Dear Alley Family & Friends,
I don't know how to describe to you all about how surreal this moment feels right now. Even as I'm writing this e-mail, I'm still struggling to get myself to believe that my time as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is almost over. Nevertheless, I am truly grateful for this opportunity to spend two years of my life to serve the Lord by sharing His restored gospel to the people of the West Virginia Charleston Mission.
Thank you all so much for your love, support and prayers on my behalf for these past two years. My gratitude goes to all my family and friends who are at home and whom I met on the field. More importantly, I thank my God and my Savior Jesus Christ for allowing me to serve them and come to know them more personally. Thank you all so much.
For my last e-mail as a missionary, I want to share some thoughts with you. In one of Mom's last email's to me, she shared with me that she wondered why I never got a baptism on my mission and shared some of her thoughts on why this was meant to be. Well, I've also wondered about it and, in the past few days, I've had these thoughts that I truly believe were from the Holy Ghost.
The thought that came to me was a verse from Moroni in the Book of Moroni. In Moroni 10:32 it says, "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."
When I read that verse, the phrase that stood out to me the most was "come unto Christ and be perfected in him." I believe that this mission was the Lord's way of perfecting me. Now, please do not misunderstand me. I'm not at all saying that I'm perfect. I'm far from it. But what I am saying is that there were weaknesses in me that the Lord knew could only be corrected and strengthened by serving Him in the mission field. I testify that this mission was a rewarding experience for me because of the sanctification from the Holy Ghost that I was able to have. I wish I could put it in words for you.
Another thought that I had was that asking, "Why I didn't get to baptize anyone as a missionary?" is like asking, "Why did the Lord command Joseph Smith to form Zion's Camp when they didn't get to take back Missouri for the oppressed saints?" or "Why did God command Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac when He was just going to stop Abraham anyway?" I believe that the answer to all these questions goes back to what Moroni taught in Moroni 10:32. I believe that God does these things because He knows that these trials will perfect his disciples and prepare them even more to lead His Church and return to His presence.
I leave with you all my testimony that I know that this missionary work is God's work. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and that God called him to be His Prophet to restore His gospel back to the earth. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet today. Above all, I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world and that it's only through Him and His Atonement that we can be save. I love you all and miss you. I can't wait to see you all. Until then, Hurrah for Israel! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Michael Alley