Last friday night Steve and I drove to the Raleigh temple to meet
Dallin & Jaclyn, and Jaclyn's mom, Dawn. We love meeting them there.
We try to do it on a regular basis, but haven't been able to the last
few months, so it was so nice to finally do it again. Plus it was an
added bonus that Dawn was in town visiting.
After leaving the temple we drove up to Linchburg VA to spend the
night and then go get Tory at SVU early the next morning. He had
spent the week at EFY, the best week of summer...atleast that is
always what my kids say.
Guess who got their drivers license yesterday.....TORY!
He was sooo good and patient or maybe he was just happy
to put off his drivers test ;) but after 3 hours of waiting
at the DMV, it was finally his turn. The whole DMV cheered him
on as he walked out the door to the car, and when he returned
with a big smile and thumbs up we all cheered again! Way to
go Tory!!!! His friend Maggie was just after Tory, so we had to wait
to see how she did as well, she passed and got celebration cheers
as well. Yeah Maggie!
Afterwards we took the car and I showed him about
changing the oil, and then we took it to wash and vacumn it all
out. It is sooo clean now, I think he was proud to be its driver.
I think he will be the one to actually take care of it, since he
will be the only one driving her. Watch out girls, he may actually
be thinking of dating some now, atleast going out and hanging with
So I think that every missionary, at some point on the mission, imagines several important moments in his or her time as a missionary. Things like hitting the quarter marks of the mission every six months, the hump day, the walk down the escalator, the last talk in Sacrament Meeting as a missionary, and the very last email that they send. I think that everybody wants to send an email that just blows everybody away and leaves everybody excited to see them because of the changed person that they are; the spiritual metamorphosis that has occurred is evident in their last words.I think if you ask any RM then they would laugh and confirm what I am saying. There is almost this pressure on you for your last email to be super epic. Even now, writing like this, it probably feels like I am setting it up to be an epic email! :o) I pretty much have no more time left as a normal missionary. Tomorrow is my last full day of work and then on Wednesday morning I go into Sendai, spend a couple of days there with interviews and stuff, and then I am on the plane on Friday. You know, I think that everybody wants their last full week of the mission to be their best, and even to some missionaries, the last week isnt the best, and that it what makes it the best for them. So, of course in my case, I had the best last week of my mission. We topped the Zone this past week again. People came out to church, we have three people progressing, things just went good. On top of that, I spent a lot of time pondering and on my knees. Talked to President and Sister Rasmussen a good bit too. Something just happened in my heart at some point this past week that is really hard for me to explain. I just felt so much of the burden and pain of all of this lift. I think if happened the most yesterday at my last day at church. After church was over, gradually all of the members came to me and offered their thanks and love to me. There were several people who cried and some that just wouldnt let go of my hand. Especially Brother Kawase, the brother who was baptized a couple of weeks ago. He came up to me and said, well, it is hard to translate into understandable English, but he said, "Elder Page, thank you so much for teaching me and for my baptism. I will never forget you." Man, in that moment it was like a wave of emotion and thoughts. It is like 1 year and a half just poured through my mind in a split second. I started to cry and I thought in that moment, that Heavenly Father was proud of me. I felt that he couldnt be any prouder of me than he is now. I can honestly say that I have given my all to this work. Even to this day I have not had one single day that I took off. I never stopped doing what was required of me. When President gave me a blessing a couple weeks ago, he used the words, "The Lord has accepted your offering." When he said that to me then, it was the farthest thing from what I felt, but when I left the church yesterday, I felt a calm, but resoundingly powerful assurance that the Lord has accepted my offering as his full time servant. I have no regrets. Nothing that I wish I could do again or take back, and I think that is the thing that a returning missionary desires more than anything else when he goes home. I am sure that I will still have a lot of tough things and emotions that will rock me, but I know that the work that I have offered is pleasing to my Father in Heaven. That has allowed my to find more joy in the things that I did experience in my time here. I know that the work that I have been a part of is true. More than anything else that I have felt, that is what is burning in my heart the strongest. Know that I feel so so happy. I am really excited to see you all and to see how many people Mom is able to pull to the airport at 9 oclock at night! :oD I wasnt able to get everything that everybody wanted, but I am bringing home a bunch of good stuff, so dont worry. I love you all so much. I will see you on Friday, but tell Abbys roomates to not judge the RM Elder Page by the pictures at the airport because who knows what over 20 hours of traveling will do to me! haha I love you and cant wait for my hug, Mom!
Great to hear that everybody is doing so good. Even up to this day it makes me so happy to hear when everybody is doing good. :o) I wonder how many people are going to read this email? Even now just tying this I can feel the eyes watching me! Well, I dont really have anything amazing to say or tell about this past week. We were in Sendai of course and I spoke to President and Sister Rasmussen about everything on Monday. When we talked and President decided that it would be best for me to come home, the reason for that decision was not because I am crippled and not able to walk or anything like that. It was the fact that there is no Doctor who can identify the cause of the problem and therefore cant find a way to fix it, and the fact that the problem is getting progressively worse as I continue to serve a mission. I honestly dont really want to type my entire email about all of this stuff, I have already gotten my fair share of this conversation. ;o) But, I have a good week. I was obviously experiencing some emotional barriers, but I just did my best to put that all on the window seal and just keep going and doing my thing. We saw some great miracles in the work this week. The two of us, working harder than ever before have seen many blessings. We have several investigators that have really dove into the Book of Mormon and are finding a testimony in it. We were also able to find a couple of new investigators this week too, so things have kept a smile on my face. The two who were baptized last week are doing super great. Brother Kawase is about to get the priesthood, and little Rena, man is she great. Let me tell you a story about her. So her and her family live about a 40 minute journey from the church by train and bus. She always comes with her Mom, but yesterday she walked into the church door by herself. She said that her Mom couldnt come that day, but that she came the entire way herself! This is a 14 year old girl! It was one of the happiest moments of my mission, Mom. Man, this is just the life over here. The joy in the work is so so so great. With the reality of leaving here slowly sinking in, it has made the thought of separating from the people more and more painful. Yesterday as I just sat in church and sang the Hymn "I need thee every hour" in Japanese, I just started to cry. Now to be fair, it has been just one of many times I have shed tears in the past week, but there is just such a special feeling in my heart for this place and people. I decided not to tell everybody quite yet about everything, but when I told the few people that I have told, it was super hard. People that I just love more than life itself kind of thing. I have caught myself just looking at my name tag over and over again, just trying to come to grips with the idea of taking it off, but it has been something that is hard. I appreciate your prayers and support so so much. I can feel it and it makes me excited to be able to be with you all again. Dont expect some downhearted, crippled, and smile less missionary to come down that escalator in 11 days. It just wont happen. I can walk, and I can interact without showing any pain in my face at all, and I am happy. It is interesting because I am experiencing such a difficult time in so many different ways right now, more than I could explain, but It really is one of the happiest times of my life, and I will have a smile on my face when I see you again. No worries! :oD Everybody have a great week, I sure will. I love you and pray for you every single day. If you want anything else just let me know next week and I will try and get it for you.
Elder Zachary Taylor Page