Well everyone, looks like this is it! Unfortunately there just aren´t words to describe what I am feeling right now... and I myself am having a hard time believing it is real! As you can imagine I am overwhelmingly excited knowing that I will be seeing you all so soon! On the other hand I can´t help but feel an extreme sadness leaving behind the people here that I love so much! Needless to say it has been an amazing journey and I have loved every second of it!
Just one thought for today... Yesterday we had a special Stake Conference to reorganize the Stake Presidency here in Quilmes. We had the great priviledge of hearing from the Area President, Elder Arnold, as well as another visiting 70 Elder Alliaud. In a special session that we had for Investigators y new members before the actual conference began... Elder Arnold shared some thoughts that made me reflect a lot on my mission and the many experiences I have had during these 2 years. He based his thoughts in two parables found in Luke 15 in the New Testament... those of the lost sheep y the lost coin. He got very emotional as he talked about how we must care for and love those brothers and sisters who have wandered off in dangerous paths, because of their own choices (as the sheep), or because of the carelessness of others (as the coin). I have come to understand that it is impossible to do "too much" in trying to help those lost sheep find their way back to the fold, especially as I have come to understand and feel a portion of the love the Savior has for each one of his sheep.
I have also felt the incredible joy that comes as those lost sheep (or coins) are found y brought back to safety with much love y rejoicing. As he read the words of the parable, countless experiences flashed through my mind of the joy I felt as I saw people come to church for the first time, or after a long time of not going, the joy that I felt as people kept the commitments we left and saw the blessings that come from keeping the commandments of the Lord, seeing people put their faith in the Lord y recieving strength y guidance in difficult moments, and the joy that comes from seeing those people enter the waters of baptism and make that first eternally important covenant with our Heavenly Father y faithfully strive to live it in their daily lives. I have no doubt that the joy I felt in each case is a small reflection of the joy our Heavenly Father feels as he sees his children making those important decisions in their lives y recieving His blessings.
Short on time once again, so to wrap things up I just want to thank all of you one last time for all your support and prayers during these 2 years! I know that each one of you has been a great blessing y strength to me during my mission y that our Heavenly Father is aware of y answers your thoughts and prayers in behalf of his missionaries in all the world! I have no doubt that this is the Lords Marvelous Work y that he will continue to bless all his children throughout the world with the innumerable blessings of this restored gospel. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for the many blessings I have recieved y the many lessons I have learned in His service.
Elder Ian Wheelhouse