April 8, 2014

My Testimony

Elder Marqueza (from Mozambique) , Montgomery Safari Angola Africa 4-7-2014

President and Sister Merrill, great leaders and teachers,  
Elder Montgomery, Safari 4-7-2014 
86 Weeks in Angola                                                                                           April  7, 2014
Ola Minha Familia!
It is a very out of  body experience this whole getting close to coming home thing. So since I can’t really remember how my week went, I’ll just say it was awesome! and ended with conference last night, and a safari today, and I have loved every second of it.
I want to get all spiritual on you all, because I know I haven’t always written the most spiritually uplifting letters, and I want to bear my testimony of some of the things I’ve learned in these last two years.
Gratitude. I am thankful for gratitude. I loved Elder Utchdorf’s talk on gratitude last night. There is something indescribably amazing about the lives we all have been given, and the amazing country we live in, and the amazing gospel that helps us live our lives in a way that we may someday return to the presence of our Father. The people of Angola, are a very amazing people. happy, in some of the saddest circumstances, they shine. I have seen things here that shatter my entire outlook of life and how much we really have been given, I am so so spoiled, and cannot even hope to one day fully repay the lord for my life full of blessings. I realized slowly over these last two years, and I’m sure I will realize really fast next week, just how much I and we truly have, and because I have been given much I too must give. The way we show true gratitude is not through the words thank you. But by actions that show those words. I am so grateful for my life and everything I have. Gratitude is something I have come to more fully understand. 
Something as an Elder I have learned is the gift and miracle of forgiveness. I’m definitely not perfect, and neither are the people of Angola, and neither are you. We all need repentance, and we can all taste forgiveness, true forgiveness that only comes and came through our Saviors Atoning sacrifice. I am so grateful for the forgiving power of the atonement. Like Elder Cardon (?)  said, the Lord wants to forgive. I have truly felt that on my mission, as I have studied and tried to earn forgiveness and seen it happen in my life and the lives of others. I know the lord more fully, because I have tasted his atoning power and felt the forgiveness. I love my savior Jesus Christ. I know he lives and that he died for me and for you. I am so grateful for the opportunity to repent each and every day and feel of his forgiveness. I love the Lord, and I love my Heavenly Father. Their great plan of redemption is made possible by the Lords Atonement and his power to forgive. I am so grateful for that. 
I don’t know where I was going with this letter, but I want you all to know that I am a different person because of the things I have learned and learned to live as a full time missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a different person. I was reborn again when I was baptized, but through learning and repentance and living the gospel and loving the Savior more fully, I have experienced a change of heart. I feel a lot like I think Alma the younger felt. 
I love each and every one of you. If you get this email, it is because I love you and you have a part in my life, but I want you all to know that I love the Savior. My testimony of him and his atonement and his true church burns like a fire within me, and I know that I can never let that fire go out. 
In the coming days as I say goodbye to friends and converts and members, and say hello to family and friends and loved ones, I hope more than anything that the love of the Savior shines in me to you, like he commanded us to shine before the world. I love you all! I know this gospel is true. This has been The Best Two Years of my life so far. I have truly felt the promise of the prophet of God like it says in my call letter, that more blessings and happiness than I have ever experienced await me as I give my life to the Lord. I hope I have made him proud, and all of you as well.  Love you all! I hope this week is wonderful for all of you. It will be very bitter sweet for me. I love the Angolan people so much. This is my 2nd home and my 2nd family. I will never forget the people I’ve met here, and the difference they’ve made in my life, and the difference the Lord made in theirs and mine. I love you all so much. 
Have an amazing week!
com amor,

Elder Montgomery

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