This feels a little unreal and I have butterflies in my stomach already trying to type out words to describe how I feel. I'll fly to Barbados a week from today and will be busy with exit interviews and everything so this will be the last email.
My mission will always be the thing closest to my heart. I have written every single day of it and have a stack of 8 journals to prove it. But none of those words can begin to describe how I feel about the missionaries around me, the people I love and serve, and my Savior that I have represented.
So I will not attempt here now to express myself. I have kept a note on my desk my whole mission from Mom. It says:
"A little more than 8 months ago, I watched and listened to a young man on the football field whose heart was broken. The night of your last football game was a hard night to be a parent. I knew you were so sad and I felt helpless. All through your high school years you wore the "Be Strong" band. You were strong. Not just on the football field - you were strong making good choices. I knew you had "left it all on the field." I knew what the band meant to you and I couldn't bare to see it left on the field. I had Garrett go pick it up for me. I have kept it as a memory of what kind of young man you are - STRONG! The letters have worn off and it looks like the band will break, but I am sure I will pull it out many times while you are gone and there will be a smile on my face thinking of all the great things you are doing. Miracle of miracles... Dad had another one! I am sending it with you on your mission. Wear it and remember with Heavenly Father's help, you will be strong. I loved what the Bishop said, "play all 4 quarters!" That's what I want you to do because I have a feeling when it's over, it will be even harder to walk off of this "field."'
Due to missionary rules, the bracelet has sat in my pocket or my bag my whole mission but I have held it tight since I left home.
Bishop, I played all 4 quarters.
Mom, I have been strong.
I can look at my Heavenly Father and tell him, "I have given it my all."