January 29, 2015

End of One Adventure, Onto the Next One!

You know, coming to the end of the mission everything just starts to fall into place. I think I have never felt the Spirit so strongly in everything I did - helping the sisters, teaching moments, finding new investigators, talking on the street, studying - everything was just ONE with the Spirit! Which, in the end, is really the best and most effective way to do missionary work. It was just quite sad because it was at the very end. I feel like I was leaving just as I learned to be a real missionary.

Did I do anything special or different my last week?
Well, no, I ...worked!
I was bound and determined to finish up my mission running here there and everywhere, and that is exactly what happened :) Endure to the end!

We had a few dinners with some members that I realllly love, and a day of running around and saying goodbye instead of packing my suitcases, and a wonderful goodbye party that the members put together where they sang hymns for us and of course I cried but there was Coca-Cola which made it all better.

My LAST day in Sousa turned out to be a real scramble! (Of course.) We get to the bus station, ready to buy bus tickets for the bus that leaves at noon and gets to Natal 9pm but....wait. There is no bus on Tuesdays. SAY WHATTTTTTT!!!! The next few hours were a mess of bartering and begging and praying and trying to find some transport from the middle of nowhere to the mission office so I could, you know, have a last interview and catch my plane and stuff. In the end, we found a van that was willing to take the 6 of us, with luggage, to Natal. FAMILY ROAD TRIP TIME! Everyone was very cuddly for the 6 hours it took, our luggage on top of the van tied on tight. It was really neat, because the missionaries that were going to train that upcoming transfer went with us to Natal which included: Sister Lawrence! (my lovable comp!) and Sister Are'valo!(my best friend ever!) so the car ride was really quite enjoyable.

I guess the biggest surreal moment was when we got there to hear the testimonies of all the newbies on the mission. Woahhh. Brought me back to my first day on the mission. But the most interesting thing was... the difference in the testimony. Listening to each new missionary, I felt the Spirit. It was wonderful. But their words were just that...words. They believe with all their heart what they are saying, and have had quite a few incredible experiences in their lives that have given them these testimonies. But they haven't lived their testimonies. They haven't defended their testimonies day in and day out. They haven't had the privilege of sharing their testimonies not only daily, but hourly. They haven't been torn down in their weakest spots just to be rebuilt again, stronger. They haven't yet learned to rely on the Atonement, for forgiveness, for faith, for physical strength, for patience and love. In short, they haven't served their mission yet.

And the difference between the testimony meeting on Tuesday, which the missionaries just arriving, and the testimony meeting on Wednesday, with the missionaries going home...there are just no words to explain.

I'm grateful for what Heavenly Father has created in the past 18 months. I didn't notice the changes in me, because I was too busy worrying about everybody else. That's good, that's what real service is. But without me noticing, Heavenly Father built me up into a true servant, a faithful servant, and a prepared servant. I'm ready to take my place in His Church, preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ. I'm ready to be a wife and a mother, I'm ready to serve in whatever calling, great or small, that he calls me. I'm ready. And I'm grateful for the Atonement of Christ that made me who I am today.

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