I don't believe that there is any other place that a young man of my age should be other than on a full-time mission serving the Lord. I do not have a doubt that we, the ones who sacrifice these two years, chose to do this even before coming to this world. I believe that God has been preparing me as well as these people I have come to know for larger purposes having to do with His work and Salvation. I have had countless experiences in my mission when I can say that the spirit of the Lord has guided me to help another stray soul. As the Book of Mormon missionary Ammon said speaking to his brethren after his mission, so do I feel now. "That (I) have been made an instrument in the hands of God to bring about this great work." I feel like my whole mission has truly just been preparing me for the things that God has waiting for me in the future. I helped numerous people grow nearer to Christ, but I think the largest growth has been in me. I have learned various important life principles including goal setting, extending and fulfilling commitments, effective teaching, living a gospel centered life, and many more that I could continue to name. I will surely be one of those return missionaries that cannot go a day without reflecting back on the things that I have learned. I consider myself privileged to be able to have concluded my time as a missionary and to continue along the path towards eternal life.
"Without doubt" is certainly the phrase that illustrates the position of my personal testimony right now. I will continue to liberate myself from forming doubts as long as I continue building my foundation upon the rock of my redeemer so that "when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon (me) to drag (me) down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which (I) am built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." I have learned that a testimony is something that no one can take away. The prophet Joseph Smith had powerful and definite words. 'I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it." He had an experience that changed his life from that moment onward. I consider my mission to be the same. Because of the eternal truths that I have become familiar with, I feel a larger mantle upon my shoulders and a larger responsibility to glorify God. The newly equipped armor of God bestowed upon me in these last two years will be of a large help for the challenges that wait in the future.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Deven arrived home at 10:20 this morning!! What a wonderful reunion it was for our family!! Deven had been up for over 24 hours and flying for over 21 hours. He was exhausted! His first meal back at home was Chinese food from Panda! Thanks to our families and friends for supporting him for these past 2 years!!
The waiting crew...
The best HUG ever!!
So proud of my boy...
The famous candy bar poster from the Aunts...
Welcome Home Elder Larisch! We love you!
Monday, August 5, 2013
I cannot believe that the time has finally come!! It has been an emotional few last days here in the mission with a few still remaining. I am the happiest and saddest that I could feel right now. Yes, it will be a challenge to handle the bitter-sweet return to the house. The truth is that I do not want to take off the missionary tag and stop being a missionary. I look back and love every single moment of being a missionary for the past 2 years even through the trials because I have seen so much growth. My mission president asked me an interesting question in my final interview yesterday after I finished telling of an impacting experience in the mission. He said "Why do you think, Elder Larisch, that God would allow you to have that experience?". The greatest answer is because He loves me and desires my personal growth.
I love it when I can see the fruits of my labors. Many people would think it means that I love seeing the baptisms of my converts, but it is actually that and much more. After the testimony I got up and gave for this last fast sunday, many of the young men got the courage to stand up and thank me for the service and the example I had been for them. For me, with the understanding of what the 2 year mission can do in the salvation of a young man with the duty, I felt like I had given a push to all of the young men in this ward and also helped out my Heavenly Father out even more with his big goal He has for every one of us: to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". I also actually am starting to see lots of fruits coming out of the people that I have planted seeds with. I feel it is appropriate to quote the words of Ammon to his brethren coming from the Book of Alma 26.
" And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites(the Argentines), were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work."
This realy is the specific blessing that God has given me in my mission. That I could be made an instrument in His hands to bring about his great work. I just hope that God will now help me care for all of the people that I have helped change.
"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day."
I know that they are in God`s hands and He will take care of them. Ah man, I can`t believe that I will be home in just a few days. I can`t wait to see the fam and have a great shindig for a week before I have to split off to college! I am way freakin excited! The plane ride alone should be fun. President told me that it is unlikely, but with a bunch of luck, I could see another missionary on my flight home. That would be cool. I haven`t found my cyprus card yet, but the good news is that my awesome comp, Elder Steeves is buying my speakers for some american dollars, so I will have some money to get some PANDA EXPRESS in the the airport in Atlanta!! Woo hoo! I finally get to stop eating fideos con tuco, argentine pizza, and milanesas every single day!
I can`t wait to see the whole fam. Who is planning on being at the airport? I think that after all of those hours of flying/traveling I am just going to want a nap. Ha ha.
I passed a pretty normal birthday here in Argentina. I worked hard the whole day at least! A sister from the ward made me a huge cake so that was pretty fun. Not quite the same without the fam, but we partied a bit here with the boys in the apartment. Ha. Presidente Avila told me yesterday in the super awesome final interview that I was permitted to go to centro one last time and get a few last-buys. I got a few more things to bring home. I hope you like what I am able to bring. Ha. I don`t know if I will have much luck with the alpargata stuff, but we will see. The final interview was super awesome! I now have a super vision of what I want to achieve in the future. He made me realize that the mission was really just a preparation for my future and next mission...starting my eternal family. We talked a lot about girls and how to get the right one. Ha ha. That was fun. I want to get married.
Well, this email has been quite all over the place. I guess it kinda shows my nervousness of the big change that is about to happen! Well, I will see you in 4 days 18 hours and 10 minutes! I`m not counting down...
I LOVE YOU ALL AND AM EXCITED TO SEE YA. TAKE CARE!
Elder Deven Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
Happy 21st Birthday
Final interview with Pres. Avila and his wife!!