18 months. 4 areas. 10 companions. 13 transfer days. 3 Skype calls home. 16 baptisms. Tears. Laughs. Smiles. Sicknesses. Rejections. Holidays. P-days. Packages from home. Golden investigators. Walking miles. Eating tons. Learning 3 dialects. All in the service of God. I will never forget, nor will I ever regret these last 18 months I've had to serve our Heavenly Father here in the Philippines. Wearing the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ over my heart every day has been a privilege and words can not begin to express how grateful I am for the opportunity I had to serve Him.
Elder Renlund said in the last General Conference, "My call gives ample evidence to the truthfulness of the Lord’s statement early in this dispensation: "That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world. I am one of those weak and simple." I have felt the Lord work through me throughout the last 18 months as I am also one of those weak and simple. I never could have spoken these languages, shared the gospel, and experience the things I did if it wasn't for the Lord working through me. He didn't call me to serve here because of anything I did, He called me to the Philippines Tacloban mission because He knew what I needed to learn and the people I needed to meet. I also am so thankful that Heavenly Father not only assigned me to an amazing mission, but also gave me and amazing Mission President, President Maurer and his wife, Sister Maurer. They have been with me every step of the way and I am so blessed to know them and have them as a part of my life.
I received a letter from one of my recent converts and she said in her letter, "God gave me you Sister Wilde" Tears came to my eyes when I read that line and it reminded me that God really does place people in our lives to strengthen, help, and uplift us. I think of my family, leaders and the people back at home and how they helped me get to where I am today. I then think of the people here in the Philippines. The Filipino people are the most hospitable, kind, loving, and humble people I have ever met. I never felt homesick because their arms were always open to me to become part of their family. My companions included! Sister Skey taught me to laugh and love the people. Sister Talataina taught me to never give up learning the language. Sister Pui taught me it's okay to be bold, but not overbearing. Sister Minoza taught me to love everyone no matter what. Sister Dumale was an amazing example to me of diligence and hard work. Sister Pangilinan taught me to forgive and forget. Sister Rodrigo was an amazing teacher of how to find people to teach. Sister Cailing taught me to never give up. Sister Lopez was a great example of looking at trials as a blessing. And Sister Culangan taught me to endure to the end, to finish strong.
I am going to miss the wet hugs after coming out of the baptismal font. I will miss reading the Book of Mormon with an investigator family and seeing a new light come into their lives. I will miss the packages, letters, and emails from you. I will miss the people. I will miss my companions as well as the other missionaries I served with who became my lifelong friends. I am really going to miss it all!
I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He loves us. This is truly His church and I know through Joseph Smith the Gospel was restored. The Book of Mormon is true. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and if we hearken unto his words, we will make it back to live with our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the support and love you all gave to me throughout my mission. I am truly blessed. Words can't begin to express how much gratitude and love I feel at this time! I love you all.
I'm not going to send pictures because you will see my face on Thursday ;)