Ed. note: we received a very kind email from a member of the branch in Jakobstad - she told us that they had a surprise "goodbye party" for McKay.
Here's his last email:
This was my last week. Can't wait to tell you all about it.
To all of you who will read this, I want you to know how much I have appreciated and relied on your love and support these past two years. The life of a missionary is demanding, but there is nothing more fulfilling. There have been so many moments of sheer frustration in which I have wanted to shout, "why me? What have I done to deserve this?" and also countless moments of sheer joy in which I have been driven to my knees asking the very same questions, only this time, in gratitude. If there were any doubts in my mind as to whether or not my service has been of value or whether I have made a difference, any such thought has been banished out of existence by the events of these last few days. I will never be able to say thank you enough to those who have touched my life.
My father wrote me a letter during a rather difficult time in my mission. In it, he included a poem that has become one of my favorites. The last few stanzas read:
"Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints that perhaps another, sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwreck'd brother, seeing, may take heart again.
Let us then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate,
still acheiving, still pursuing, learn to labor, and to wait."
As I depart, I am stunned with awe as I recall the greats in whose footprints I have walked, and I sincerely hope that I have left footprints worthy to follow.
And yes, those of you who know me know that I am currently bawling my eyes out. Two years as a missionary hasn't helped with that at all.
I love you all. See you in four days.
Elder Christen McKay Hansen
Finland Helsinki Mission
July 2011 - August 2013
McKay sent this picture with his email, which seems to
sum it all up - glädje (Swedish for "joy")