Bees, miracles, and the saddest goodbyes!!
It had been an absolutely incredible week! We’ve had so many highs and lows! This week it finally rained, we got to meet incredible people, I said some of the saddest goodbyes, I realized I was a jump rope champ, we never really slept, I found out about so many miracles, and I played with a cute little bee! It has been a very memorable week. I am usually terrible at writing in my journal, but this week I have forced myself to write because it’s been so great and full of things I want to remember.
I think the number one highlight of the week is that Elder Brent H Nielson, the Executive Director of the Missionary Department for the Church, and his wife Marcia, came to visit our mission and speak with us. On Thursday, the whole south half of the mission got together in Menifee to be with them. They are the sweetest most inspiring people! I had many conversations with Marcia. She is so incredible and genuinely cares so much about us. Elder Nielson was also so powerful in everything he said. I left that meeting on a spiritual high. I literally started to cry I was so happy and full of the Spirit. They talked about so many things that just touched my soul. Elder Nielson really helped me feel that I have done a great job on my mission and that the Lord is proud of me. He helped me to understand that even more blessings will come so many years down the line. He showed the missionaries a lot of new videos and resources and it just filled me with the Spirit.
For me, two big miracles happened at this missionary conference that really made it so powerful. I went into this conference really wanting to know that I have made a difference and done enough on my mission. Immediately, the first miracle happened. I met a missionary serving in one of my old wards. We were friends so we started talking. I found out from him that in the past week he had baptized a girl whom I had taught in my first 5 weeks on my mission!! She was someone my trainer and I really loved and we just wanted to help. She knew everything was true and faithfully came to church every week but would not commit to baptism. It was so special and an answer to my prayer, just to find out that almost 18 months later she had finally made this very special decision and was a completely changed person. It made me feel so accomplished and really confirmed what Elder Nielson would later teach – that surprise success often happens way down the road, and not immediately. This just brought me to tears.
The second miracle also confirmed the hard work I have been putting in all through my mission. Elder Nielson was showing us a video made last year that they show to all the new mission presidents. The video was a bunch of converts baptized in the last 30 days saying, in a couple of words, how they discovered the Church. It was so touching and full of the Spirit! We were watching it, loving it, and feeling so motivated. Then, all of a sudden, a very familiar face popped up! A member of our ward that has now been baptized for a year was in the video! I SCREAMED for real haha! In the chapel! It was just so special. This member has since attended the Temple and we are now teaching her 14 year old daughter. It made everything seem so real to me. To see that people all over the world are having the Gospel shared with them, in so many different ways, and it is actually having such a positive impact in their lives. It made teaching her daughter seem even more special. I knew at that moment that I really am doing to the work of the Lord.
On my mission, something that I have really struggle with, is knowing if I have done enough. I always feel like I could do more or do something better. So, by the end of my mission this has really taken a toll on me. But this week has helped me so much! A member talked to us on Sunday and we really had a heart to heart. This sister is SO in tune with the Spirit, oh my gosh! She just read me like a book and completely knew all my worries. She gave me incredible advice and the help that I was fasting and praying for. It was a miracle. Later, as I reflected, I was lead to a scripture. In Jacob in the Book of Mormon it shares the allegory of a lord of a vineyard trying so hard to make it grow, but failures kept coming. After try after try after try, the Lord finally reflects and asks “what could I have done more”. That really hit me. Even the LORD asked what more they could have done. He felt inadequacies too. But, later he really reflected on things and knew that He had done all He can, and that trying was enough. If it still didn’t turn out right after He had done so much, it was okay and He could feel accomplished. I really do know that our best is enough. I have tried my very best on my mission. I have put my whole heart, might, mind and soul into this work. It doesn’t matter what happened or did not happen, because I did my very best. Giving my all is definitely “doing enough” and I know the Lord is so proud. That applies to all of us, not just those on missions. Our very best is always enough and Jesus Christ, through his atoning sacrifice, will make up the difference. We don’t have to feel inadequate, like we don’t measure up, because we have done enough if we have done our best. It was a very valuable lesson I learned this week and it keeps coming more and more full circle.
The low of the week was probably one of the saddest things I’ve had to face on my mission. Maybe I’m a little over dramatic, but it really devastated me! After the missionary conference, I had to actually say a real good-bye to all of my best friends in the mission that I may not see for a long time. I got to see Sister Fortin, Sister Preator, and Sister Moffit one last time as a missionary. Sure, I’ll see Sister Moffit soon at school, since she will be home in February. But the other two dear sisters will not be home until May and December of next year! It’s gonna be a while! I was just so sad. The amount of times I hugged Sister Moffit was insane! I just kept hugging and hugging her because I know I won’t be around her for a couple months and that this was the last time I would see her as a missionary. It was tragic. The two of us ended up making quite the scene in the hallway about an hour after the conference when we finally needed to leave. We sat there saying our finally goodbyes, hugging one last time, and crying. It was bad haha! I’ve just made the BEST friends on my mission. They are people I know will be my friend for eternity. They are just so special. I thank my Heavenly Father so much for making my best friends my missionary companions. They mean so much to me. And saying goodbye was just so hard. I know deep down, things will only get more fun from here, but there’s something so special about feeling the Spirit, doing the Lord’s most precious work, and changing peoples lives along side your best friends. I am so so so grateful for them.
Another highlight of the week… IT RAINED!!! And it was absolutely terrifying. It never ever rains in southern California, but to our surprise this week, just for one day, rain hit, and it hit HARD. We saw some pretty lightning as we drove home. Then little drops of rain started falling from the sky. Things escalated real quick and two hours later it was raining super hard and the lightning was hitting really close. Lightning would strike and the whole sky would light up, the earth would literally shake, and car alarms everywhere started to go off. It just hit one after the other. We could tell it was very close and we were getting scared. Eventually the sky lit so bright again, the ground shook, and BOOM the power was out. The lighting had hit a power line right next to our apartment complex! That’s really when we started to panic. It was just a really creepy night and everyone could feel it. We were scared and completely in the dark so we decided to say a companionship prayer. We prayed for about 5 minutes and the second I said “amen” we heard the loudest banging on our door and male voices yelling. My heart stopped. We looked at each other with terror in our faces. We kept questioning if that was our door. We actually thought we were going to die. We stayed in the bedroom a little longer and called the Elders that live in our apartment complex. No answer. Then we heard more banging. I decided to be brave and go into the other room by the door. I held the door handle and the lock and waited with my heart beating so fast. Eventually there was more banging on our door. But in the middle of our absolute panic we heard the voice from the other side call out “SISTERSSSS!!!” We opened the door. To our surprise and relief it was just the four Elders that lived in the apartment complex. They were freaked out and knew we would definitely be panicking, so they came to check on us. It wasn’t some crazy people starting a purge or something after all 🙂 It was so crazy that literally IMMEDIATELY after we said amen to our prayer we heard this banging. We prayed for safety, help, and comfort. Sure, at first we thought it was the exact opposite, but upon opening the door we realized the immediate answer to our prayers. The Elders had literally sprinted here in the pouring rain to be there the exact second our prayer ended. It was a miracle! They calmed us down a lot and gave us a flashlight. They helped so much. The power never actually did come back on that night and the crazy lightning never stopped, but we knew we were safe and being watched over. It was a miracle! The next day we got to play in the rain all day!!
So as you can see, our week has been full of many twists and turns and craziness! It has not been a normal week, but oh my goodness was it uplifting! I am trying to make every single day memorable and special. Missions don’t last forever and I want to embrace and love every day I have left because time is ticking way too fast!
Love you so much!!