Monday, February 16, 2015

[2/16/2015] Week 102: Last Word

Dear Martin family [and all within the sound of my voice],

Well, here I am at the tail-end of my mission.

It's been an incredible experience and a humbling opportunity to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and the children of our Heavenly Father.

I find it difficult to determine how I "should" feel at this point, but I can tell you how I do feel.

I feel extremely grateful that I have been permitted to offer up two years of my life as a sacrifice to my Heavenly Father. I feel humbled that although my efforts weren't perfect, I still feel the Holy Ghost witness that I have touched and brightened the lives of many here in Washington. I feel awe-inspired that so many miracles have occurred and that I have been granted eyes to see and ears to hear (Matthew 13:9-16) the great voice of God in my work.

I feel that God loves me and that I love Him. I feel that He wants desperately for His children to recognize the love He has for them, that they might learn to love Him and keep His commandments. I feel that God loves us so much that He has given us a perfect plan, a perfect Savior, and a perfect organization on earth today to pave a path for our return to Him. I feel that as I continue to prepare by exercising faith, repenting, honoring covenants, and seeking after the fruits of the Holy Spirit, I will grow and progress and return to my Father in Heaven prepared to answer to Him for my labors in this life.

I feel that the Book of Mormon is a powerful tool in helping others find true and lasting and substantial faith Christ, for it has served that purpose for me, a foundation of testimony, a springboard for revelation, a well of peace and strength. I feel that God speaks to me through His Holy Ghost to inspire me as to how I might best serve and inspire His children.

I feel honored and humbled to bear the Holy Priesthood of God, and to have borne for two years specific authority to unfold and bear witness of the plain and precious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I feel overwhelmed and yet refreshingly excited for the next phase of my life that will begin shortly. I feel confident that as I keep the commandments of God, He will bless and keep me and will provide me with the guidance and experiences I need to be successful.

I feel sad that here in a just a few days, I am to leave a land that I love. I have developed a deep fondness for Washington and the people that live here. I have grown close to many members of the Church, investigators, recent converts, and especially missionaries with whom I have labored diligently and whom I have striven to uplift, encourage, inspire and bless.

I feel a deep love for and satisfaction from missionary work and I look forward to maintaining that spirit throughout my  lifetime, that I might serve God as a "city...set on an hill" (Matthew 5:14) . I feel that our mission hymn describes the great urgency and divine purpose of missionary work best:

Brightly beams our Father's mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

("Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy", LDS Hymnbook, No. 335)

We were sent to this mortality to experience darkness and light, trial and triumph, bitterness and sweetness, misery and joy. In this modern, darkening world, children of God suffocate daily in sin and sorrow. We toil and sink in the murky waters of iniquity and crumbling values, and there is only one way to land: the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the lighthouse, He is the way home, He is the source of Life. And He asks that we as His covenant children labor with Him in directing those who are yet lost or wandering to the truth, to liberty and freedom from bondage. Those who live and strive yet without a fulness of knowledge of the true gospel of Christ need His help to experience true happiness, and He asks for our help in guiding them to Him. Those who invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel are a lower light on a darkened shore to lead people home to their Father, who is the source of all light, life, and love, and a shining beacon of hope in the midst of an ever-darkening mortality.

I love being a missionary!

I shall see you all soon!

With love and deep gratitude,

Elder Cole Austin Martin
Washington Everett Mission
2/2013 - 2/2015

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