On April 3rd 2013 I stepped out of our big white Mormon Assault Vehicle onto the pavement of the MTC, pulled out my bags gave my mother a hug and walked into a whole new world. As I was led down the big MTC hall to where I would get my name tag I could've never imagined what was waiting for me. Now a little over 6 months later it has been amazing to see how quickly it is passing by.
So far I have been stationed in two different areas, in every sense of the word. From rich, white, Catholic, Strongsville, down to poor, rundown, black Youngstown it has been to me quite a strong lesson in how no matter who we are, are where we find ourselves we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, and His Gospel will help us no matter what circumstance or background we are from.
I have also learned much more to trust in the Lord and patiently wait for His timing and His way. The Lord has put each one of us in the exact circumstances we need to be in order for us to grow learn and come closer to Him. He will also help us to navigate right through the trials of life if we will put our trust in Him and hearken unto His counsels; if however we choose to not heed his instruction we will quickly find ourselves making much less headway in the treacherous waters of life than we would like or we should be.
This most recent week I have also had the opportunity to realize the difference between being baptized into the church and becoming converted. Conversion requires first having a testimony that can only be gained through the witness of the Holy Ghost after applying the principles of the Gospel, which must then be followed by consistently living that which you have gained a testimony of. Unfortunately if someone does not gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, or a living prophet they are simply baptized into the church and the often times in the long run persons simply baptized into the church become less active once the allure or storms of the world dampen the original reason for baptism. Even if the person baptized does remain active they will not be able to enjoy the full blessings of the Gospel until they do start the process of conversion.
I really cannot believe how fast my mission is progressing I want it to slow down it has definitely been one of the greatest experiences of my life and i never want it to end.