Tue, 30 Dec 2014 13:18:56
I have gotta say, I am not quite sure what to write in this one... I have been sitting at the computer staring at a blank email for quite some time now, not knowing what to say. I hope that what I have to say may have a lasting impression on you, as this will be my last email home as a full time missionary.
My initial thoughts over this last week have been very mixed. I'll admit, I began feeling somewhat bitter, feeling that it is so unfair that I have to leave. But, I know that it is completely fair, because I have had the amazing opportunity to serve the Lord for two years. That is what He gave me, and that is what I promised to do. These past two years have been the most rewarding years of my life. Nothing will ever compare to what I have done and the things I have witnessed. I have met many who have embraced the gospel, and it has brought me the greatest joy I have ever felt! I would never give that feeling away or the friendships I have made. My life has been changed forever because of the people of San Diego... I have also seen many reject the gospel, and it has brought me some of the worst pain I have ever felt. I knew that a mission was not going to be easy; there were going to be difficult things I would have to go through, difficult decisions I would have to make, trials I would have to face, and boy, did I face them all! But the most difficult thing I have had to do while on my mission is grow an unconditional love for people and have to watch them reject the gospel, throwing them back into the horrible habits that once dominated their lives, giving up happiness that I know they had felt, and ultimately giving back the gift of the Atonement that God has given them. My heart has been burdened with sadness because of the choices others have made. I have had many nights filled with prayer and tears because of these people. My mission has not been easy... Though my heart suffers because of these people, my heart also takes great courage, knowing that the love of God encompasses all, and that all are not lost. I know I have tried my best, and some have not come unto Christ, but I know that God loves them, and will ALWAYS be mindful of them. They are not lost, and I KNOW there will be many times where the Spirit will have an opportunity to enter their hearts again, and they WILL be changed! I do not doubt this. I feel that this is true from deep in my heart. I have seen God's love change men who have lost all hope, who have given up and have forgotten Him. I have seen God's love change men who are held captive by their addictions. I have seen God's love heal broken souls, fix any wound, and bring joy into other's lives that you could not even imagine. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of this has been made possible. I have loved my mission! I have been honored to wear the name of my Savior on my chest for two years! I know He knows I wear His name, and I also know He knows the name just above His. This is my testimony as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ: I know that He lives!
Elder Seth Garner returned home from the California, San Diego Mission on January 1, 2015 to his loving family and friends. The time that he served there changed hearts, but most importantly of all, his own!!
Welcome Home!! Elder Garner!!