Well, this will be my concluding letter of my mission. I will be leaving from here in Tyumen early Monday morning and I won't have another opportunity to email again. It sure is a strange feeling that my mission experience here in Russia is coming to an end.
This week has been a good week, but it has been a pretty hard struggle as well, just realizing I will be going home so soon. It blows my mind that it's already been more than two years from the day I left. Honestly, Russia has just become my life... the culture, food, people, apartments, and just the Russian everyday life feels so normal to me, I cant imagine waking up and not looking out my window and seeing the big cement apartment buildings. I love Russia so much and I am going to really miss it. I will miss the people the most. I have so many mixed feelings going on right now. There are so many amazing Russian people, and I found it so unfortunate that they have so many difficult challenges in life. They fight so hard against the temptations of drinking, smoking and moral standards. However, once you get passed all the problems they face and truly get to know them for who they really are, you find that that they are the most amazing and loving people. I know that I have made some friendships that will last forever.
While on my mission during these last two years, I have learned some extremely valuable lessons. I don't feel like I am a master of the scriptures or the most fluent Russian speaker in the world, but I have realized a little bit more of what life is all about. I can't really decide which lesson I've learned is the most valuable one, but one of the most important is that I have learned that everything ETERNAL starts with LOVE. I understand now what love really is. I have realized that God really does love me, even though I have many, many faults that I struggle with often. However, all the struggles and hardships I go through always seem to turn out for my benefit and a much needed lesson is always to be learned. I guess we call it the "refining process" that all of us have to endure. I have also realized that Jesus Christ loves me and that only through His Atonement can I progress and apply His love. I also have felt the love I have for my Heavenly Father and Christ grow as I have had the chance to rearrange my priorities and my whole outlook on life. I know now why I do what I do and why I am who I am. God is a God of LOVE ETERNAL and there is proof of it everywhere... especially in the Atonement. I may not fully understand the Atonement, but I can be grateful and try to apply it and continue learning from it. On my mission, I have had the greatest chance to feel that love of God flow thru me. My love for the people here in Russia and those back at home has grown more than I ever expected. Most importantly, I have grown to love My Heavenly Father and because of that I have experienced an increase in my love for my parents, siblings, extended family and all those who surround me. I have also experienced an increase in my willingness to do service, to make people happy, and live right. Some people think that if we just shut off our hearts and just stop loving then maybe life might be easier and they wouldn't have as many problems in their lives to contend with. Those that think this way couldn't be more wrong. To me, LIFE is LOVE... truly living with a purpose.
I know that these past two years have been filled with more love than I can comprehend. I know God and Jesus Christ love us and we just need to love back. We need to show love one to another.
I know that these two years have been put to good use in preaching the only true Gospel and in the only true way to apply that love from our Heavenly Father. I wouldn't trade these past two years for anything in the world because I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be true. I know Joseph Smith to be a true prophet who restored the Gospel to the earth. I know Christ died and Atoned for each of us and He lives today. I am grateful for the plan of salvation, for eternal families and to know that God's love is Eternal. These past two years have been the best years of my life and everyday I spent here in Russia was worth it!!
As I prepare to leave Russia and return home, I will leave a part of my heart with the beautiful Russian people and their culture. I will reflect back often on these last two years with fond memories and I will carry a prayer in my heart that the church will continue to grow strong, the people of Russia need the Gospel in their lives. I am grateful for such an amazing experience.
До свидания России (Good bye Russia...)
Elder Chad M. Dewey
Elder Chad M. Dewey
To my friends and family who have supported me through these last two years I thank you and I will see you soon!