"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited." There is little in my memories pertaining to my mission that I would consider of little importance. As I started my mission, I was initially very dedicated to writing in my journal. However, after a few months I woke up and realized that my writings were of little or no significance for myself and future generations. Rather than write in vain, I decided to do as Nephi and write "that which delighteth my soul." Truly, the fondest of my memories will forever be recorded in ink on the first pages of my study journal. That is, the names of my companions and those whom we were able to help take upon themselves the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.
My mission thus far has been one of great lessons and sacrifice. By no means was I or am I the world's best missionary, nor do I compare to such trailblazers as Dan Jones and the Sons of Mosiah...but the changes I have been able to bring about in myself and others is something that will forever be burned in my mind. As Confucius, in his timeless wisdom, once said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." I witness to you that I have fallen several times on my mission, to the point where screeching wheels and jet exhaust entertained my thoughts, but I can also say proudly that each time I fell, through God's guiding hand and sufficient endurance, I stood back up and stepped up so today I can say I am on higher ground, a level at which I can reach down and lift up our struggling brothers and sisters. I am thankful for the opportunity we as members have to serve missions, for our Savior's atonement, my family and friends, and their positive influence to me while I was at home, college, and now in the mission field.
In the future, I'm sure someone will tell me I had a lot of luck on my mission. To be honest, I will say, "Yes," because luck is something God gives us when preparation meets opportunity. Luck is the result of spiritual guidance and tuning through fasting, prayer, and scripture study.
Forever etched in my memory will be the pain I saw in the faces of those struggling with addiction, temptations, and the weight of sin. There is also a special spot reserved in my heart for all the smiles I shared with investigators and members whom we were able to bring back to the fold of the Good Shepherd. Looking back now, I am thankful to God for all the trials I encountered on my mission, because just as a gem cannot be polished without friction, a man cannot be perfected without trials. Por todo tempo e eternidade Missão Manaus é a MAIOR.
Elder Taylor Mackay