To my friends and family,
I have been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Lisbon Portugal Mission. The time has come for me to enter the MTC! Words can't even begin to express how excited I am for the next two years of my life. I would like to share with you my brief testimony of what I believe and why I have decided to leave my friends, my family, my schooling, and my life to concentrate all my time and effort on sharing this great gospel and serving the people of Portugal.
For those of you who know me well, you know I have grown up a member of the Church my whole life. I have gone to church on Sundays, I have participated in weekly church activities, I have shared with many of you my beliefs, and I have tried to live the commandments of God that I know bring great happiness into our lives. But what do I really believe? And why am I going on a mission?
Here is my testimony for you today. I believe we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us, truly loves us, and knows us all individually. I believe He sent his Son Jesus Christ down to this earth. I know He was crucified to atone for our sins that we may be forgiven through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can be made whole again and be stripped of the guilt that eats away at us. We no longer need to linger in the pain of sin, but can be forgiven of our wrongdoings, for our Heavenly Father understands we make mistakes. We are only human. I know that we were put on this earth that we may learn and grow by experiencing both joy and sorrow, that one day we may return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and live with him for time and all eternity.
This gospel has blessed my life in so many ways and I'm so excited to bring that same gospel to the people of Portugal and bless their lives with it. One can really find true happiness in this gospel; I know I sure have. This gospel stresses the importance of families and on building relationships with them that will last for time and all eternity. I believe that families can be sealed together forever and I hope I can share with the people of Portugal the importance of that. I know my family has been blessed by this gospel and that my family is the most important thing in this life. Although I am leaving for 2 years, I strongly believe a missionary is someone that leaves their family for a short time so that others can be with their families for eternity.
For the next two years, I will be serving the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I'm going to give it my all. I remember dropping my oldest brother Andrew off at the MTC several years ago. The emotions I had with him leaving and the spirit I felt testified to me that I too one day would serve a mission. At that young age, I made it a high priority to serve a mission and kept that a goal my entire life. I have been preparing for my mission for as long as I can remember and there is no time that I have felt more ready and worthy than now. With my older brother's examples, and the love and support of my parents throughout my life, I couldn't be more sure of my decision to serve a mission.
Lastly, I know this Church is true with all my heart. If I didn't, I would not be leaving my life behind for 2 years. That should show the love I have for this gospel, the love I have for my Heavenly Father, and the love I have for my Savior, who I have grown so close to. I have a relationship with Him I never want to lose and am excited to see the way He works through me in Portugal and strengthens my relationship with Him. I'm ready to share with the people of Portugal something that has brought me so much joy, true joy. Something that I live each day by that I know makes me be a better disciple of Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson, the leader of our church, is a living prophet on the earth today. He is a prophet just like Moses or Abraham were prophets in their day, and just like them, I believe he is the mouthpiece of God on Earth today. He receives direct revelation from our Heavenly Father for our benefit. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the keystone of our religion and one draws nearer to God by abiding by its precepts. The Book of Mormon and The Bible testify of each other. The Book of Mormon is truly just another Testament of Jesus Christ in the Americas. I know that Jesus Christ appeared to the people of America in the Book of Mormon, just how he appeared to the people of Jerusalem in the Bible after his resurrection. And I know that Joseph Smith was directed by God to translate the Book of Mormon into our language that we may use it for our benefit. He restored this wonderful gospel in our day, that we too, can find true happiness and eternal life.
I hope all of you can follow my experiences on this blog throughout the next 2 years of my life.
I love you all and will miss you. Might God bless you in all that you do while I am away.
Love, Elder Lee Holmes