This time next week I will be home. We will board a bus Tuesday night and arrive in Manila Wednesday morning. This is made interesting by the fact that no one has used the bus to or from the mission in over a year. Everyone has been flying to and from Cauayan on a 30 minute flight, avoiding a dangerous and grueling 12 hour bus ride. We got a call Saturday morning from President Rahlf informing us of the change in plans and that we will have the opportunity to ride the bus again.
BUT, on the other hand we get to go home. I suggested we rebel against the bus by not going home, but I don’t think anyone else was with me.
It has been almost 25 months since I left my family to serve a mission. Over the last two years I have learned a lot. That’s an understatement. I have seen, heard, and felt a lot. Hopefully I have learned something from all of it, and changed for the better because of it. I couldn't tell you how I’ve changed, you would have to judge that for yourselves, but I can tell you a simple truth I have learned; God loves everyone. Even me. Even you. And because he loves us, he put us here and prepared a way for us to reach him again.
Recently, I was sitting on a van traveling between San Manuel and Roxas beside a man who expressed the utmost respect for us as missionaries. But, he also told us that we were wrong. That religion can’t save us, only our relationship with God can save us. It seemed as if he was trying to provoke me but I told him, “That’s exactly right. Religion can’t save us." I have seen so many people that have been baptized into many different churches assuming that one of them has to be right, and that will save them in the end. That’s not how it works. Not at all.
He was right. He just didn't understand his relationship with God. Jesus Christ said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It is as simple as that. That is our relationship with God. Being baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can’t save anyone. It’s living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, baptism is part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it is merely a step of repentance. Not just a way into another church.
I know that the Gospel is true, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ restored by he himself through the prophet Joseph Smith on earth. We, as people, may not be perfect, but the Gospel is.
Thank you for everything from everybody.
Mahal ko kayo,