Score the final touchdown and then kneel in prayer when the game is over and thank the Lord for the opportunity to play on His team.
I don't know what to say. I cant believe its really coming to an end. Haha good thing I don't have to give a talk in this moment, because I wouldn't be able to. Ya know, every single area that I left behind in my mission, I did so bawling my eyes out, so much for a tuff guy huh. It started with Vila Nova de Gaia, as I had to say my goodbyes over the phone to J, then it was hearing one of my best friends Brother N F play his rewritten version of GOD BE WITH YOU TIL WE MEET AGAIN on the piano as we all sang together.... I didnt make it past the first verse before I was crying so much I couldn't even sing. Haha Elder Peacock was the only one who finished the hymn, as I left the ever so beautiful area of Covilhã. Then Viana do Castelo, in which I told myself that I wouldn't cry anymore as I left, but that didn't work out hahaha. My heart was too full as the C family called me late at night to come back to see them one more time before I left, because their kids were crying too much because I was leaving. Then it was a late Sunday night, right after we baptized F, that I received my call to leave Portimão early the next morning, making me run around saying my goodbyes to all the people that I love so much. Giving my last hugs and trying to get N and the V family to stop crying, "because with God, we will truly meet up again" haha I didn't help much because I was bawling too. Then leaving behind Santarém and all my family there, not a chance of not crying haha. Don't get offended family but I think I have cried more here in Portugal saying goodbye to these people then I did when I left you guys haha. But you all know its a different situation.
I am so grateful. Family, I don't know how I could possibly explain my feelings to God and to this people. Do you all know that my entire mission I have been praying and wanting to gain a true testimony, a strong testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His role in my life? I have always testified of Him, with all of my heart, I always believed in Him, the things I read about Him in my studies blew me away, I have strived to do my best and work my hardest to follow Him, I have given up everything for Him, I do this, I live my life, for Him. I would have given up my life for Him because of the beliefs that I had in Him. I never doubted, but I always wanted that testimony to look into peoples eyes and say, I KNOW FOR MYSELF THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, and I know that because he cured me and He changed me. And He did, without doubt. The Lord gave me one of the sweetest tender mercy in my life yesterday, as I gave my very last talk in the Portuguese language, here in Portugal. I explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what it has done for me in my life, the changes that I have had. At the end I bore my testimony and the Spirit touched me so strongly, as I said, I KNOW, WITHOUT DOUBT THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. When I said those words my prayers were answered, and were answered with such an amazingly powerful force. I felt every fiber of my being be filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and my beliefs, my hopes, were answered and confirmed. I now know, and say without a doubt in my mind, by personal revelation given by the Holy Ghost, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is my Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. My heart is so full that I cannot explain it in words. If I only had that very experience in my time of service for two years, I would have gained everything I ever would have wished for, my mission truly is complete. Now I know why I needed to stay more time here in Portugal and extend my time, now I understand. If this is the reward that we get after we work all of our lives to follow the Lord so that we can one day just meet Him, COUNT ME IN. I want to do everything that I can to have that privileged because I can only imagine that if the Lord touched my heart so strongly as I testified of Him, what it will be like when I one day come unto Him.
These are the honest feelings of my heart, haha I don't know if I sound weird or dramatic or anything, but its honestly what I feel.
I love you all, thank you so much for everything! These truly have been the best two years of my life. I wouldn't trade anything for the experiences that I have had, the people that I have met, served, and taught, the tears that I have shed, battles that I have been in. Its been more then worth it. I look forward to being a missionary for the rest of my life and helping all feel the same way I felt as I said, I know without doubt that Jesus is the Christ.
I wont try to make this last letter the most epic of them all, nor will I put in feelings that I don't really feel. I try to write this humbly and share with you the best feeling that I have ever felt in my life. Maybe if I saw this letter two years ago I would have thought that I was a little weird haha.
I guess the last thing I wanna say before I see you all is, I love you and I love this gospel.
Elder Daniel John Hatch
Epic Picture huh:) my "Peace Out Portugal"