February 13, 2017
This is my last email home...it still does not feel very real to me. Tims has gone faster and faster, especially this last week. We worked so hard, every moment of every day we squeezed out every last drop we could. I am really proud of Sister Kitahara and I for it. Speaking of which, Sister Kitahara is being transferred to Modesto and my old companion Sister Talbot, who I trained, will be coming to Mountain House and training! So that was exciting to hear. But we really made this week count, I feel a lot of peace about how I served and how I ended. This week was one of the best on my mission, we taught so much. Doors were opened to us that haven't been previously.
One miracle was we got back in touch with our friend Monique. It has been some months and we had a really powerful heart to heart. She wants to get back to her relationship with God, and has felt an emptiness without us teaching her so frequently. I am really happy to see her turning to God more, I know her well and I just know it will help her be more happy and peaceful in life. We also taught another one of our investigators again this week- which was miracle in and of itself because we didn't have an appointment with him planned. He read the Book of Mormon and had so many good questions. He loves the Bible and has a beautiful testimony of it already, as he has been reading he said he feels like everything he already knows is being enhanced and strengthened. The footnotes from the Book of Mormon to the Bible are super helpful to him. The most important part he read he said was in the introduction where everyone is invited to pray to God themselves and ask if these really are His words. He is anxious to continue to learn more, and has an open heart. Lesley's lesson this week was powerful as well. She has become very close with one of the other sisters in our ward who was just called as the new ward missionary. Callings to serve in the church are inspired and from God, my testimony of that has been strengthened. Lesley came to church and with her kids too, they had a great time. We were so happy to have them there with us. It was the best last sunday ever. There were many other lessons that were special to us this week. I felt very blessed to have many opportunities my last week to teach and bare testimony of Jesus Christ.
One fun thing that happened this week was that we got to go to the Lunar Festival (also called Chinese New Year). Mountain House has a huge population of Korean, Chinese, and Filipino people, so this was a very big deal here. I learned a lot by going and met a lot of really wonderful people with amazing stories to tell. A lot of people moved directly to America from their home countries in the past years because of many different circumstances, it was inspiring to hear some of those stories. Sister Kitahara says in Japan they don't celebrate this holiday, but she still felt at home with all of the Asian culture around. The cultural diversity of Mountain House has really enriched my life and opened my heart in many important ways. It has been a huge blessing for me and will continue to be as I reflect on these experiences here.
This past time has been one causing me to really reflect as I end this phase and move into the next in my life. There has been an indescribable growth in my heart the past 18 months. I am eager to implement all of this into my life as I continue to serve, just in a different way. The one part of my testimony I want to share in this last email is that Heavenly Father's plan for each of us is always the best one. He knows us best and He loves us most. We can trust in that love even in the midst of disappointment, failure, heartache, illness, or any trial. Times when we think to ourselves, how is this out of love? I have such faith that if we could even catch a glimpse of His plans for us we would sacrifice anything- go through anything- to get where He plans for us to be. He only does things to help us, He is our Perfect Loving Father. I bet when we meet Him face to face one day, we will be overwhelmed with His mercy and have endless gratitude for His perfect wisdom in directing our lives- all of the seen and unseen blessings, all of the answered and seemingly "unanswered" prayers. How different would our lives be, how much more joy would we feel, if we could all keep that truth closest in our hearts? One of the scriptures that speaks deepest to me is in Matthewwhere Jesus Christ tells us "for whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." There is freedom in letting go and putting our hopes, dreams,goals- our whole lives- in His hands. We can always trust Him. He loves us. He will do better things with our lives, than we ever could. We can be so much more with His plan and with His will. There is peace when we stop trying to plan the perfect life and just turn it over to His hands. There are a lot of things about my mission and on my mission that happened "not according to my plan". Things that were even opposite of what I was l pleading to Him for. But I am so grateful for the answers He gave me, that were not always the one I had hoped for, but the one that I needed most, and would make me happier in the end. I am grateful that Heavenly Father loves me enough to give me His plan, instead of mine. He makes me so much more than I could ever even hope to be on my own. I know that to be true, and that is why the mission vision here means so much to me. It is, "We are One with the Savior in doing the Will of the Father". It's not just a mission vision, it is my life vision. I hope to always be working on being one with the Savior in doing Heavenly Father's will for me. And I know Jesus Christ is the only way I can do the Father's will, because on my own I do not have the strength or capabilities, but with Him I can do anything.
all my love,
Sister Eleanor Neeley