It often feels like my experiences from the MTC were in some alternate universe that had little, if anything to do with my mission, although it was the indispensable first step in my preparations to serve Suomessa. Even looking back to my time in Oulu, it seems like what I'm doing now is on some sort of different wavelength from life back then. Time is a weird thing, and it will never cease being weird to me.
I've served in 3 areas in Finland so far, not counting the MTC (change calls this week might change that number), with 5 companions, counting the MTC. 3 of those companions have been non-Americans, and I've only served with ONE companion from Utah. I've learned my 3rd language, and started learning a 4th. I've had 6 district leaders in the field. I've attended 2 convert baptisms, one of them being somebody I taught. I've taken hundreds of pictures, baked hundreds of cookies, biked hundreds of miles, and spent hundreds of hours reading the scriptures.
I have just 3 transfers left before "normal civilian life" comes back at me with full force. Preach My Gospel chapter 8 is a reminder about how precious time is, and how we need to use it well. I know I haven't used all of my mission time to the fullest, but I'm thankful for this brief moment to live in such a way that I am always out doing the Lord's work, in His name. Some missionaries don't like to count the time that goes by, for whatever reasons. Some missionaries spend their service in denial of time's passage. I've known from the start that full-time missionary service is just a small phase-within-the-phase-of-mortality, and that doesn't bother me. I want to be a true and dedicated servant of the Lord as I wear His name on a badge, and when it's time to take that badge off my chest, I'll continue to serve Him in important and exciting ways. This full-time service is not the one-and-only thing worth doing in this life, but I know that it is the best thing I can possibly be doing right now, and it will influence the rest of my existence as I go about doing other worthy things throughout time, and throughout eternity,
This Church is true. It gives us the opportunity to see things as they really are, and discern those things that are fleeting and subject to erosion and decay, from those things that are eternal in nature and in consequence. I am thankful for those eternal things that keep away the sorrows of mortality. I am thankful to know that I am made of the things of eternity, and that I can find joy forever through the small moments of this mortal life. I invite you all to take a moment to reflect upon your lives, and to find a way to fill the time with those things that will matter most in the eternal long-run.