Last transfer is Shelley Idaho. The Baton is officially passed to her brother.
This is it! This is it? How can this be the end of my mission? How can I adequately describe how I feel right now? So many emotions and memories are coming to my mind. I have been working with my whole heart, praying that the time would slow down...it only sped up. But this experience has been better than I could have imagined, this has changed my heart. No literally my heart might be in the shape of New Jersey (so says my companeria's). But I think it might be, and it is going to break leaving.
But if I do have to leave this Garden State, this will be a week I will never forget.
Half the week I didn't sleep at my apartment. Here is a quick recap of my week (more to come in person)
We went on our Departing trip (I think I talked about that last week?)
Departing temple trip. The contrast from the hustle and bustle of NYC and the temple is night and day. Loved everything about it except for the traffic....
TAC day my last one and Heavenly Father has really been helping me hold it all together.
Saturday Temple AGAIN :) and we had a ward Trunk or Treat and Chili cook off, there was a HUGE turnout and 1/3 of the people there weren't members of the church :) Sy came with his trunk FULL of candy.
Sunday gave a talk in Sacrament meeting on obedience and had some pretty spiritual experiences. Going to miss this ward!
Back to Saturday because it was a very special day....
Saturday I became companions with Sister Pastores again! We drove with a senior couple into the City for Al's endowment. It was the most powerful and sweetest temple experience that I have ever had. Al was smiling and had tears in his eyes when we all sat in the Celestial room. This is not the rough and tough man we started to teach a year ago. The gospel has transformed him into the man Heavenly Father wants him to be. I sat there soaking in the spirit thanking my Heavenly Father for that tender mercy. I can testify that there is nothing sweeter than seeing someone change and embrace the gospel IN the Temple. Nothing. The temple is what it was all about. The Joy I felt at that moment was a glimpse of what is to come as I remain faithful. It was a piece of the Joy of eternal life. I have felt pieces of that joy before on my mission, but sitting with Al at the temple by far surpassed anything I have ever felt before. TRUE JOY. Many people have touched my heart here in NJ, but Al has a huge piece of it. It was a beautiful experience and I was so grateful I got to share it With Sister Pastores.
And so that is why it is going to be hard to leave. Dad you were right, it is harder to leave then to come. It is so much harder to leave. I have been subconsciously touching my name tag, savoring the days before it will not be physically visible for the world to see.
The past 18 1/2 months I have worn His name over my heart. I have shared His Gospel. I have been His hands..... I have felt His love. and every second has been such a blessing. It is ALL because of Him, our Savior, that this JOY is possible. It changes lives. Mine included. All of the work I have done is for Him. I am eternally grateful and indebted to Him for his love and sacrifice!
Elder Houghton, I'm passing the baton to you. Hurrah for Israel brother!
Now it is time for me to get transferred. This transfer is a little different. I will no longer be wearing a black name tag for all to see physically, but I will have one etched into my heart. I will continue to share his gospel...this time as a member missionary. I will still try to be His hands. This is going to be the hardest transfer of all, but with my Saviors help I am ready for the challenge. "For I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel of Christ...for it is the power of GOD unto everyone that believeth"