Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 82 - I am the evidence of my experiences...

Wow.  How have I come to this point?  It's something that's been creeping up and also coming so fast all at the same time.  My final email? My final pday? My final week?

I'm not entirely sure what to say.  So I'll start with the fact that I have already lost sleep over not seeing some of my most beloved people again.  That is the very reason I came to Mongolia in the first place.  The people. And they mean more to me than words can express.  The Christlike people I have met while I have been here have changed my life forever.  They teach me that I can be better.  And I'm forever indebted to them.  It's my hope that at some point in the time they changed my life I was able to do some good in theirs.  Heavenly Father is so good. When a good thing happens, many people are blessed.  I've seen that in my life.  All of the people I've come to love would probably say it's been a two-way street of life bettering, but I'd say I've come out as the most blessed.  

It's weird to think that the hopes I had for my mission are now memories.  I don't have many material evidences of the experiences I've had for the past year and a half besides a couple of souvenirs and pictures. I am the evidence of my experiences.  I have a stronger testimony of my Savior and His restored Gospel that is on the Earth today.  I have seen, with my own eyes, the changes that the Gospel makes.  I've learned to receive personal revelation and listen to and understand how God answers my questions.  I've seen His hands in every moment of my mission, making the most beautiful experiences that were custom made for me to see His love.  I've felt that love for others I've served.  I can't help it.  

I learned to make the last of the main Mongolian foods on Monday night.  Our member has made that her quest before I go home, and it'll make my life so much better.  Sometimes the food is weird here, but I know I'll miss it.  

On Tuesday night, we went to institute with our investigator, who is lovely in every way.  Institute was so good. And so many people I loved whispered my name during the class to get my attention.  I love them all. It was like a spiritual feast and a reunion!  

I learned ballet from a little six year old while her grandma made calzones for dinner.  Turns out I'm not as flexible as I was when I was six.  But I can still do some of the moves.  The six year old was impressed, so I'm good with it.  

The sweet grandma we visit regularly read the scripture we shared about hope, and she said, "We have hope because we know God!  We need to work, though.  With hope we can go with God."  She's not understandable 99% of the time, but I sure did understand that.  Heavenly Father wanted me to know that.  That's why He let me understand.  See what I mean? These people are top notch!

It was my last Sunday yesterday.  They had ward conference, and Elder Toronto of the Asia Area Presidency presided.  Then they had me bear my testimony.  No pressure.  The members of the stake leadership were also there, which included my lovely former companion and her new husband.  And all these people I love so much!  As the sacrament was passed to me by Munkhgerel's husband, I turned to him and he suggested I give a cup of sacrament water to the little boy who toddled up to me at the piano during the prayer.  So I offered it to him.  He looked up with these big brown eyes and looked so angelic.  Heavenly Father taught me about how I've been using my last year and a half offering the Savior's love and sacrifice to all.  And I couldn't help but feel grateful that my companion's husband gave me the chance to give the water to the little boy.  The lessons in Sunday School and Relief Society were given by Munkhgerel and her husband. They may have been the best lessons I've heard in church.  Not that I'm biased at all.  But they talked about God's love and knowing us personally.  And overcoming fear by focusing on God's love.  Perfect for me.  Straight from heaven.  Everyone came up afterward to wish me well and hug me.  It was pretty sad for me.  But at the same time, I'm just so grateful that I met them at all!

This week is going to be great.  Going out for a girls day today and then spending my last day in my area tomorrow visiting people.  Thursday I'll have a farewell dinner and then get on a plane on Friday.  I can't believe it!  It's been wonderful.  Some of the best 19 months of my life.  Some of the times were hard and trying, but the 10% of difficult was swallowed up in the 90% good.  It's opened my eyes to see how much Heavenly Father is mindful of me.  

And as I come home, I can't help but think of Elder Holland's talk about good things to come.
I know that as hard as it is to say these goodbyes, I'm also looking forward to a great future. The good things can't stop here!  And they won't!  Because Heavenly Father loves us so much, and our purpose on this earth is to have joy!  

With that, I love you all! I am grateful for the experiences I've had which have changed who I am.  And I look forward to seeing you soon!  I love my mission!  I love the Lord!  See you soon!

Sister Bottorff

With my companion in the rain

I made buuz - I can be taught!

Archery is a major sport here - and it's fun!

Some more pictures of this place I've come to love...


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