Omega and Alpha.
And yet, the beginning.
Yes it's that time. Time to step on the gas, burn up whatever is left in the tank, and see how far I can push this thing before they take it away from me.
Some would say it's the end. In a sense they're right. The end of a name tag. The end of a title. The end of a period.
But also some would say it's the beginning. They're right. The beginning of a new life. The beginning of a balanced discipleship. The beginning of a new period, to bring with me every single lesson I've learned out here, and apply it to new scenarios, situations, callings, assignments, relationships, and jobs.
Just like in a track race, isn't it funny that the finish line and the starting line are, in fact, the same line?
So as I finish this lap, the lap with the name-tag and full time assignment, I have in mind the next lap. I see in my minds eye a path, the path that I would walk. I am often reminded of the words, penned by the late Gordon B. Hinckley in his hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" (LDS Hymns, #135)
"Oh give me thy sweet spirit still,
The peace that comes alone from thee,
The faith to walk the lonely road
That leads to thine eternity."
The lonely road stands ahead. The spacious building stands all around. Distractions await and pitfalls lie before, but God shall be my strength and my deliverer. In Him I shall trust and never fall. My fear will be consumed by faith in my Savior, in my Jesus.
For the last time to you, as a set apart and titled missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I bear you this witness:
I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father.
I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the saviour and redeemer of the world.
I know that in a grove of trees in the year 1820, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the 14 year old Joseph Smith Jr., and commanded him to restore the true and authorized Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.
I know that within this church, the true and living priesthood of Jesus Christ is alive and well, performing all of the sacred ordinances necessary for our salvation.
I know that through that sacred authority, Thomas S. Monson is a living oracle of God. A Prophet and a mouthpiece of the Lord, the 16th in our dispensation.
I know that The Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. Written by His ancient prophets, and translated by His modern prophet for our benefit and blessing in our day.
And to you I leave this witness in the name of my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
-Elder Ted E. Bear