night, the BYU-I Dance Alliance team came through for a show. It was a really great way to have members invite their non-member friends to be introduced to the church, and a great tracting approach. Anyways, it was really fun for me because I got to see a few people from my last ward in Rapid, not all of them, but some. I got permission to say good-bye to a few people before I go home for good. I will try and see the Sheffield’s one more time, Hayden, and the Steele’s. I’m excited!!
Anyways, unexpectedly I got to see Mervin!!!! I didn’t know he was going to be there and I haven’t seen him in so long! I really feel like this was a tender mercy of the Lord right before I go home. I ran up and gave him the biggest hug!! (I know this is against the rules, but it is the last time I will get to see him! I made an exception.) He apparently heard I might be there and he told me he made me something, It is a really nice, beaded, Native American chain. It was SO nice of him. He told me he has now received the priesthood, done baptisms for the dead, is a branch missionary, received his patriarchal blessing, and is preparing to enter the temple in November!! I could hardly keep back the tears. He then said, “Sister Johnson, I will never forget you. I prayed for you and I know you’re going to make it.” As I have been pondering on my mission and what it means, Mervin has been the highlight of it all. He has made every single day of my mission worth it. I cannot express in words the way I feel about my mission. It means everything to me. Mervin’s success brings me the greatest happiness I have ever felt in my entire life. The gospel is true and the happiness it brings me is a testament to me that it is true. I thank my Father in Heaven for this incredible journey and especially for Mervin. I told him I would do all I can to be there when he goes through the temple and I can hardly wait for it. Saying goodbye to him again was so hard, but I know I will see him again. I know the Lord placed him in my path and I’m full of gratitude because of it. I feel like seeing him really helped me feel that my mission was successful.
I can’t believe that this is my last email as a missionary. I still feel like all of this is unreal and I have a mix of emotions about going home. It has been such a privilege to be a missionary and I know it was for me more than anything. I am still me, but my testimony is firm and I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, including mine. My 18 months is a small sacrifice, but I hope the Lord will accept it. I will forever hold onto my mission experience with love and great appreciation. I know that it will shape my life forever.
I want each of you to know that I could not have done this without you and your support. First and foremost I want to thank Mom and Dad. You have shown me the path to take in life and supported me from day one! I have never been so grateful in my life than I am now for what you have taught me. The greatest gift you could have given me is the gospel and you have not only given it to me, but you live it. I mean how many missionary's parents are missionaries?! It has been amazing to serve along side both of you. Mom, you are the most loving, caring, and understanding person I know. I know that where ever I turn in life, you will be there. You are so sensitive to the spirit, and full of charity, which I know is what makes you a spiritual fireball out there! Dad, I have never met such a spiritual man, full of patience. You have always shown me that the gospel comes first. I also think you have a gift to teach the gospel and so I don’t doubt that you are saving souls out there. I love you both!
To my sisters! Where would I be without you? I feel like each of you have reached out to me while I’ve been serving and given me the motivation to keep pushing through. They say sisters make the best of friends, and I have FIVE of them! I am so lucky to have each of you to set the example to me and be there for me. I love you.
Leslie, if it wasn’t for you, I would have never served a mission. You have been there for me countless times and I consider you to be family. I will always be so grateful for your friendship and your advice. Thank you for always loving me. I love you.
Thank you Grandma’s and Grandpa’s! I could always count on a letter from you! Can I just say we have the best family ever! Thank you Aunt Linda for never missing a week on my mission to send me a letter! Thank you Aunt Heidi for the packages full of love! I am so grateful for all the love I felt through each of you.
Last of all I’m grateful for all those on my mission who taught me more than I could have ever taught them! And for the families that took me in while I was away from home (Sessions and Sheffields)! I love all of you. My mission has been worth it and I could not have done it without you.
I know that this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ died for each of us and He knows us individually. I know that through Him we can all change. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It has brought me the most comfort than any other book. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I cannot wait to meet him. He was a good man, who did the best he could, and he obeyed God. I know that we are a part of Christ’s restored church and through it our families can be eternal. I’m so grateful for this knowledge and the opportunity to preach it. I will miss wearing His name tag every day.
I love all of you. I hope you will see a difference in me, because I am changed through Him. I will see you all soon.
My last companion - Sister Williamson