First off, what a week. We were crammed with meetings for the new mission president, interviews with him, baptismal interviews, and rainstorms. And somehow we were blessed with a bunch of new investigators in the midst of it all.
On one particularly miracle-filled night, we were contacting along a road and a lady was standing outside her drink shop. We talked to her and she totally started proselyting her drink shop Chinese medicine stuff to us and somehow we ended up inside "helping" her do an assessment thing. The assessment thing told us all of our measurements so they could then tell us how to be more healthy (by buying their products of course;) and one of the measurements had Elder Olson being higher than me by one (I was a one, he was a 2 and the highest you could go was 3, but healthy was a 0) and she thought we eat a lot of meat because the more meat we eat, the higher that number is supposed to be. But my companion is vegan!!!! Hahahahaha oh my goodness. Needless to say, she lost a lot of credibility right then. It was hilarious in the moment. Elder Olson and I have SO many inside jokes with each other. Fun times.
I hate endings. We as humans naturally can't stand endings. That's such a glorious aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there really aren't endings involved! We just keep pressing forward to bigger and better things!
Sister Xie will be baptized this Friday at 7 pm (Brother Chen had some stuff come up and will need to push his date back a bit) and then will be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday during sacrament meeting. "Baptizing and confirming the people [we] teach is central to [our] purpose." BUT baptism is not an end!!! Rather it is a beginning. A beginning to what? A new life in Christ. A life with the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead. A start on the covenant pathway back to our Heavenly Father. Nephi teaches it so clearly:
"... for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate;"
While my two year, full-time service as a missionary is coming to a close, I am not ending anything. This is not the final chapter of a good book that ends up ruining the whole thing. This, much like baptism, is a gate. A beginning, putting me on the path for what the rest of life has in store for me. It's exciting! I'm a new man now!! Just like Sister Xie and everyone who enters the waters of baptism, I'm going through that gate with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.
"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen"