I can't believe that this is the last email that I will be writing as a full-time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As cliché as it sounds, these two years have truly flown by. But I can truly say, without any doubt in my heart or mind, that these two years have been the best two years of my entire life. I have easily learned more during these 24 months than I did in the previous 19 years. I have learned what love really is. I have learned that Jesus Christ truly is our Savior. I have learned that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith really was a prophet, that Thomas S. Monson guides the Church today. Saying these words time and time again to people that I have come to love has rooted them deep within my soul. It has become a knowledge that is inseparable from who I am. It is a knowledge that is who I am.
If nothing else, I now know that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. I remember asking President Turk what was the greatest lesson he learned on his mission. He responded in a simple, spiritual way: "The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man". I know this to be true. I have not been perfect on my mission. I have not loved everyone as I ought to have done. But I have improved. I have become a better person, and through all of it, I have been blessed with the opportunity to help others become a little better too. Doing so has been the source of the greatest joy I have ever felt in my short life. I know understand the thrill that our Heavenly Father must get when He is merciful or kind.
I love each and every one of you. Thank you for always emailing me, sending me letters and packages, and encouraging me throughout these two years. I have not been able to always respond to each one of you, but your love and thoughtfulness has meant a lot to me. I appreciate the example that each one of you has set for me in my life and in my mission. You will be forever remembered and blessed. I love you all.
I suppose what is most comforting to me at this point is knowing that the mission will not end when I get off the plane. I will continue being a missionary forever, though I might now have a nametag on, as Elder Andersen said, I will have it painted upon my heart. I will continue sharing the gospel with others and help the missionaries in my own ward. That's the great eternal round of the gospel. We will never have a scarcity of opportunities to become more like our Savior and King.
Now, what in the gospel which have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them! (D&C 128:19)
Love to All
Elder Trace Owen Levos