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Monday, July 13, 2015

The last E-mail from SA 7-13-2015

Elders Near Simonstown, SA viewing Penguins

Elder Truscott and  Elder Vanfleet

Elder Truscott and Elder Castro

Last Hike up Table Mountain at Sunrise

I can’t believe that this is my last email home. I am feeling very strange about it all to be honest. I have had a tough week thinking that it’s going to be over. It just hits me really suddenly sometimes and I get really sad about it. I don’t even know how to describe my emotions.
I'm writing a bit later this morning because today we woke up super early (4 am) and hiked Table Mountain before the sun went up, so that I could watch the sunrise onto Cape Town. It was a super awesome time.
It was something that I wanted to do, and since it’s only today and next week left, today it was :) I have some pretty sweet pictures from the last week. Last Monday we went to an area where there are penguins, so we have some pics around the penguins there, and then it was a super nice drive home in the evening so we took some pretty sweet pics as we came over one of the mountains. And then of course the pics from this morning are super awesome. We went with the Khayletsha Elders, so my friend Elder Mariner (not sure if you remember, but I was around him when I was in Sada) was there and it was a nice time! Cold as can finger actually split from the cold I think, ha ha, but it was worth it to see the city from there in the morning. I guess all I will say about our week was that it was really nice.
Wednesday I was with Elder Vanfleet on exchanges, and then on Friday I did my last exchange ever. I  was in Paarl with Elder Castro. Elder Dangerfield and I worked hard and we had an amazing weekend. Gave out 3 baptismal dates on Saturday, and are teaching some people that are really doing well. The story of Bellville has just been trying to improve. We have been working in the area hard since I got here, and I'm super happy with the progress we've made in the Bellville area.
I guess I won’t email you next week huh? cause you will be on the plane this time, so I was planning on telling you my two year experience next week. But it makes sense that I'll send it today.
The past two years, everyone says that they are the best 2 years of their life. I would agree, it has been the best 2 years for my life as well.
I look back on the person that I was before I came here and had these experiences and I feel like a totally different person. It’s a really weird feeling. I know you said that among the list of my converts was you, but somewhere along the way I was as well. I don’t know how to put the last 2 years of my life into words. It’s really hard for me actually. I have had amazing experiences that I know have matured me and helped me realize what is important. Out of it all I have learned so much. I truly hope that Heavenly Father is proud of the work that I've done. I guess it’s normal for everyone to think what they could have done better.
I have changed, and I have learned that having an Eternal Family is so important. It’s something I took for granted back home. But being here where family problems and broken homes are the normal has opened my eyes to how blessed I have been in my life. Not only with the circumstances of our family, but that I have such a great mom and dad and siblings. I'm still learning and trying to fully understand the eternities, but what I do know is that God is our Father in Heaven. I think the whole "testing the promises of God" thing that came into the mission a while back exploded my testimony of the fact that God is mindful of us and will magnify our righteous efforts in what we do. I was pretty skeptical of the whole thing when it came out. I won’t lie....but when I started doing it in Sada I fell in love with it and
it has grown my faith in my Heavenly Father so much. I know that missionary work is His work. Why else would he help us accomplish every goal that we take to him?
I have found so much joy here in South Africa. I don’t really understand how or why, and it still blows my mind how when I see or call people that I served almost 2 years ago they get so excited and how they miss me. I don’t know. I didn’t do anything special. Some of God's greatest children have hard lives, and I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for the people here who have loved me and helped me so much. I can’t wait for you to meet just a few of them.
Through the hard way at times I have learned that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I came on mission and I didn’t really know my purpose or why I was here. That was a bummer. But I know that only Jesus Christ could have helped me change. I have changed so much.
Obedience brings blessings and happiness. It’s the only way. I probably learned that lesson the biggest over the past 2 years. That if you want to be happy, just be obedient.
You asked about my favorite scripture, I would have to think about it. But I can tell you that my two favorite people in the scriptures are Paul the Apostle and Alma the younger. They are two missionaries who changed a lot to be how they were. Mission hasn’t always been easy. It’s been pretty tough mentally (not really physically besides watching any muscle that I had disappear, ha ha). I've learned that Satan loves to play mind games with me. Maybe I'm mentally weak or something, but he gets me every time. I love the people, and it’s incredibly hard when you get an SMS telling you not to come anymore from a family that you really want to have these blessings. You have to learn how to get along with many people. And through it all it’s taught me that you should enjoy every moment, because the past two years, as long as it seems sometimes, went so fast. It still hasn’t fully sunk in that I'm almost done. I can’t even begin to tell about the great experiences and all the hard times, but I am so glad that I told dad while driving in the truck that I think I should serve a mission. It’s been a life changing and improving experience for me. One that I'm very grateful for. I feel like I just scratched the surface of what I've gained here, but I still have lots to learn and improve on. I can go on and on. But I guess how I sum it up : I love my mission. I am terrified to leave because I absolutely love what I'm doing. I know that Jesus Christ is there to help us change and that He and our Heavenly Father love us. I am very grateful the gospel in my life, and for the time I've had to share it.
The only thing that I can think that you NEED to know before you get on that plane to end this wonderful experience, is how grateful I am for you and everything you have done for me mom. I love you so much. I can’t wait to hug you and tell you all about these 2 years in person :) I love you.
Elder Truscott

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