Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Day 706 - The Last Goodbye

Well.. I have been sitting here for quite a while trying to decide what to say in my last email. The only thing that comes is an extreme feeling of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the time I have been able to spend in this beautiful country over the past two years. I already miss Sweden so much. This mission has been exactly what I needed. The experiences that I have had has shaped me into the person I am today. I have worked my hardest and tried my best and I regret nothing. It is extremely difficult to put into words the feelings that I have right now. I am so grateful for the chance the Lord has given me to represent him and to testify of his gospel. I love my Savior with all my heart. 

This week was full of member appointments as we are trying to get the Christmas Initiative going in the branch and due to the fact that Elder Gentry and I are leaving. We also had a zone conference which was great and then we also had a ward Christmas party on Saturday. So it was a full week! We were also able to to meet a few of our investigators. 

Zone conference was great. It was Christmas themed and there was also a lot on Faith. I learned a lot that I am going to be able to take home with me and apply in my life. I think the highlight of the conference was sharing my farewell testimony. I felt the spirit so strong as I stood up there in front of all the younger missionaries and shared a final testimony with them. What was even cooler was being able to do that with a few of my brothers that I started this journey with. I love them so much and they will always be my friends. It was so good to see so many missionaries and say goodbye to them. 

On Thursday we went to see an older couple named the Holmdahls. We ate some delicious pasta with them and shared the Christmas message with them and they loved it! I'm gonna miss them! Later that day we were able to travel to Enköping to visit a family named the Frid's. They are the best! Malte is from Sweden and Cynthia is from Peru but lived in Utah for awhile. They made us the best Peruvian food I've ever had! It was so good. We had a great time with them and their daughters and shared the Christmas message with them as well. Gonna miss that family!

On Friday we were able to meet Ahmadraza! And that is the good news of the week my friends! We pulled a few strings and now Ahmadraza is actually going to be baptized today! I can't begin to tell you how ready and willing this guy is. He constantly bears his testimony to us and is so humble and ready to follow God. He is basically here on his own and has no idea where his family is or if they are alive. He was separated from his family at the border of Iran when they and other refugees ran in different directions as they were being shot at. He is  from Afghanistan and fled here to Sweden a little over a year ago. His story is so sad and it is so crazy the amount of trials and to hear what he had to go through to get here. He loves the gospel and Jesus Christ so much and has really noticed the change that the gospel and living the commandments have made in his life. He keeps telling us how much better his life is now that he has found the church. He loves Thomas S. Monson and he loves the Book of Mormon. He calls the church "the Church of Happiness" haha he is the best. Anyways, he will be getting baptized tonight! Hurrah for Israel! That will be a good time. Unfortunately, I can't put any pictures of the baptism on the internet but I can for sure show you the pictures if we meet up when I get back! He is so excited though and it is going to be a great way to end my mission. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

On Saturday we played innebandy (floor hockey I think) for the last time :( I was also able to play a little ball with the stake president, Jakob Hagman. He is the best! Later that day, we had the branch Christmas party! It was such a good time! We missionaries were forced to do a few musical numbers haha so that was fun. The Christmas party ended with a small snowball fight with little Styrofoam snowballs that were used for decorations between the little kids in the branch and the missionaries. It then grew to a giant snowball fight outside with all the little kids, the missionaries, and a few members in the branch. It somehow then turned to me vs. everybody else which was a ton of fun hahaha we all got so soaked. Definitely a snowball fight to remember! 

I was also able to meet and say goodbye to Sorie on Saturday. It was hard to say goodbye to such a close friend, but he is in good hands. The gospel has truly changed that man and it has been such a blessing to work with him. I am going to keep in good contact with him for sure! Elder Harrell and his new companion will take good care of him. It's gonna be tough to also say goodbye to Elder Harrell. I love that kid so much. I am thankful for all that he has taught me and for being one of my closest friends. It has been an honor to serve with him and he is going to kill it over the next 20 months! Love you brother!

Well this is it folks, after two years of writing letters, this is the last one. I don't know how to feel. My stake president was 100% right when he told me that the tears I have going home will exceed the tears I had when I left on my mission. I have tears in my eyes as I think about leaving this country and these people. I love Sweden and I love the people of Sweden with all my heart. I will never forget the memories and experiences that I have had here. I love my mission so much. Because of my mission, I am the man that I am today. And above all, I love my Savior Jesus Christ. He is my Redeemer and he suffered and died for me. I know this now better than I ever have before. I love him with and my Heavenly Father with all my heart and I am determined to serve them to the end. Again, I cannot put into words the gratitude that I have to my Father in Heaven. I have been so blessed to be able to come here and to serve Him. I am thankful for all that He has taught me over these past two years. But what I think I am most grateful for is that He has taught me to love as He loves. If I could describe my mission in one word, it would be love. Love for God, love for the work, and love for others. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I can truly say that after being here for two years focusing on others, I have truly learned to love. And I have been privileged enough to see others through just a glimpse of our Heavenly Father's eyes. I think that is the key. Seeing others though God's eyes. When we do this, we begin to develop a true and lasting love for others. You start to care less about your self and you start to care more about others. And then true joy follows. I am so grateful for the people of this country and I truly love them so much. My mission has also blessed me with a testimony of this gospel. The gospel is love. I know it is true. I know that Joseph Smith was given priesthood authority to restore this church to the earth and to translate the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the word of God. I know that my Savior lives and loves me! I know that this church is true without a doubt. How can it not be? It's true. It's all true. 

I love you all more than you know. I can't wait to see you all in a few days. I couldn't have done this without your support. Thank you so much for all your love and prayers. And thank you Mom and Dad for your amazing examples to me throughout my life and for always being there for me. I love you! I love this work! I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have had to be apart of it. 

Godspeed, my friends.

Signing off for the last time,

Äldste William Alexander Bailey
January 2015 - December 2016






























1 comment:

  1. The gratefulness you feel is felt by me reading this blog letter. I told you like a couple of months ago that you should do everything you can so that you so t regret anything. Seeing you write it now makes me so happy. This mission has truly shaped you into the wonderful man(kid,you're always mine and Davids kid) you are today. I'm so happy that I could be a part of that journey.
    Sweden will miss you, David and I will miss you even more than we do now. But we are so happy that you have served hard with all gour heart here in Sweden for 2 years and we couldn't be more happy that you now can go home and hug your family especially your Mom and of course be together with that gorgeous girl of yours. Thank you Shelley for keeping us updated on how he's doing when his lack of emails were more often than I could imagine.

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