Monday, September 21, 2015

Called to Serve

Wow.  Is this real life?
The process of choosing to come on a mission was incredible in and of it self.  Actually being a missionary was infinitely more incredible.
Being a missionary has taught me, well, a lot.  I didn't know how much I could grow and change and love and laugh and cry.  I want to tell y'all about some things I learned from each month, each area and each companion.
January 2014:  I spent the last two and a half days of January getting used to wearing my name tag and kind of freaking out about being a missionary.
Sister Crane and I the first night at the MTC
February 2014: I left my Utah mountains and the incredible experience at the MTC and entered North Carolina.  I experienced and ice storm, taught my first lessons as a missionary and had adventures with Sister Brunner.  I also met some of the people who would shape my mission, the Hendersons, the Winters, the Daniels and the Zimlinghaus.  I learned how important goals are and how faith and prayers change everything.

Sister Brunner and I had matching water bottle and bags
At the Provo temple.  I love my name tag(:
March 2014:  I experienced total heartbreak upon learning that we could no longer talk to Rachel, followed by the peace that only comes from the Savior.  I started to learn how to find joy and keep going, even when things are hard and sad.  I experienced one of the most intense lessons of my mission with the Zimlinghaus.  I fell in love with Kawanda and her family and her sketchy neighborhood.  I learned to trust the Lord in every aspect of my life.
Our super trust super hero shirts

I love the popcorn trees!

April 2014: I fell in love with being a missionary.  I loved biking and teaching and members and all of it.  I felt like I was learning and starting to figure it all out.  I also attended the Raleigh temple for the first time and enjoyed General Conference and Easter(:  I spent the last week of April in Duke hospital with my mom learning about the Priesthood and prayer and how important family is.

Easter with the Sprauges

The Temple!
May 2014: I learned it was okay to need help, to slow down and to struggle.  I experienced love and strengthened relationships.  I continued to love teaching and seeing miracles.  I was amazed by the faith of those we taught.

At Duke
Just a moment in the everyday part of being a missionary

June 2014: I saw Jenny and Timothy change so completely.  I freaked out over a text from Rachel.  I listened to Elder Coorbridge.  I spent a night in the hospital.   I witnessed two incredible baptisms.  I learned that allowing Heavenly Father to raise my vision creates more happiness than I ever imagined.
Rachels baptsim

Kawanda's baptism with the Rasmussens

July 2014:  I learned to really pray.  I saw two more incredible baptisms.  I learned that family is so much more than blood.  I came to know of a surety that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us deeply.  I also learned that I didn't actually know what hot was...
Cassie's baptism with Lydia

Amy's baptism

August 2014: I learned how quickly life can change.  I learned that sometimes, you just need your family.  I learned to trust God's plan and I experienced another side of the atonement.
packing to go home

Leaving NC

September 2014: I returned to my mission and saw that miracles are real life as I watched Josh Zimlinghaus be baptized.  I was reminded of the blessings of living prophet and apostles during general conference and realized that obedience is sooo important.
The temple!

Josh's baptism with his family and Brother Villereal

October 2014: I said goodbye to Apex and came to love Cameron.  I learned a whole new vocabulary as I tried to understand all the military words.  I learned not to judge anyone by their looks from Cathy, my unlikely best friend.  I learned to make biscuits and gravy and that military families are incredible.
Visiting Violet after she got a pacemaker

Being pirates for Halloween

November 2014: I celebrated turning 20 while serving the Lord.  I continued to meet people who changed me.  I realized that I couldn't imagine my life without the Nielsens or the Chamberlains or the Naylors.  I learned that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways. I received sweet personal revelation and was so sick of turkey after 7 thanksgiving dinners in 5 days(:
Sister Mortimer and I loved being outside!

My birthday cake and match(:

December 2014:  I realized that the Spirit is a HUGE blessing in my life.  I learned about faith in a totally new way as my district asked for and saw miracles from the Lord. I learned that Heavenly Father will always provide.  I was blessed to come to know the Savior a little bit better while bouncing from house to house. I learned to be grateful in every circumstance.
The ward Christmas party and Santa

Being Christmas trees for ugly sweater district meeting

January 2015:  I saw again and again how Heavenly Father provides.  I saw how He uses our experiences to bless others.  I learned the secrets to Mexican food and yoga.  I realized how much I love being a missionary.
I am forever grateful that the Nielsens let us live with them

The Barber girls at Sariahs baptism

February 2015:  I learned that trios make life more interesting and adventurous. I learned that it does snow in North Carolina.  I saw how trying new and different things brings blessings.  I saw how everyone can change.  I learned to make Sushi and hair bows and I said goodbye to my Cameron friends.
Our trio and pet eye "Henry B. EYEring"

The snow on transfer day!

March 2015:  I realized that Lumberton is a different world.  I learned about forgiveness.  I learned that trusting in and working with your Priesthood leaders is important.  I learned that laughing is the best medicine.
On exchange with Amber

Contacting at the flea market

April 2015:  I again realized that General Conference is such a blessing, as are Priesthood blessings.  I learned that charity and patience only come when sought after and prayed for.  I learned that dirt roads are always an adventure.  I learned that miracles come when we work hard.
Bernadette, Sister Pruner, Ninoska, Me, Leonor and Fraceska before Conference

Sister Rushton, Sister Carlile and I at the temple

May 2015:  I saw that often, the call to "invite others" often means your companion.  I learned that the refiners fire is real, but that just as the Jaredites learned, the winds always blow towards the promised land.  I remembered how sacred baptism is as I helped prepare two of my best friends for their baptisms.  I learned that asking too many questions allows Satan to destroy faith.
Flying our kites during a tropical storm

Sister Carlile and I

June 2015:  I saw how revelation comes only when we are ready.  I saw a family change as Noel and Chloe were baptized.  I ended the Sister Training Leader chapter of my mission and started the trainer chapter.  I learned about humility.  I recognized the Lords timing as the best way to accomplish anything.
Noel and Chloes baptsim

Our primary class

July 2015:  I learned the best ways to kill bugs, discovered the best public restrooms and cried over others heartbreaks.  I learned that sometimes words fail, but the Spirit never does as several times we were able to represent Jesus Christ by just being there.
Helping at the city's 4th of July event

We went modest shopping with Kiara

August 2015: I saw miracles when Devon and Darrien were finally able to be baptized.  I learned that attitude changes everything.  I was reminded the power of diversity and how beautiful the blending of cultures is in the Gospel.
Devon and Darrien's baptism with their family, the Bishop and Brother Jones

Sister James and I had matching necklaces, so we had to take a picture

September 2015:  I learned to trust my Heavenly Father.  I learned that revelation rarely comes repeatedly and powerfully.  I learned that goodbyes and changes make life sweeter, not more miserable.  I realized how the goodness of life is often in the everyday details, not so much in the big and wonderful moments.  I saw how much more I have become as I have allowed my Heavenly Father to change me.
The Pope/Carlyle family 
Sister Beard and I at the temple.  I love her.

Apex taught me that miracles are real life, that being patient brings blessings and that the promise of "angels on your right and on your left" often means other people.
Cameron taught me about humility, it taught me about heros and family.  In Cameron I learned that Heavenly Father will always provide a way for those who actively follow Him.
Sanford (for the 2 weeks) taught me about ministering to the one and about being willing to serve however you are needed.
Lumberton taught me about revelation and organization.  Here, I gained a testimony of the power of a church run not by men, but by God.  I saw how there is no race, financial or social status required to come unto Christ.
Sister Crane taught me about the blessings of obedience.
Sister Brunner taught me how to be a missionary, more through her actions than her words.  She taught me about charity and faith.  She showed me that being myself is the best person to be.
Sister Eastwood taught me to not take life to seriously.  She taught me about relating to people on a personal level.
Sister Mortimer taught me what it looks like to love everyone.  She taught me about the military and about following every prompting.
Sister Arave taught me about studying the scriptures.  She taught me about being willing to say the hard things and how prayer is often the best way to teach.
Sister Richardson taught me that my words can quickly build or destroy.  She taught me what it looks like to give your whole self to the Lord.  She taught me what it looks like to stick it out when things are hard.
Sister Pruner taught me about forgiveness.  She taught me about Canada and about recognizing every miracle.  She taught me about loving people where they are.
Sister Carlile taught me about enduring.  She showed me how important focusing on individual needs is as well as how a little bit of chocolate makes a huge difference(:
Sister Beard taught me about never giving up on anyone.  She taught me about serving the Lord with passion and about not being complacent with what is happening.

To say I have loved being a missionary wouldn't come close to the depth of my feelings.  I am grateful for the last year and a half.  I am grateful for the relationships I have developed, the people I've met, the scriptures I've learned, the testimony I've strengthened and the person I've become.  I am grateful, most of all, for the Atonement, that has daily made up for my weaknesses, that has allowed me to feel peace and forgiveness and that has allowed me to be more than I ever imagined.  I am grateful for what is to come next, because I know that as I follow the Savior, as I am obedient and as I rely on the Atonement, things will only continue to get better, and if it gets better than this...well, then I want to have those blessings.
Thank you for being a part of my mission.  Thank you for supporting me.  Thank you for praying for me.  Thank you for teaching me.  I LOVE YOU. I love the gospel.  I love my Savior. I love being a missionary.

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