This was a great week to finish off my mission, and I will just go through some of the highlights.
So on Tuesday, one of our investigators named John took us out to lunch at this restaurant called Brown’s Pie Shop, which is at the top of Steep Hill. I met John last week while street contacting in city centre, and we ended up talking for about an hour all about the church and the Book of Mormon. He’s about 60 or so, and is such a nice guy. He is really interested in the Book of Mormon, and has loved what he has read so far. It was a great time going to lunch with him, and it was so cool to meet someone, know them for about an hour, and then he just takes us out to lunch. Only as a missionary. He ended up coming to church yesterday and really enjoyed it. I have a good feeling about him.
On Wednesday, we were able to start teaching Kevin’s friends Sarah and Lucy, who are both so cool. Kevin is a legend. We also played basketball with them on Friday and Kevin and I played two on two with one of them on each of our teams. It was hilarious. It was Sarah and Lucy’s first time playing. Kevin is so good, I loved being able to play with them. Kevin also brought them to church on Sunday for the third time, and they really enjoyed it. Kevin is really well known in Lincoln ward, and everyone loves having him in the ward. I’m not excited to say goodbye to him tonight.
Thursday we had zone conference in Leicester, where we met our new mission president, President Leppard, and his wife. They are from Surrey, England, and are SO cool. They are so funny, and so faithful. He will be such a good mission president, it’s a shame I only get to know him for about a week. After the conference, I had my departing interview with President Leppard. It was great, he got to know me a bit, and gave me so much advice for my future. I have a lot of love for him, even though I barely know him.
Saturday, for the fourth of July, we went to the Randalls! All six missionaries were there, and we just helped in their back garden for a couple hours with weeding and what not, then we had a barbecue, which was so good. It was awesome to be able to actually celebrate Independence day, even though we are in the country that we gained independence from. I love the Randalls thoroughly, they are so amazing, and love the missionaries. I wish every family was like them when it comes to doing things for missionaries.
Yesterday was very bittersweet. It was a great Sunday, just so strange that it was my last time going to church as a missionary. I took the opportunity to bear my testimony for the final time to Lincoln ward. I love that ward, and it was hard to say goodbye to a lot of the members.
Tonight we are going to the Finches for a family home evening with about ten more people, where I will say goodbye to most of the great friends I have made in Lincoln. Tomorrow I go to the mission home, where I will have a testimony meeting and dinner with President and Sister Leppard, and the 24 other elders who will go home. We will spend the night there, then board the plane at 9am from Birmingham.
I just can’t believe it. I feel like the past couple days, my whole mission has kept flashing before my eyes. I am so grateful for my mission. I am so grateful for the hard times, and for the good times. I have met so many people, made so many friends, have had so many incredible experiences, and have learned the most valuable lessons. As I have struggled through this journey, literally putting my blood sweat and tears into it, I have come closer to God, and learned so much about the way he works. I have seen His impact in so many peoples lives, and most of all, mine. I have really come to know that He is our Father, and that He loves us perfectly. He knows us individually and personally. I know that He will never forsake us. I have gained a knowledge that Jesus Christ is His son, of this I am sure. I know that He atoned for our sins. I know that if we rely on Him, that through the enabling power of His Atonement, we can get through any trial, pain, sorrow, ANYTHING. He is perfect. He loves us. I am so extremely grateful for all of the instances where I have been able to witness that over the past two years. I have seen how the Book of Mormon has changed lives, has helped people with no belief learn more about our Savior, and has helped them feel His power in their lives. I am so grateful for all that I have learned from it. A lot of people try to disprove it, but there is no logical explanation that can disprove the Book of Mormon. Science can be disproved, but faith can only be proved through personal experience. Nobody who actually reads the Book of Mormon and prays sincerely to find if it is true can deny it. Everyone who has told me that it was made up, and that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, hasn’t even bothered to take time to actually read the book that is evidence of his prophetic role. A lot of people have told me that I am just a teenager running on blind faith, and that I don’t really know what the Mormons believe. I know what we believe. I have been doing nothing else but studying it and teaching it to people every single day for the past two years, how could I not know what we believe? I have studied it, and I have prayed about it. Through the Holy Ghost, my answers have been confirmed. I am God’s witness that this is His restored church in its fullness, and Jesus Christ himself is at the helm, with a living prophet who communicates with Him to give us guidance in today’s crazy world. This is the way to true, lasting joy. Of these things I am absolutely positive. I love the gospel. I love my mission, it has forever changed my life. Thank you all for your constant love and support through it all. See you soon!
Love, Elder DeBeikes
On our way to conference
Happy Fourth of July!
Brother Williams, our amazing ward mission leader and one of the greatest men
The Mulliss Family
Crazy Mullisses. They are the best!