I hope this week was wonderful for you! We're all well here, and looking forward to seeing you soon! Princess G loves your picture, but don't be sad if she's a little shy of you at first. She's going through a stage right now where new people are hard for her to cope with. You'll just have to come and stay with us for a few days before you find a job so she can get used to you.
Enough with the trunky talk. I want to tell you about the last two weeks of my mission.
|My brother Nathan (the handsome guy who lives with us) and I were missionaries at the same time. This is us at the very beginning of our missions - the MTC.|
My back felt like it was broken. My sixth pair of shoes had worn completely through. We'd had some recent disappointments with investigators. We'd had some recent successes on the ward level. I was tired, and afraid, and excited and terrified and miserable and happier than I'd ever been all at the same time.
I felt like I'd finally entered a state of perfection with the mission. I was great at being a missionary and I knew it. I had a wonderful relationship with God, I walked arm-and-arm with Christ, and my companion had become my best friend (we'd been together for three transfers). I had established a rapport with the members, and didn't even need a map to navigate the complicated city anymore. I was home.
I could have stayed forever.
I was so ready to leave.
It was an interesting conflict of emotions.
Most of all, I didn't want to be trunky. I wanted to be sprinting when I crossed the finish line.I wanted to be working. I wanted to see more miracles.
I really, really didn't want to be trunky.
So I prayed. A lot. I studied hard, and laughed harder. I began to see all the little hardships of missionary life as gems I wanted to treasure.
A pebble in my shoe was no longer an annoyance. It was a reminder of the miles and miles I had walked, wearing those holes into the soles of my shoes. It was a memory of another pebble, a year before, and the funny conversation I'd had as I removed it. It was a word I'd learned so well I didn't even have to think before saying it. It was that hill leading to a friend's house which we climbed twice a week for months before we climbed it the day we climbed it for the last time.
That pebble was my mission.
|Toward the beginning of my mission, in Liège, with my trainer, Soeur Thaini, bestie Myriam, and Soeur Marol.|
I prayed for rain. For fat, heavy, warm summer drops to flood the gutters and tear apart yet another umbrella. I wanted to trudge through the downpour. I wanted water to be dripping from my eyelashes as I knocked on doors. I wanted to laugh and jump in puddles with my holey shoes.
Because it doesn't rain like that in Utah. Because it was the last time I'd do something like that probably ever and I wanted to experience it one last time.
I struggled with the oddity of planning for my future and ignoring the idea of home.
I talked with my companion about heaven and hell and God's Plan. We discussed what we'd both learned over the course of our missions (she was headed home only six weeks after me) and realized that while we both had questions about a lot of things, we knew what the purpose of life was.
We taught a lot of lessons. A lot.
We ate really good food with some really great friends.
We rode the busses and talked with everyone. I was a contacting machine. I felt liberated from myself as I flew on the wings of the Holy Spirit, sharing, sharing, sharing because soon I'd be giving up my badge and transform from a minister of Christ's gospel into just me.
We saw miracles.
We said goodbyes.
I cried while laughing.
I was happy. So very, very happy.
I saw miracles in those last two weeks. Crazy, gorgeous miracles.
I wrote in my journal. I poured out my soul to God, and He answered. Again, and again and again, He answered me.
I finally realized that over the course of those eighteen months, I really had been changed. I was not going home the same person I was when I'd left.
And that was a good thing.
Looking back, I can see that I was always a good missionary. I had my high points and my low points, but I was a good missionary. But something happened those last two weeks. It was then, I think, that I truly became a Heavenly Messenger.
Was I tired? Oh, yeah.
Was I perfect, even then? Oh, no.
Was I afraid? Oh, yes. I was afraid I didn't measure up. That I'd slacked. That I hadn't given my all. That when I turned my mission years over to God he would shake his head and tell me they could have been better. I was terrified that I'd be found unacceptable.
I was afraid of going home. Of having to rediscover myself all over again. Of (heaven forbid!) having to date. Of the enormity of my future.
But when I prayed, I knew God loved me. I knew He was pleased with my work. I knew that He knew He'd have years more to shape me into the servant He needs me to be.
|Me, with my mission president and his wife, just before getting on the plane to come home.|
I knew I was okay.
More, I knew that I was handling "the end" well. By sprinting, I was setting the groundwork for my actions for the rest of my life. I was choosing to endure to the end. I was choosing to enjoy the journey. I was choosing God.
I was learning something which has kept me going through the ups and downs of life as just me.
So, Elder, keep working. Keep loving. Keep praying. These last two weeks just might be the most important two weeks of the rest of your life.
I love you.