Thursday, July 29, 2010

Six Days Away

This morning, somewhere between waking up and actually being awake, I imagined myself stretching out of bed in the MTC. In April this idea felt so far from me, but now it's only six days away. I finished my shopping yesterday with four bottles of Children's Multivitamin Gummies and a family pack of floss from Sam's. Every time I turned from the shopping cart to the car to load things up, I thought, It's happening; I'm really going; No turning back. Today is my last day of work, and the goodbyes will begin. Then it will be my last Friday home, my last Saturday home, my last Sunday home, etc. This is so surreal. Time wont pause.

There are so many emotions flowing through me: excitement, nervousness, annnnd maybe a little hint of fear. This is the right decision, right? I can learn this language, right? I can be a mouthpiece for the Lord, right? No pressure.

There are little things that offer me peace and comfort in all of this:
-Feeling my mom gently push my hair out of my face this morning as I slept.
-Our dog Dudley following me around the house all morning.
-The nice Filipino man that mom and I met in Wal Mart who, after I told him I was going on a mission to the Philippines, held up his right ring finger to show us his own CTR ring. He taught me how to pronounce the Tagalog phrases I'd already looked up on YouTube, gave me a card to a local Filipino store, and said God bless you in his thick accent.
-The Filipino bug exterminator who told me with a laugh, "You're in for it," but followed that by explaining what a humble and beautiful people I will be serving. "Those people need God," he said.
-Nathan giving me the missionary bag he used on his mission.
-This letter from my mission president:

-The letters from my dear friend Jen Tanner, who reported to the MTC June 30 and relays all of its secrets me.
-Friends and family who have been supportive in so many ways.

I am grateful for these tender mercies.

My testimony is simple, but sincere and heartfelt.

I know that Christ is real, and that He lives. I have seen his hand in my life, stretching me constantly to become the person my Heavenly Father intends for me to become—through callings, through trials, etc. Christ makes up for those areas that I fall short in. With my report date approaching, I’ve had time to think of many things to be afraid of. Sometimes it almost feels like I am going to a completely different planet, where so many things will be new and strange to me. Satan has tried hard to convince me that I cannot do it—I cannot learn this new language; I cannot adapt to this new life; I cannot be who I need to be for these people. But I love my Savior and will do all I can to serve Him. I know that through my humility, faith, and diligence as a missionary, Christ will be there to make up my lack. I really have nothing to fear.

I know that God answers my prayers. So many times I have felt pain and estrangement, and after a simple prayer—sometimes just venting to my Heavenly Father in fragmented sentences—I have felt warmth and love. It gives me so much comfort to know that I am not alone in anything, that I am understood, perfectly. So long as I am obedient, I will have the Creator of the Universe on my side. What more can I ask for?

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true gospel. It is the same church that Christ himself organized when he lived on the earth. I have a testimony of the restoration. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I know these things because I’ve tested its principles and prayed about the teachings myself. The Spirit has confirmed to me time and time again that these things are true, and I can never deny it.

True happiness comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to know what I know, and I am excited to share these things with the people of the Philippines Cauayan Mission. I pray that in these next eighteen months, I will have the Spirit as my constant companion, that I will find those who are ready to receive this great knowledge, and that I will continually fulfill the will of our Heavenly Father.

I know this will be a priceless experience.

With all sincerity of heart,
Very soon to be Sister Aly Fort