This has been quite an eventful week. First of all, I am leaving Birmingham! We received transfer calls last Saturday and I was told to pack my bags and get ready to go to another wonderful place in Alabama. I am so very grateful for all of the wonderful experiences I have had in this area. I absolutely love it here and all of the wonderful people that live here. The branch while I have been here has grown and developed so much and will continue to grow and develop once I leave. I am so grateful for the great members and friends I have had the chance to meet. They will forever have a special place in my heart, but I am excited to tackle new opportunities in new places on my mission.
My final week here was quite amazing. I had many wonderful experiences finding people and had a baptism and a funeral we attended. The baptism was for a couple that has been investigating the church for quite some time. They have come to church every single Sunday since I have been here and have absolutely loved every aspect of their involvement in the church. We would joke a lot and say that they were more active and a part of the branch than a lot of the members – pretty funny! Anyway, they were baptized this past Saturday and then confirmed on Sunday. It was a tremendous experience for the branch because we had over 70 people there and most were investigators.
That night, however, was the night we also received the news that Sergio had passed away. I have done a poor job in writing about him, but he is a man who we have been visiting for quite some time. We knew he had cancer when we first met him, but we didn’t realize how bad it was until a few weeks ago. We were able to talk with him and his wife a few times before he passed away. He is an inspiration and his life is an inspiration. I will never forget him and how wonderful and happy a human being he was, even in his last hours of life. We attended a funeral service with his wife and some of his family on Monday. I can testify that this life is not all there is. Heavenly Father lives and loves each one of us more than we can possibly imagine. He wants us to return to live with him. I know this is true and I am so grateful for this knowledge and the opportunity I have to share it with others like Sergio’s wife. Soon she will be baptized and be able to attend the temple and be sealed with her husband for all time and eternity. This gospel is so amazing. It is a gospel of happiness and joy. The happiest I have ever been in my life is right now in Alabama seeing the message of the gospel work in the lives of people I meet. I love and miss all of you back home and hope you continue to be amazing in your own lives!