Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What a Crazy Year!

Friends and Family,

As many of you know from reading the blog in the past, last September I had the opportunity to come home from my mission, so that I could take care of a few things in order to be worthy to serve a mission. I am so grateful for these last eleven months. I have learned so much, and have grown tremendously. I know that I needed to come home, that I needed to learn a few lessons, so that I can return to the mission field as the missionary that my mom expects me to be. The missionary that the Lord needs me to be.

It has been a very interesting few months. I was told when I came home that I needed to wait six months before I could resubmit my papers again. After six long yet incredibly short months I prepared to return to the mission field. As I was preparing, I just did not feel like it was right. I prayed, fasted, attended the temple, spoke with my Bishop and Stake President, and came to the conclusion that I was not supposed to serve a mission. Whether that meant at this time, or at any time at all, I knew that I needed to stay home and move on with my life.

I started to grow up a little bit. I got a fantastic new job, thanks to Marcie, I bought a car, and was searching for an apartment. Life was great! I had started to date an amazing girl that I could see things getting more serious with, and I was getting back into school...there was just one problem. I was not happy. Why was I not happy?! Everything seemed to fall into place, and for the first time since my mission, I had read my scriptures every single day for two weeks. I was doing all that I should be, so why was I not happy? So I continued to pray, and pray. There was one thing that kept coming to mind, but I kind of pushed it off. Then, I was reading the Bible. I read the story of Abraham and Isaac, and really pondered on it. The Lord commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. When Abraham showed the Lord that he was willing to do his will, He told Abraham that he did not need to sacrifice his son. It was a test of his willingness to obey. I started seriously praying and thinking about this. I know that the Lord told me that I should not go on a mission at this time...but! Things felt like they had changed. I was confused, is it possible that the Lord was testing me the way that he tested Abraham? Was it possible that He told me not to go on a mission to test my obedience? It was the hardest decision that I had ever made…was this possible? Well, I know now that this is what the Lord was doing. He was testing me. I continued to pray and read my scriptures, and every single time that I thought about missionary work, or read an email from a missionary I felt peace. So I took the time this last Friday to fast, and then finish off the day going to the temple. I sat in the Celestial room and prayed. I feel like the Lord is telling me to go on a mission.

I met with my Bishop two days later, and the Stake President two days after that. It all just happened so fast!

Two weeks later I received a call from a representative of the Church, telling me that I will be reinstated as a missionary, called to serve in the Quezon City North Mission. I get to go back to the same mission I was in!! I am so pumped!!! All I needed to do was submit my Visa information, and wait for the information to come. Well! Today was that day!! 
I will be leaving straight for the Philippines on August 28, 2013 at 9 am. My flight goes to Detroit, then to Japan, before finally landing in Manila, Philippines. I am so excited, and honestly, the time can not go by slower! Only 3 weeks from today! I am so very blessed to be able to return to the Philippines. I know that this is where the Lord needs me to be, and I can not wait!! Thank you all for the support. I guess in just a few weeks we will have another letter on here, but I will be writing from the Philippines.

Elder Andrew Leonard