| Sister Emma Lynn Holdaway | Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission | October 2013-May 2015 |

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Week #50--Endings are not our destiny

Wednesday night, 10:15 PM.  

I'm kneeling down at my bedside saying my nightly prayer, and I hear the phone buzz in the other room.  Thinking it's just one of the other missionaries, I finish my prayer and climb into bed, letting Hermana Vergara answer the message.  I close my eyes and try to fall asleep, although the 5 billion itching bug bites on my legs make sleeping pretty much impossible.  But then my companion calls my name saying, "Hermana Holdaway.  The phone's for you."

She brings me the phone.  I open the text, which is from my last companion, Hermana Tito, who's still in Ceiba, and read: "Hermana Holdaway.  I have bad news.  Roberto's had two heart attacks.  He's in the hosptial.  And things aren't looking too good."

Fear floods over me as I think about Roberto, the grandpa that I'd grown to love so dearly.  I call Hermana Tito, asking for more details, and she tells me that medically speaking, Roberto shouldn't even be alive.  He's still here because he's a fighter, but the doctors say that he's in his last days.  His kidneys are failing, and only 25% of his heart is functioning.  He's on oxygen and can't talk.  We don't know how much time he has left.

I couldn't sleep at all that night.  And this whole week has been a struggle, trying to smile and fake away the pain, trying to hold back my tears.  And it's been hard.  It's been hard because I've honestly never met anyone as sincere, loving, and happy as Roberto.  He was my miracle: the best convert that I've had my whole mission.  And I never thought that I would have to say goodbye like this.  And honestly, I don't even really get to say goodbye.  Thursdaymorning, I called President Klein, asking for permission to go and see him, but President Klein said no.  I don't understand why, but I know he has to have his reasons.  It's just hard knowing that I'm here in Honduras just a few short hours away while Roberto's suffering and dying, and I can't do anything about it. 

But this was just something so totally unexpected.  A few short weeks ago, I was in Ceiba, laughing and talking with Roberto, as he shared with us stories from his past and gave us chips and Coke.  And in the blink of an eye, everything changed.  I know that death is a real and necessary part of life, but who would have thought that it would come on so soon?  I didn't come on my mission expecting to say goodbye like this.  

I came on my mission to help others prepare to meet God.  And this week I've learned in a very real way that we don't know when that is.  It could be today, or it could be tomorrow.  Are you prepared to meet God?  Ask yourself that question.  And if you're not, then change what you need to change.  And change it now.  Because you don't know how much time you have left.  

I'm here is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  I'm here to help others be happy in this life and receive exaltation in the world to come.

And I know that there is a world to come.

This can't be the end.  And it isn't the end.  I know it's not.  After death, we will continue to exist.  And one day, we will resurrect, just like Jesus Christ was resurrected: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).  As a missionary, I teach and testify each and every day of the great plan of happiness that God has created for each one of His children.  And our life here on earth is only a small fraction of that plan.  Our lives didn't begin at birth and they don't end at death.  Death is hard.  Separation is hard.  Goodbyes are hard.  And honestly, this is something that I've never had to deal with before.  My grandma died when I was a little girl, but I was too young to understand, too young to remember.  But I'm not too young now.  Now, as a 20 year old, I understand death.  And it's been hard.  It's been hard because I loved Roberto.  There's a special connection that exists between missionary and convert.  It's something that's hard to explain, and it's something that I think you have to experience to understand.  It's a special kind of love.  A love that binds us together for forever.  A love that I'd never experienced before my mission.  A love that's more precious than anything else.  A love that makes saying goodbye very, very hard.

But I am grateful to understand God's plan of salvation.  I've found peace and comfort knowing that I will see my dear Roberto once again.  I don't have the words to express how honored I am to have found him and to have helped him find and know the truth.  I know that Roberto is prepared to meet God.  And I am privileged to have been a part of his life.  And I will always remember him.


Hermana Holdaway

"In the light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us?  There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings. 

Why is this?  Because we are made of the stuff of eternity.  We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number.  Endings are not our destiny.

The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all.  They are merely interruptions- temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.

How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."

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