Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"It is a Work...but it is also a Wonder. And it is Wonderful. And you are at the heart of that Wonder." - Elder Holland

I have been home for about four months now, and the longer I am home the more my mission seems like a dream. I'm so afraid that I am going to forget things that I am constantly thinking about it, or writing down things when they come to my mind, and talking about it whenever I can. Even though I love talking about my mission, I always get nervous realizing that it's going to come up that I came home early. And there is always that awkward moment when that person pauses to try to read how you feel about that, and then you say, "its okay, I know it was the Lord's plan for me." A relief comes over their face and you continue on with the conversation. I feel like I am learning very well how to handle this situation  before it becomes depressing though. One of my favorite parts of the conversation though is when the person asked if I loved my mission and that they are sure I had an impact on so many people. My mind begins to leave that conversation and drift back to my mission when I first stepped off the plane into South Carolina and how I felt I was breathing in water it was so humid, and looking up at the sky and seeing clouds that were so huge you thought you could reach up and grab them. And to my first transfer meeting where I met my trainer and how she told me, "You are going to love Anderson. The people there are amazing." When I realized there was no sidewalks and every one just parked on people's lawns, and that everyone had side doors, screen doors, a front porch, rocking chairs, and tire swings. Or the first time someone said we could come back and share more. Or the first time to ever quote the first vision word for word standing in the middle of the road on the side of a mans truck and you both got choked up it was so powerful. And after weeks of pleading with an investigator to come to church you finally saw them walking down that hallway. And then I start to think about the people I taught. Did I really have that big of an impact on them? I mean all I did was teach them about the gospel and answer their questions to the best of my ability. The real impact was the Holy Ghost. It told me exactly what to say and when to say it, and when I listened, the investigator felt the Spirit. I taught, the Spirit testified, and the investigator began to act.
Since I have been home I received pictures and messages of baptisms, endowments, and sealings. Joe was baptized in December, Lauren was baptized in February, Erica and Brian received their endowments and were sealed together and to their three beautiful daughters in March, and Susan was baptized just this last weekend in April by Joe, her grandson. My heart has just been full to see and hear about these amazing changes for people I have come to love. It all finally clicked.....yes, I did teach these people and maybe something I said affected them, but it doesn't even begin to compare how they affected me. I realized all the years of me thinking I was being called to a specific place to help specific people, I had it all wrong. I was called to a specific place so I could meet specific people that would teach me. Joe taught me that it's never too late to change, and you can overcome any fear with faith. Lauren taught me to never let anything get in your way of doing something you love, and that if you believe and have faith in something it does turn into something you will know with all your heart, and what it really looks like to serve someone willingly and lovingly. Erica taught me to never ever give up on someone you love and to have patience in the Lord's timing. Brian taught me and reminded me the sacredness of the covenants we make and what it looked like to value the priesthood. He also taught me how to forgive and how to still care and love someone that doesn't believe the same way you do, he helped me realize my dad truly did care and respect my beliefs. Susan taught me that Satan only has as much control as we give him. She taught me that no matter how long we have been doing something that you can break the habit with faith, and taught me the value of scripture study, and what it really meant to study not just read. I could go on and on and on about all the things I learned from people on my mission, but the most important thing that I learned from every one I met on my mission, was love. These people taught me how to love someone in a way that Christ loves us. They taught me what it meant to forget myself and focus all my faith on them so that they could come to know the truth. And doing that made me feel a love that is indescribable, that burns in my heart, and that I will never forget. So when I feel that my mission is fading and that it didn't end the way I wanted it to, I remember that my mission was for a divine purpose, and it wasn't for them, it was for me.