Wednesday, July 20, 2011

FINAL EMAIL

Mon, 18 Jul 2011

Mom,

You sure are right about having all sorts of emotions. No tears, but it feels like something is swimming around in my stomach. I know what to expect, but I anticipate it will be a much happier experience than last time I came home.. haha. And to let you know, the past 6 weeks of journaling have been my best by far. So I'll always remember the miracles and struggles of a missionary in his final transfer. I think it has helped my focus knowing I'd be accounting for each day, and I committed to be completely honest in writing exactly what's going on. It will be so nice to be able to keep in touch with anyone I want to out here. Missionaries are a little tougher to keep in touch with though. But yeah, I feel bad for Dad and the missionaries of his generation. I can't imagine how it would be to leave the mission without being able to say, "Cool, I'll talk to you later. You can add me on Facebook." haha. It's awesome to hear that Girls Camp went great! And I can't wait to see my cute little one year-old Charli when I get home!

This past week went well! We had dinner with that new investigator Dean and his roommate Josh on Wednesday, and that was awesome! They made us a nice steak dinner. As we spoke of the Gospel, the Spirit was very strong. When Elder Wonnacott shared the story of Joseph Smith from the sincerity of his own testimony, they both acknowledged the intensity of the Spirit at that point and they knew it was true. Josh said, "Wow, good job at that part!" Elder Wonnacott said, "It's not me making you feel that way." And Josh said, "I know, I'm talking to the Spirit." Haha, so funny and cool. Even though Dean has acknowledged the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the testimony of Joseph Smith, his anti-organized religion and born again Christian ideas that he holds onto so strongly prevented him from keeping any more commitments than to read and pray. That night though, he gained a stronger witness initially than many of the people whom I taught and helped prepare to be baptized. Josh on the other hand loved everything, and almost seemed like he was dragging us to the font. But then he didn't show up at church or answer our calls yesterday.. hmm, we'll be stopping by tonight to see what's up.

We also met a new investigator on Saturday who actually does have a baptism date now! His name is Allen. He was living in California where one of his friends was a strong member of the church. He continually invited Allen to attend church and church activities, but he always declined. He finally said, "You know what, I'm heading out to Wisconsin for work where I won't know anyone. When I'm out there, if I see any of your missionaries around, I'll holler." Well, shortly after he arrived, he hopped on a bus, and there, out of probably 200,000 people who live in the Green Bay area (that may be a high estimate), were the Hmong elders right by the door of the bus. He didn't want to be a liar, so he talked to them. They gave him a mormon.org card with our phone number on it. After spending a little while on the website, he gave us a call and we met with him that night. The lesson wasn't standard by any means, but was exactly what he needed. We set a goal with him to be baptized on Aug 13th, and he is very excited for that. He came to church yesterday and loved it. He was very open and excited to participate. So yeah, never underestimate the power in inviting your friends to church and activities! And don't give up after one try either!

So yeah, it's been good. The next couple days are packed with all the little things that come with leaving your area and transfer week, but I'll continue to be a full-time servant to the end.

My mission has been the time of my life! It has been the "adventure" that I expected, but also in many ways I hadn't expected. I know that the adventure won't end on Thursday when I am home, but it will just change locations. I have become such a better person as I've had this time to get outside myself and feel the Spirit's influence in such a huge degree helping me make corrections and become better, all so that I can be better as a servant of Jesus Christ in helping others to receive what will make them most happy in this life. I have an unshakable testimony of this Gospel. It's true. I have grown so close to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that relationship is the greatest blessing I have experienced from serving a mission. I love Wisconsin! I love the people here. These people will be dear to me throughout the rest of my life.

I will see you soon!
Love,

Elder Vogan

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