Monday, July 17, 2017

Final Thoughts as a Full-Time Missionary

It's really strange thinking that this is the last email that I will write as a full-time missionary. I've been pondering a lot lately, and I wanted to do something I don't usually do: include an entry from my journal. This was from Friday night.

"I've been pondering a lot today. Starting tomorrow, I only have four days left in the mission field, and it's really made me think. As the
time grows shorter and shorter, I start to think about all of the things I'm going to miss. I even think of things, that at times, I haven't been very fond of, and feel really sentimental when I think about them being gone. It's really starting to sink in, and I'm realizing just how much I'm going to miss this place, these people, and this calling. It makes me really glad, that although I've made plenty of mistakes, and occasionally taken things for granted, by and large, I honestly believe that I've done the best I could, and thanks to the amazing gift of repentance, I can know that it's enough for Him. I think back to some of my previous areas, and how sad I was to leave them, and the fact that the Lord always had a place prepared for me with new lessons to learn and new people to love. I know the Lord will do it again. It doesn't make it easy to leave, but it does give me a lot of comfort. I've never been so torn in different directions, but I know that all of the blessings I've received and the changes that have taken place in myself, are only because I tried my best to follow God and be in the places he needed me to be.”

I'm grateful to everyone for all the support and prayers! They've been felt many times!

I love the gospel! I love this mission! I love the Lord! And I love all of you!

I'll see you soon!
Elder Excell

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Baptism & my last ever District Council

Hey everybody!

This last week has been a good one! We had another baptism!
And, I went to my last ever district council! Our district leader asked me if I would share some of the wisdom I've gained over the course of my mission, haha. It’s crazy to think I’m to this point!

We also started teaching a lot of great people this last week who are excited to be baptized. I might not ever be there to see it, but the important part is that they'll be able to find the gospel! And it will leave whichever missionaries come into the area behind Elder Holmes and I in a really good place!

I have a lot of things to get done today so I’m sorry this is short.  Soon I’ll be able to tell you everything in person!

I love you all!

Just a bit of a size difference between
Elder Holmes and Elder Tocigl

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lift them up so they can feel the Savior's love

It's finally happened...
Hey everybody!

This last week has been a good one! There were two really cool things I want to share.

The first is the new investigator/upcoming baptism we found this last week named Elizabeth. She's awesome! She's a referral that we received from some missionaries in the west mission, and she had already been taught everything and was ready to be baptized. Nothing like a little miracle baptism popping up to make your week! She and her member roommate Jamie read a chapter from the Book of Mormon every day, and she always has great questions for us every time we come by.

The second thing is the Saunders family. I think I've told you lots about them in the past, but there's been a few new developments. Just to recap for those who haven't heard before; it's a mom (Angela), her 13 year old daughter (Realena), and her 9 year old son (Levi). They live in the same house as a less active member named Eric and his Mom, Candi.  The family has been learning for a while now, and they're all amazing! Levi had an especially cool experience this last week. He's such a cute kid, and he always cracks me up too. The only thing holding them back from being baptized is their father’s permission. He just wants to make sure that his kids know enough. For a few weeks now Levi's been praying to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet. And we found out yesterday that he finally feels like he's received an answer from God that it's true! He's amazing! The whole family has had a really tough time the last few days though. Eric went to the hospital and might possibly have colon cancer. We've been praying for him a lot. Angela's also been really stressed out with everything going on lately, but last night we had a great lesson with her that helped her to feel peace through the gospel. I think that's one of my favorite things about the mission is the frequency with which we find people who are just in terrible places in their lives and lift them up so they can feel the Savior's love.

I love you all!
Elder Excell
A picture we snagged while Levi wasn't watching. The first time we taught about praying to know if what we taught is true, he said, "hold on one second". And ran out of the room on to the porch. We snagged this picture, and when he came back in and we asked why he left, he said he had to hurry and pray. Such a great kid!

Q&A -- 07/03/2017
1.) Do you know if anyone else is leaving the same day as you? Will you be traveling with someone else or by yourself? -- There's one sister missionary, who's going to Rexburg, but I don't know if she's on the same flight or not.

2.) Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July?  --  Just missionary work and BBQ!

3.) How many investigators did you have at church this week?  --  A pretty low number this week. Only 5. Which is crazy, because that would be a high number in most of my other areas, haha.