My last week as a missionary was absolutely incredible! I can't even express in words how grateful I am to the Lord for letting my last week be so full of miracles. We finally got back in touch with Antonio! Turns out he isn't just ignoring our calls. He was moving homes. So in the process, he had fallen down his stairs... he ended up being bed ridden in the hospital for 2 days before he could leave. We met up with him and he is just as excited for his baptism as ever. He already has everything prepared. He was prepared to be baptized ... but due to his fall, he physically can't. So we remarked him for the 22 Nov. :) Sadly I won't be there... But it makes me just as happy knowing that he is still ready and worthy to be baptized. Just a little more time before it happens. But it was so precious. He isn't supposed to leave his house. He is on bed rest because of his fall. But when we told him I would be leaving the next day, he HAD to come and say goodbye. His brother put up a little bit of a fight. But Antonio was persistant. He had to say goodbye to his Irma. :) It was so cute when he told us that! So we got to say goodbye to him... It was soooo sad....I also got to say goodbye to Carlos. The one that was amazed at how sincere my prayer was. And mentioned that he had never heard a prayer like that in his life. And for that said he wanted to keep talking to us. He is also the one that has now said, that he believes in God! It was so hard saying bye to him. I thought he was going to cry. Antonio as well. They actually both got watery eyes... and that didn't make it any easier on me. That made it even harder to go... And will make it even harder to no longer be a missionary...I understand the three Nephites more than ever now! I love these people so much I just can't go.... But my time is up and I am proud of the time I served the Lord. I know I served with my heart and soul. I wasn't perfect. But the Lord wasn't expecting perfection. He was expecting whole hearted effort. My perfection. And that is what I gave every day. Even though sometimes I know I fell a little short. But I kept going. And for that I can look back and be so proud and grateful for my mission. The biggest miracle that took place was . Another son of God entered the waters of baptism. Nuno was baptized by his dear friend Joaquim. I can't tell you how precious it was to watch Joaquim- our recent baptism, who just received the priesthood- first pass the sacrament in church earlier, and then watch him as he gave the saving ordinance of baptism to his friend Nuno. Because of Joaquim, and the simple invite he gave to his friend Nuno to assist his baptism. We then watched Nuno at his own baptism. How amazing is the power of a simple invite! We now have two men who will do many great things for the church baptized and full of the joy that the gospel brings. Two men who have had rough and difficult lives. I can't even express how much it broke my heart to hear how sad and hard their lives have been. But to see the joy and happiness that the gospel brings lit up on their faces after they received their very own testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel is something that money can never buy. I can never thank the Lord enough for letting me be a part of His great work, and helping me to be chopped down to nothing in the mission field to help me grow as I am needed to. I encourage anyone who is now contemplating whether they should serve a mission or not- to just DO IT! If you don't, you will miss out on being able to see the miracles that are taking place everyday in the Lord's work. For he is truly hastening His work. I am so grateful to have been a part of it for a full 18 months. Thank you all for everything you have done for me and merely your support these past 18 months. I love you!
Sister Amanda Stokes