Elder Wong has had a rewarding experience as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Usually when a person does something as hard as this, he is the one who grows the most and I think that is what he is trying to say to us this week. This is one of his most tender letters…

Hi Mom,

It is amazing to consider that almost two years have already passed since I left on my mission. I look back on the boy that I was when I left with 19 years. It’s hard to believe how fast that two years can go by, and the changes that I have felt in my own life and in the life of my family. A mission truly changes lives. When we are on the mission, we are able to change the lives of our investigators and the people around us. However, as equally important as all of that, we also are able to change our own lives. As we face challenges and difficulties, we can bless the lives of others and we can move in the direction for our own good.

With each of my areas and companions, I learned and developed qualities that I believe will help me throughout my life:

With Elder L, I learned how to dedicate myself to the work.
With Elder C, I learned how to be more flexible.
With Elder M. R, I learned how to love my companions.
With Elder V, I learned the value of hard work.
With Elder M, I learned how to be more fully obedient.
With Elder M, I learned how to be an example.
With Elder V, I learned how to be more humble.
With Elder A. S, I learned how to be more patient.
With Elder A, I learned how to converse more.
With Elder L. S, 
I learned how to continue working, even when it was difficult.
With Elder R, I learned how to be a leader.
With Elder E, I learned how to look at things with perspective.
With Elder S, I learned how to work until the very end.

As part of being a missionary, there are required a lot of sacrifices. You have to sacrifice your own comfort, your own time, your own mental and physical strength, among many other sacrifices. However, these sacrifices are necessary for us to become better and to experience a true change of heart. Joseph Smith said that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” As missionaries, we learn just a little bit about sacrifice and it helps us to understand the greatest sacrifice of all, the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The mission is truly an experience that changed my life forever, and there is no way that I will be able to go back now. It was full of times of joy, times of sorrow, times of disappointment, times of surprises, times of miracles, and times of serving the Lord. If there is any young man that is worthy and able to go on a mission and simply chooses not to, is making one of the biggest mistakes in his life.

I will never forget the people that I met on my mission, the members, the investigators, the companions, and I am excited to look back many years from now and see how much the church has grown here in João Pessoa, in my beloved Paraíba.

Now, will begin a new phase in my life. In many ways, it will be very different from the experience that I have had on the mission. But the principles and lessons that I have learned on the mission will be applicable for a lifetime, in whatever circumstance I may be in.

How grateful I am to the Lord for the opportunity that He has given me to feed His sheep, and I hope that, although my mission may end, I may yet serve as an instrument in His hands.

My scripture for this week is Alma 26:12.

Until next Thursday.