Thursday, May 29, 2014

As I Have Loved You

Editors Note.  This will be the last post for Elder Case's mission as he comes home next week.

Dear Family,
This is the last email. We will not email next week. Please pray for me this week. I will need all help from heaven I can get.
On Saturday night, la familia Navarro had invited me over for a "little" goodbye party. It turned out that Michelle (the Young Women's President) had printed invitations and passed them out to the ward. It was special to feel the love of these people that I have served and loved so much. They had a time where they opened it up for anyone to speak about how I blessed their lives. Words can't describe the emotions that came. Then, Blanca Ortega was going to try and say something but couldn't because she was sobbing so hard.
On Saturday, we stopped by and had a very intense lesson with la familia Castillo. We shared the Road to Emmaus with them and promised them that in the breaking of the bread, Christ (or His church and truth) would be made manifest to them just like in the story. They came to church but got there right after the Sacrament. We will keep working with them.
Elder Johnson and I spoke in church yesterday. We had half an hour. He spoke about taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, covenants, and being an eternal family. It was so powerful. I can feel the Spirit now as I remember it. In between our talks, we sang, "Families Can Be Together Forever". I about lost it. The Spirit testified to every person in the audience that families can be eternal.
I then stood up and told of the experience I had in the temple doing sealings with y'all right before I came out. I said that my family is the number one way I have been able to feel of the Lord's love in my life and said that after that experience I left my family and felt alone but then the Lord blessed me with a new family. I talked about the commandment to "love one another as I have loved you" and then told stories about different members of the ward and how through them I have felt the love of God and how I have seen them feel the love of God. After both of those talks, about half the congregation was in tears and afterwards, Sharon (she is going to be baptized by her father Gerardo this weekend) walked up and amidst her uncontrolled sobbing said, "Thank you for fixing our family".
I know that we do have an eternal family. The Holy Ghost continues to witness that to me.
Saturday morning we went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. It was quite a special experience. There were ten recent converts there with their own family names. Gerardo and Giselle Matamoros on the way home and in a very reverent manner told of how they felt. They performed the work for their parents and some grandparents. Gerardo said that when he heard his mom's name for the baptism that he felt something powerful enter his heart. Giselle said that when she was confirmed for Gerardo's mother that she felt that she was present in the room.
These are experiences to never be forgotten. I can't imagine not being a missionary. Sharon is getting baptized on Saturday by her dad. She is so excited. Then on Sunday, Ovy and Nia are getting baptized. Elder Tittle will baptize Nia (his first) and I will baptize Ovy (my last). Please pray for them. They are so prepared and wonderful to teach.
I wish I could convey the feelings of the Holy Ghost as I write this email. God is kind. He is merciful. He lives and loves us. Each of you know how true the Gospel is and have set the example for me throughout my whole life. I will be eternally grateful for that and for this experience. I have come to know the Savior during these two sacred years and have felt of the abundance of His grace. I know that families can be together forever because I know that the sealing power has been restored to the earth. I know that Joseph Smith was the instrument that God used to restore His Church to the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is indeed Another Testament of Jesus Christ. And above all, I know that I am a child of my Heavenly Father who loved me enough to give His Only Begotten Son.
1. I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
2. I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows too late.
3. I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more.
As I now return to my earthly home and family, I know of the love that awaits me. I know of the happiness and joy and loving embraces that will accompany returning home. I can only imagine how it will be when we return to our heavenly home and parents.
I love you. The Gospel is true.
Elder Case

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