This blog chronicles Matthew Staib's progress as he serves an LDS mission over the course of twenty-four months.

You can also read his personal blog at different, defined.

Monday, May 27, 2013

"The biggest change I have seen in myself is my testimony."

I'll get the news part out of the way. Not much has happened, really. Ray is still on board for baptism. I've been dying of allergies all week. My eyes are sore from all the itching. We're doing some more fishing today, and this is the last week of the transfer. Next week I'll see if I'm staying in or leaving Pocahontas.

I was asked by my mission president to step up my game, especially for these last few months. It made me really reflect on many, many things. It also forced me to humble myself for the sake of these next months.

I'm almost four months out until I get on the plane. My mission truly has been mine, testing my own personal beliefs, talents and personality. But I've also been able to use those beliefs, talents and personality traits to bring others into the gospel. I'll be expected to keep on using them until the final second has been fulfilled.

The biggest change I have seen in myself is my testimony. I never thought I would know Christ so well as I do now. Even though I have a mortal mind, it has nonetheless been opened to taste Christ's redeeming power and mercy over all His children, particularly me. My hope for eternal change is in Christ and nothing else. If it wasn't for the gift of repentance, I would not be able to change into who I am. I would live with files and files of sins tucked away in my head, harrowing me up until judgement day when I hand all the reports to Almighty God and say, "These are my mistakes. Every one. And they're here, just as fresh as when I first made them." At least, that is how any of us would live without the hope of forgiveness through Christ.

I am not burdened by those sins any more. I have mistakes I've recently made that I need to repent of, sure. But there are parts of my life that just don't matter to me any more because that is not who I am now. It might be hard to ask forgiveness from some, and I might never receive forgiveness from others. If they want to hold onto my past, fine. But I let go a while ago.

Listen to the prophets. Read the scriptures. Everyone is saying the same thing I'm saying right now. Look at Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah. Look at Paul. Some of the greatest missionaries of all time once destroyed hundreds of souls, yet Christ's love and hope changed them, and they never let their pasts weigh them down with shame.

Of course, after saying all this, I'm not saying I'm perfect at forgiving myself, and maybe there are some skeletons I need to get out of my closet. But I have moved on from so much, and it truly has been a blessing. Right now, my leaders are asking me to keep cleaning up my act for the sake of the souls God has prepared for me. I'll do my best.

Not sure what else to type, other than I love y'all! Thank you, friends, for the love and support you give me. Thank you, family, for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. Elder Kowalk goes home at the end of this next transfer, which makes me really sad, but I'll see him again soon.

-Elder Staib

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