I´m coming home....
Words that I still can´t believe. The reality that my mission is basically over is something hard to believe. I mean, you give everything (literally everything) that you have into it for two years and in return, you are eternally blessed. I have been asked several times during this time I have had as a missionary, "What is the most important thing you have learned?" and to be honest, its hard to answer that question. I have learned so much these two years that I could write a book haha. But, one of the most important lessons I learned during this time is the importance of enduring to the end. Let me give you an example to illustrate my point:
Before the mission, I was pretty dedicated to running. One of my life goals was always to complete a marathon (26.2 miles) and, if possible, do it in under 3 hours. A few months before the mission, I decided to take a shot at it and run the Oklahoma City Marathon. I remember starting out at a good, comfortable pace. Not running to hard, but fast enough to keep up with my goal pace. At about mile 10, I said good-bye to some friends I was running with and continued on the marathon course as they turned to finish the half-marathon. At that point, I decided to run considerably faster. A burst of energy came into me and I continued with that energy for quite a bit of time until mile 18. Mile 18 I hit, what runner´s call it, the "wall". In short, its when the body runs out of energy. I remember thinking " oh great, I still have another 7 miles and I´m hurting. What am I going to do now?" I continued to run through the pain until about mile 23. At mile 23, I began to think about walking. I knew that if I walked, I wouldn´t achieve me goal, that I would come across the finish line a few minutes after 3 hours. As these thoughts were running through my head, I remember seeing one of my summer coachs. He asked me how I was doing and I responsed, "Ive been better." Then, with a bit of encouragement and a energy pack, he told me to continue strong. Those last 3 miles were probably the slowest 3 miles I have ever ran in my life. But, I didnt stop. I continued strong and came across the finish line in 2:57:13.
Life is a marathon. The mission was a marathon. There were so many times I wanted to stop and walk or I hit the "wall". But I knew my end goal. I knew how many more people I could help and how much better their lives would be because I didn´t stop. I don´t have words to thank ya´ll for "pacing" me through these two years. Your e-mails, letters, and support kept me on the course and at the right pace. I will forever be grateful.
This Thursday I get on a bus to Porto Alegre, where I will stay until next Tuesday. Next Tuesday I get on a plane and arrive home on Wednesday. Next Monday I won´t have much time to talk, so it will be mostly confirming things before heading home. This week will be full of interviews, dinners, and finalizing things.
The mission was a dream come true, a life goal completed. I will bring with me some much that will help me through my next marathon called life. I want to close this chapter of my life with my testimony, something that grew so much these two years. I know that I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that this is His Church and that it was restored on the Earth again through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is another testement of Jesus Christ. I felt the Spirit testify to me of its truthfulness. Feast upon the words of Christ. Live the Gospel. But most importantly, Preach it!
Make it to mile 26.2 running!
Eu amo vocês!!!!
Um grande abraço,
Elder Cody William Buhler
Missão Brasil Porto Alegre Sul