Just as a little update:
Trammell is still in Phnom Penh.
He was transferred to a different part of Phnom Penh to work in a threesome for one week.
One of his companions was then transferred to be the Assistant to the Mission President in the office and the other companion went home.
He then received a new (as in fresh off the airplane) companion from America and another new (as in new to the area) companionship to work the area with.
So he was supposed to show them around and introduce them to members and investigators.....even though he had only been there one week.
He is loving his mission.
He loves his companion.
He loves the Cambodians.
He's Trammell: he loves life.
So he wrote a little email saying that he was just sending a short email because the Mission President is going home in 3 weeks and requested that all the elders email him about something they have learned while on their missions.
Here is Trammell's -
"My favorite line of Preach My Gospel is: “As your understanding of Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase.” T
he experience that I am most grateful for in my mission are the experiences with the Atonement that I have been able to witness and that have helped me to personally come unto my Savior Jesus Christ and have strengthened my faith in Him and in the power and reality of His truly infinite and eternal Atonement.
I remember, in my first area, a family of five who had three boys, just like my family. I remember that when I first got there, we hadn’t started teaching the father, but after a little while he finally started joining in.
At first he didn’t really understand and we questioned his belief and understanding, yet after a while he started leading his family in walking along the gospel path. One of my last nights there, we learned of how miraculous this truly was. He said that before he started learning with us, he hated his family and was scared of his wife. He said that he would go out and drink every night, and then come home and start to beat his children until his wife came out and yelled at him to stop. His wife added that he also had issues with the Law of Chastity for which she wasn’t sure that she could forgive him.
From just that one experience, I saw the power of the Atonement. I saw that the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and only the Atonement, could heal this entire family, and it had just begun to do so. I saw that the Atonement had the power to help a drunken father, change his heart to quit drinking, quit hitting his children, and start loving them again. I saw that the Atonement had the power to bring a husband and a wife separated through sin, together in love and forgiveness, but that only the Atonement of Jesus Christ had the power to do so, and that they could only do it through Him.
Then in my second area, I met a man who had just become a member. He had a wife and two daughters, yet the Atonement was what had held them together. Before he had joined the church, he too had issues with the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom. Before, he didn’t even know if he could love his wife anymore, and had even tried to start other relationships. Yet after he had repented, and after he had joined the church, I saw that he truly loved his family, that he truly loved his daughters and his wife, and that it was only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
He helped us teach an older man who had a rough relationship with his family because his wife was Vietnamese and her kids didn’t speak Cambodian. He would always say he thought it was better if he was just by himself without his family. Yet I watched as the Atonement healed this family and changed their hearts so that they loved each other and wanted to go the temple with each other to be sealed as an eternal family.
I saw a Cambodian father who didn’t know a word of Vietnamese start to love his Vietnamese children, who didn’t know a word of Cambodian. He also told us that before, he used to be a mean guy. He said that he used to carry a gun, shoot people, drink, and only cared about himself. But as he learned with us, and as the Atonement worked in his life, he became a loving father, a loving husband, and a worthy priesthood holder.
Finally, however, I am most grateful to my Heavenly Father for my own personal experience with the Atonement of the Savior that I have been able to have because of my service here as a missionary. Before my mission, I went through the motions. I may have gone to seminary, but I didn’t know the scriptures in depth. I didn’t know what living the gospel truly meant. I didn’t know what the Atonement truly was. I still don’t, but through the blessing of being able to serve as a missionary, I have come to understand just a little portion of that.
I have seen that as I have yielded myself to His will and to His commandments, I have been purified, I have been healed, I have come to know Him, and understand just a little portion of His love. As I said, I still don’t know it completely, but I know that it is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the experiences that I have had here in my mission, I have come to set my life on the right path to truly find joy, peace, and salvation. I wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for this experience serving a mission, and for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is why I am eternally grateful for.
I think of one of my favorite quotes by President Gordon B. Hinckley when he talked about the blessing of a mission. He talked about how some missionaries think that the Lord owes them blessings, but truly, this mission will set our life’s on the right path to receive His blessings, and that for our sacrifice and for our work, we will be blessed for our lives. I have seen that and realized that as I think about where I was in my life at this time even a year ago, and am eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father that He has allowed me this opportunity to serve Him as a full-time missionary, so that I may have my own personal experience with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and set my life on the right path.
I can now bear testimony and witness that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. That in the Garden of Gethsemane, He took upon Himself our sins, our afflictions, our weaknesses, and our sicknesses. This was a choice of His. He could have known by revelation how to help us, yet, I bear witness that He still took these things upon Himself in the flesh, and as a result He can succor us. I know that with that pain, He shed His precious, holy, royal blood from every pore, and that with each drop of blood is His love and His mercy. I know that on the cross He suffered even more, and that His suffering in the garden and on the cross is beyond our comprehension, yet He chose to die, because He knew the Lord’s will, and He knew it had to be done for our Salvation. I know that three days later, He rose from the dead, and that He lives today! I know He lives! I know He is the Savior, I know He is the Redeemer, and it is in His name, Jesus Christ, I say these things, amen."