I couldn’t be happier
It has been a rather eventful last week as a missionary. Heavenly Father definitely wanted to keep me busy and focused. It has been the most fulfilling week of my mission though.
My whole mission I have struggled with feeling successful. I have never felt like I’ve done enough. I always have regrets. So, at the beginning of this transfer (6 weeks ago) I prayed and fasted that by the end of my mission I would see the miracle in myself and know that I have done enough, that I have been successful, and that Heavenly Father is proud of me. Those feelings poured out so abundantly this week. I know for a fact that I have done enough and I have been incredibly successful. I could talk all day about this, but I have to pack so I can hop a plane tomorrow and see my family. So, in my final email as a missionary, I will focus on the two big things.
The first major miracle this week occurred at our outgoing missionary Temple trip. On the last week of each transfer, all the missionaries going home that week go to the Temple together, along with President and Sister Hammon. It had been some time since I had seen the three sisters missionaries with whom I had started my mission. It was a reunion like that of Ammon and his brothers in the Book of Mormon. I met one right away in the parking lot as we walked to the Temple. Then, as I entered the Temple, I met my companion from when I was in the Missionary Training Center. I ran and hugged her and immediately sobbed. She just kept saying “we made it. We actually made it”. Oh man, just thinking about it is making me cry again. We just held each other with so much accomplishment in our hearts. We used to sit together in the Temple in Provo, while at the MTC, and just dream of the day that seemed so far away when we would be going home together. Seeing her made it so real. It was so special, knowing that we had actually come all this way. We had faced so many challenges on our missions and we fought and served valiantly and made it to the most joyful peaceful end. It was so special to be in the Temple with so many missionaries that I had spent 18 months with on my mission. I have memories with almost all of them, so to move on together was the sweetest moment. I cried a lot in the Temple haha!! My last moments there were some of the most precious moments of my mission. The Spirit was tangible. I sat there and asked God how he felt about my mission. I opened my eyes and looked at the people around me and looked up and felt the most beautiful feeling. It was overwhelming. I was in the most beautiful room, in such a special place, surrounded by so many people I love. Pure joy and peace filled my heart. I knew Heavenly Father was more than proud of me. I moved onto a couch with the three other sisters I had met earlier. We sat there together and just reflected. We held each other so tight and just basked in the satisfaction. It felt like we had actually reached the end. It was the first time it felt real. All four of us went on completely different journeys, but each journey was exactly what each of us needed. To see the immense change in each of us was beautiful. Sandwiched between them I looked around again and just felt true pure love and happiness. I saw my mission flash in front of my eyes. I saw my experiences. I saw the happy and difficult times. It was surreal to be able to look around and feel the satisfaction of knowing I had made it. It was something I will feel and cherish forever. I had made it!
The next big miracle that just filled my soul with joy and worth and enoughness (idk if that is a word but I’m using it) was that Sierra, my best friend and sister, was baptized!! Her conversion story is so beautiful and precious to me. My whole mission I knew I would serve in this ward. I knew I was coming here but I didn’t know why. Sierra was my “why”. Sister Bascom and I knew we were supposed to be companions and we felt such a momentum behind us that something big was going to happen. Sierra was the reason for all of that. I taught her for the first time my very first night in the ward and Sierra was baptized and confirmed this weekend, my very last weekend as a missionary. It has been a journey with her and I will cherish it forever. Sierra is 14 and has come to church with her mom a lot. She has seen many missionaries come and go. Her mom waited and waited to know who was right and who she needed and would do the trick. The week before I got to the ward, Sister Bascom was prompted to bare her testimony on something to the Relief Society. That was the sign to her mom that it was Sierra’s time. As that began I swooped in and joined the picture. Teaching her started off tricky but the more we came over, the better it got. We became friends and would have so much fun! Heavenly Father put together the perfect companionship for Sierra. Sister Bascom related to her emotionally and was the support and example Sierra needed, and I was just a complete goof that could relate to her as if I was actually 14 too Haha!! Our nights were filled with random singing, tic tac toe games to see who prays, meme creations, inside jokes, lots of cereal, whipping, nae naes, dabs, hot cocoa, and many laughs. Slowly Sierra’s countenance changed. She was getting it and the Gospel was becoming a part of her. We saw an actual change in her and it was the most beautiful thing to watch. This week has just been full of so many “proud big sister” moments watching her. Her baptism Saturday morning filled my heart so much. She bore her testimony for the first time and it made me cry!!! The Spirit filled my heart so much that morning. It kept telling me that she was why I was here. The connection we had was special and I know was formed long before I came to the ward or even to the earth. She is so special to me. Then,the next day, to see her confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receive the Holy Ghost filled my heart even more. I am so excited to see where she goes from here. The Gospel changes lives and I am so grateful that I could be one of the people that finally helped her realize that joy. It’s just surreal to know that you are in the exact place you are supposed to be. Time stands still for a moment and you step back and realize the wonder and majesty of Heavenly Father and his divine plan. It’s like you step outside yourself for a moment and just watch something so perfect happen before you.
So many missionaries talk about baptizing on their last weekend. That’s a goal we all set. I never ever imagined I would actually be able to have that experience. It was so sacred to me. It really goes to show that God has a perfect plan and really wants me to be successful. He knew I needed that. He knew that having that experience was the exact note I needed to end on. I feel so accomplished. I came, I saw, I conquered. I always have beat myself up about my mission. I’ve always compared myself and shortchanged myself. It’s incredible to see God’s perfect plan and perfect pure love that erases all those feelings of inadequacy. God uses imperfect people to do his perfect work. I am so forever grateful that I have gotten to be a tool and instrument in the Lord’s hands for the past year and a half of my life. I am very imperfect. I have many weaknesses. But God has taken my weaknesses and made then strengths. I mean, he took my silliness and jokes that I thought only I would ever think are funny and found a girl that actually needed them in order to be converted. He took my flaws and my rough edges and made something so perfect of it. I have been a successful missionary. I have done exactly what I was sent here to do. I have made friends that will be eternal. I have been adopted into families I will keep with me forever. I do not have regrets about my mission. I know I have done enough. And that is the biggest miracle that could ever happen in me. For once in my life I feel like enough. I thank God every single day for these experiences he gave me to help me feel this.
My mission was the best experience of my life and will be the best experience for my life to come. I have changed and grown a lot. I have become fully converted. I am happier. I have more purpose. I know my worth. I know who I am and whose I am. I know my great potential in this life and in the life to come. I know the Gospel is true. I cannot believe it is coming to a close. It still hasn’t sunk in. I don’t think it will really hit me till I see my family. It’s just the craziest, most overwhelming, beautiful, terrifying, exciting feeling. My mission means the world to me. I am forever grateful for the prompting I received so long ago that despite all my protests that I needed to serve. It took a lot for me to actually get here but I am so grateful. God had a very important work for me. The scripture I was led to that made me finally decide to serve says, “lift up your heart and rejoice for the hour of your mission has come; and your tongue shall be loosed and ye shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation” D&C 31:3. My mission isn’t done as I will always be a missionary. I can really testify that my tongue was loosed and that I brought even the tiniest bit more joy and light to Riverside County. I know I have. I will forever have joy in this commission to serve. I know that blessings have come and that they will continue to come. I have truly lost my life in the service of God and I am excited to continue to lose myself and serve others for him. I love my mission so much and I love the Gospel. It is so true. I just want to shout it from the rooftops. My heart is so full and I am so happy.
I love you guys. Thank you for everything.
For the last time,
To explain some pictures though
-the last bee I got to save on the sidewalk
-we got to move airplanes at the museum this week and they let us get in them and pretend we were pilots. We found out that the plane we took pictures in is the “mona lisa of the air museum”. I just laughed and told the guy that I got to sit on the mona lisa that day
-the missionaries in my zone made me the cutest going away gift with pictures of all of them at my last pday activity taco party. It made me cry it was so sweet
-my final in n out… I looked away for a couple seconds to answer the phone and the worker TOOK MY TRAY before I was done. so I didn’t get to eat my fries. I’m still upset about it but I am trying to forgive. He was just being friendly and efficient
-lots and lots of pics of Sierra!!! I love her!!!
-and just a bunch of other lasts