Hello one and all... for the last time!
Let me tell you... it's been a crazy but wonderful week here in colorful Colorado. It's been snowing almost constantly and I'm very excited to come home to 60 degree weather!
On Tuesday I was on my last exchange out of the area with the Lakewood Sisters, Sisters Voss and Beaman. Sister Voss will actually be getting switched to Spanish and will be taking my place in Denver North with Sister Moody so I'm excited for that! Then, on Wednesday I was in the area on exchanges with Sister Chandler. I love her way too much! It was fun for us to be back in our area again and it felt just like old times. We were able to visit a lot of people and see a lot of miracles! Thursday was Thanksgiving. Holidays are always wonderful. We got to have two dinners with two of my favorite families, the Munoz's and the Leiva's. The food was great and the company was wonderful. It was a day full of visiting and lifting those that are struggling. I couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving. Friday was my last weekly planning! It felt weird to plan for my area that I knew I would be leaving. But, we started some goodbyes and just enjoyed the weekend. We saw SOO many miracles on Saturday. This was my last real, complete day of proselyting and the Lord definitely blessed us unconditionally.
Saturday we had been praying very specifically to find 5 new investigators in the 2 hours we had before we had to leave to drive to dinner. We prayed, and walked out of our apartment. As we were walking to the car I saw a girl. The spirit told me to go and OYM her and talk to her. I ignored the prompting, thinking that she probably only spoke English and wouldn't become a new investigator for us (yes... i'm still repenting for that thought!) She kept walking, and again the prompting came... GO TALK TO HER! (The spirit was almost screaming at me at this point). I then felt so strongly that I needed to share the Christmas Initiative, He is the Gift, with her. Not to ignore a prompting TWICE, I yelled at Sister Moody to open the car so I could get a He Is The Gift pass along card. By the time I got a card and got out of the car, she had turned the corner and was too far for me to run to. I told Sister Moody that I felt we needed to talk to her and she said, "Well, we could follow her in our car?" Haha... needless to say, we got in and started driving. When we started to near the girl, I rolled down the window and started talking to her in English. She brokenly said, "No speak English." Prayer answered. Sister Moody stopped driving and I got out and met Concha. She is from Mexico and has just recently come to the states. She has a family and children and was walking down the road in the snow in a hoodie, jeans and vans. I shared the Christmas message with her and parts of the first lesson. When I asked her if we could come back and share the HITG video, she was more than willing and gave us her address and phone number. We said a prayer and I testified to her that I knew this gospel would change her life. I got back in the car. We kept driving and Concha kept walking. Already one new investigator found and we hadn't even arrived at our destination yet.
I learned 2 things from this experience: 1. Follow the promptings of the spirit the FIRST time so you don't have to awkwardly follow someone in your car, AND 2. The Lord's timing is perfect. We then kept driving and did the same thing to another lady named Ivette. Almost the EXACT same situation (except we turned the car around to go and talk to her haha) Another new investigator. We then went to the Wolff Apartments and found a family of 3 and 2 other new investigators to make a total of 7. Prayers answered and lesson learned. No matter where you are, what you are doing, whether you are a full time missionary or not, the Lord always places people in your life to share the gospel with. We first must be worthy of the prompting, and then we must ACT on it right away.
Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about the 3 things I have learned on my mission that can help us to stay on the path to eternal life: 1. Remember the Savior in EVERY moment 2. Repentance is a necessary part of mortality and 3. COVENANTS bind us to our Heavenly Father. I felt so inspired to share these three simple concepts with the members on my last Sunday as a missionary. The talk went well, followed by a great musical # from our district, and a wonderful day of faith-promoting goodbyes.
I can't even hardly believe that this mission is over. It has been hard. It has been exhausting. It has been disappointing at times. But more than anything, it has been the most joyful, spiritual, and rewarding thing I have ever done. I can't even begin to explain the smallest part of which I feel, but I know that the Lord has tailored this mission to ME. I know that He knows me perfectly and that he placed every companion, member, leader, mission president, and person that I have met in my life for a reason. He knew exactly the type of success I would need to experience in order to grow. He knew exactly the type of trials that would humble me. And He KNEW that I would undoubtedly become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ in this past year and a half. If I learned nothing else on my mission, I know that this is the only true church on the face of the earth. There is not one other that can compare to the true doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I will live and die holding these teachings to my heart and feel so privileged to have personally ministered among the people of Colorado. I know that I have been called of God to come to this specific place at this specific time in my life. And that has completely changed eternity. Missions are not temporal; they are eternal. Serving as a full time missionary has not only helped in the process of changing others, but it has completely changed ME. It has changed my nature. It has changed how I view mortality and the value of life here on earth. This is a probationary time of learning. I am so grateful for the past year and a half I have had to learn directly from the Lord as His servant and to "[put] off the natural man and [become] a saint."
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." -Mosiah 3:19
I have loved this mission I have served. It is not MY mission. It is the Lord's. I know that I was chosen to serve Him. And will continue to do so willingly for the rest of my life and eternity. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it is the most powerful book on the face of the earth. If you have not read it, PLEASE do. It will not only change your life, your family, your children, but it will change your heart. It will bring you closer to Jesus Christ. And who of us doesn't need heavenly guidance?
I love the Restored Gospel. I know that Joseph Smith was called as prophet to restore the basic truth of Christ's teachings. I know that we have a living prophet today that leads and guides us. We need him. We need the guidance of the Lord. We need the power of God on the earth today. And that can only be found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thank you for all of your love and support over the past year and a half. I am grateful for each and every email, letter, package, prayer, and thought that has been performed on my behalf. Most importantly, thank you to my family for their endless love and support. I could not have completed my mission without you. I will see you soon!
May the Lord continuously bless you and pour out His goodness upon you.
Hermana Erica Pierce