My dear, wonderful family and friends,
My full time service for the Lord will come to a close here in just a few days. This will be the last e-mail sent by Elder Barker. Sad I know! :) I've thought a great deal of what I would say about the end of my mission and how dramatic I can make it... haha!
But in all seriousness I've thought a lot about what has happened the last two years and I want to give my last testimony to all of you, as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
There has been a lot that I have learned serving as a missionary. I have learned that not only is God real, He loves each and every one of us in a way we can scarcely understand. His love is endless. I have learned that I truly do have a loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who has made it possible for me to rise above myself and my faults. I've felt the healing and enabling power of His atonement fill my life. It has changed my whole being. I have learned that revelation is real. Not only for us personally, but I have come to know that revelation guides this church.
I know we have Prophets and Apostles on the earth who are guided by the spirit of the Lord. I know that the Lord restored his church through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I've met so many people who speak ill of Joseph Smith and say all manner of things about him. I've come to know Joseph Smith was an honest, good man who was called of God. The gospel restored through him has changed my life, and the lives of those I've taught.
One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 128, verse 19, which reads: "Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!" I know that these glad tidings change lives. They are definitely beautiful, at least to me.
So as Joseph says in verse 22 of this same section: "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?" I sure plan to, even when I'm home. I know this work is true, without a doubt. I wish you all well. I'm excited to see you all again!
Elder Barker, signing off.