. Once again that feeling of regret that I won't be able to stick around all that long to see the results of the changes happen hit me pretty bad, but it's helping me realize that even though MY mission is coming to an end, the work of the Lord will continue and progress as never before in this wonderful country and city. I wrote my notes in english this time, so I'll have a pretty good sized "bank" of thoughts to share with you guys after :) But it sure was a great experience. I saw a couple of my groupies from the MTC, and I think all of us are kinda hitting the crazy point where none of us can believe that our missions are on their last weeks.
Yesterday was a really special day, Felipe (the oldest son of that family that was baptized a couple weeks past) wore a white shirt and tie to church, and blessed the sacrament!!! I've already seen my recent converts pass the sacrament, but it was just something really really special to see him up there actually blessing it. His brothers will be passing the sacrament this next sunday, and it'll be an amazing sight to be my last sunday here in Brazil. Word is that he's gunna be called to be the bishop's second assistant as well... I think us missionaries begin to feel a little bit of a father's pride for a son when he receives the Priesthood cuz wow... It's so amazing seeing this family progress. Felipe has been faithfully going to seminary ever since he baptized, here it's only 2 days per week (you american kids be grateful that you get it AT school and 5 days a week! We are so lucky!) But this family is just showing more and more potential every minute :) I love them so much. Felipe is already getting more and more excited to serve a mission, so I'm just bursting with excitement.
Well, like I said last week, this feeling is getting weirder and weirder cuz this week will be even worse with the "lasts". I can't believe it but this'll be my LAST sunday in Brazil, my LAST testimony meeting, my LAST pday (funny how today would have been my last pday if the day hadn't changed haha) my LAST district meeting... Egah, it's just uncharted territory for me. This week is going to be the best week of my mission though, and I don't say that cuz it's the last, we just have some awesome potential for the work, and I'm so grateful that the Lord is giving me these opportunites until the very last minute. This gospel is true, this Church is the only true church on the earth. This work is truly led by God, and it is the best work on earth. Thank you all for your support and prayers, it's done so much for me these last 2 years. Until next week! And from there..... Well... Ya know. ;)
Hurrah for Israel!!!! -Elder Ballard