Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pieces Of The Puzzle

Hey there everybody!
     It's another P-Day and it's so great to be writing again to you. The time is just rolling right on by as this week I'll prepare to start my last transfer in the mission field. I'm excited to see what the Lord would have me do to finish out my last month and a half as a missionary. So grateful for all these little miracles that keep happening all along the way.
     As I'm preparing for my last transfer, not knowing if I'm staying, going, or what, I've really been reflecting a lot on my mission, in particular the last six months. I've been pushing so hard to get people baptized, and confirmed in the church. I've seen miracles that words can't describe, and seen people change, but still, no baptisms. Over the last six months, I've seen eight baptismal dates but only one baptism. It's not a sense of frustration, but as I've looked back, there's so many lessons that continue to pop up that are changing my life, and I'm so grateful for it. And sometimes in our lives, when we're chasing something so diligently and it doesn't work out, we want to ask the question "why", but instead, I've learned to be grateful, to look at the big picture, and see how, like a puzzle, each piece falls in place. 
     I've learned that with each area, each ward, and each area I go to, there are things being established in the big eternal picture of everything. Without us knowing it, we're establishing our own "puzzle" of testimony, conversion, and becoming like the Savior. 
     A few of my puzzle pieces in the last few months have come in a variety of ways. They have come in miracles, they have came in grand ways, and they've also came in ways as simple as heartfelt prayer. They've come from simple glances of hope, like the investigator who had the hope to give up smoking and came to know the Savior. They've come from the faith of others, such as the young man I taught who at nearly being thrown out of the country, stood up for being a Mormon. They've came from investigators saying, "I can't be baptized because I need a lot more time." They've come in so many ways that I cannot express appreciation for, and as I look back, I see a complete picture that has slowly been built up little by little for me to become just a little better, and to become more like the Savior.
     We all have a picture we're building in our life. Sometimes the end picture is not visible, and we find ourselves in the vast pessimistic view of the question "why", but we need to recognize our blessings, recognize our growth, and like my parents have always taught me, "to see the big picture." I promise it's there. As I've asked the Savior to show me how I'm doing, He's given me small glimpses to let me know that I'm enough and doing enough, despite lack of results. And sometimes lack of results, doubts, and even fears, may be the greatest force to push us to the pure love of Christ. May we all keep going, take a second to step back, recognize the good we do, and keep laying it all piece by piece. I know that as we do, a complete and perfect picture of true Christlike countenance will shine through who you are. 
     I testify that the gospel is true, and is a place for growth and to test our faith. I know that it is place where we can learn, do, and become. I testify that a loving Savior knows us all and loves us more than any words that surpass our imagination. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and is true. I love being a missionary, and understand with a deep knowledge that the hardest day of my mission will be the day I have to take this name tag off of my chest, and engrave it even deeper into my heart. I love this country and people, and couldn't truly imagine being anywhere else in the world.
     I love you all and thank you for all your support. It truly means more than you'll ever know. Talk to you soon next week!

Elder Roper

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