Well here's the last email I'll be sending to you all as an Elder! I know that I slacked a lot towards the end there, but that’s ok. It was probably a nice break from "Pastor Holmes" as my mission buddies call me haha. I want to firstly thank you all so much for your love, prayers, and support (both spiritual and temporal.) I truly feel that I would not have been able to do it without you all praying for me. I'll never be able to repay you for what you've done for me.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about my mission experience. What I've seen, what I've lived, what I've accomplished, what I've done wrong, regrets, things I'm proud of, and everything in between. I've thought about the lessons I've learned, the majority of which I learned the hard way, the things that have changed my life and even my eternities. Every night, the faces of those I've met flash in my mind and I'm overwhelmed with the love I feel for these people. People who in reality, were strangers to me not so long ago. People I didn’t even know existed until I got to the mission. I've wondered how it's possible that I love these people so much, being that I was only with them for such a short time. Leaving them behind will be harder than it was to leave you all behind, because I don’t know if I'll see their faces again in this life. At least I knew I'd see you guys again when I walked away. As I pondered this, I realized that I feel so much love for them because of the sacrifice-marked served I was serving them with, and in my service to them, I was serving and sacrificing for God. And in this way, I came to feel so much love for them and in doing so, developing a profound love for Him.
As I came to understand this principle, my thoughts were turned to the Savior and the love He has for us. I thought of the service that He did. He, being the King of kings, could have had armies at His service, kings tending to His every need, cities and kingdoms dedicated to His well-being. But He humbly embarked in the service of His fellow man healing, teaching, guiding, raising the dead, and even blessing those who hated Him. Even suffering the weight of an eternity's worth of sin and the justice that was required to pay the price of said sin. He, being pure, let unclean men beat, humiliate, and kill Him. He gave everything to serve us. Putting Himself in between us and justice, He saved us. With all of these things spinning in my mind I thought, "Why? Why would He do this? Why was He willing to do what He did? Why would He pay for sins that were not His and would never be His? Why would He, an innocent man, pay such a high price for us who aren’t innocent?" And the Spirit whispered to me, "Because He loved you in the beginning, He loved you in Gethsemane, and He loves you now." He did it out of love. I think of how much love I feel for those I served and realize that the service I did for them is NOTHING compared to the service that Christ did for us. And if I feel this much love for those I served, I can’t even begin to imagine how much He loves all of us. And how much more does God the Father love us? I am a witness of God the Father's love for us through His Son Jesus Christ. After all, one of Christ's names is Emmanuel, which means "God with us". He loved us enough in the beginning to offer Himself as the Savior, He loved us enough in Gethsemane and the cross to atone and die for us feeling all of our pains, sicknesses, and temptations, He loves us enough now to suffer with us at our sides as we suffer these very pains, sicknesses, and temptations, and He will love us enough in that great and terrible day of judgement to once again stand between us and justice, and extend His mercy to us and plead for our well-being. He has always loved us and will always love us. As His Atonement is infinite, His love is also infinite. Of that, I have no doubts.
I am in an eternal debt with the Lord for my mission. I thought that my mission would be the way that I'd pay Him back, but now I realize that I have a lot more to pay Him back for. I plan to live my life in service to Him, never forgetting that I love Him because He loved me first. The mission gave me a glimpse of who I can become and the potential that He sees in me. It has given me direction and purpose in my life. I have felt connected to Him, to my ancestors, to my Grandma Dixie, to my future family and to the families of those I have served. I have developed an unshakeable foundation of a testimony upon which I will build a full and truly converted testimony as I go about this life learning and progressing. Although this is the end of my mission, this is not the end of my sacrificed-marked service to My Savior and to My God. I am convinced that the mission saved me from dark and twisty paths and has put me on the Road to Discipleship. I am proud to be a member of this church and a son of God. I do not doubt this church as the true church, Thomas S Monson as a prophet, and the Book of Mormon and the Bible as true scripture. I know that Joseph Smith was a true and faithful prophet of God and hope to one day have the Faith and Courage he had. I love the mission and it hurts me to leave it behind, but I know that God has a plan for me and it doesn’t end here. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I want to invite you all to my homecoming talk! I will actually be giving 2! One in my old ward in Plain City and the other in my Dad´s new ward in Farr West! I'll be speaking in the Farr West 4th ward (2132 W 2700 N, Farr West, Utah) on October 15th at 11 am and the Plain City 5th ward (4575 W 2125 N, Plain City, Utah) on October 22nd at 9 am
-Elder Cade Holmes
|The biggest colony of parrots in ARG|