Friday, January 23, 2015

12/1/14 I did it!

Dearest Family and Friends,
I decided to send one last email! I can't believe that it is my last. It still doesn't really feel real and I'm not sure that it really will until I get off that airplane and see my family! I DID IT! I can't believe it. Feels like a dream.
It has been quite the week though. Full of goodbyes. tears. excitement. reflection. nervousness. Just about every single emotion. Overall it was a really great last week though. I had one of the best proselyting days on my whole mission. Extended lots of baptismal dates. Attended church in Camalig! Saw more people in the Morada family be baptized. Watched an adorable Pilipino primary program. Experienced POURING RAIN one last time. Took my first hot shower in 18 months (without flip flops on). Had my departing interview. Bore my testimony to my batch. Packed my bags. And got no sleep. Don't worry there will be a lot more detail in 3 days!
I just wanted to thank all of you for your support during my whole mission. Even though I have hardly been able to find the time to write you all, I am eternally grateful for all the love I have felt on my mission. I have felt the prayers and support coming from both sides of the viel. I am so blessed to have such a huge support system. I can hardly wait to see all of you! I know that when I come home you will see a different Mary. But it will be a good thing. All the experiences I have had and people I have met have changed my life for the better. I will miss it everyday. The Philippines is such a special place and the Pilipino people are even more special. Genuine, thoughtful, humble, and happy. I will miss their smiles. I know that Heavenly Father loves me because he gave me the chance to serve these people. My family has gotten a whole lot bigger over the last 18 months.
I know with all of my heart that this is the only true church on the face of the earth. I know that Heavely Father loves all of us and that we are truly His children. His presence is real in our lives. We can become like him if we live the gospel. This is the only path that leads to true and lasting joy. This is the path that leads to eternal life. Because of my mission I know what I have to do to get there and to help others get there. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. His atonement has changed me and it has changed the people around me. I can't express how thankful I am for His Atonement in my life. We can't get back to our Heavenly Father without it. I know that missionary work is God's work. I have seen His hand each day in my mission and I have seen miracles. Things that could not happen if it were not for Him. I know that God puts people into our lives for a reason. We are all brothers and sisters and we are to help each other. I love all of my brothers and sisters here on earth. I love my mission. It is going to kill me to remove my name tag, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and that it is time to take the mission home. Harrah for Israel!
I love you all so so so much! See you all so so so soon!
-Sister Gardner

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