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Coming Home: The Final Days

Monday, April 6, 2015

(I'm going to transition this blog into my personal blog since my other blog--www.witnessinginwindycity.blogspot.com--has been more of my personal blog for the past year and a half, so bear with me while I overlap for a bit:)




I swore I wasn't going to be that RM that finished her mission, flew home, and then went MIA, leaving all her blog readers wondering if she ever made it out alive. 

Aaaaaand.....yet.....here I am. 


>>>AWKWARD<<< 


Good news is I am alive. That's miracle #1. 

Miracle #2 is that I'm actually getting this post up before the end of my first transfer home... virtual high 5 please:) 



Ok....where do I even start?? 

Leaving the mission was one of the hardest, sweetest, most spiritual, difficult, rewarding, heartbreaking things I've ever done. 

Those last couple weeks were TOUGH.....like up-until-the-last-day kind of tough. I passed out not once, not twice...but three times the morning of my last P-day and they were all pretty severe soooooo...my champ of a comp called for reinforcements....gotta love them EMT's:

Basically.....I wrote my last email to President and home from a hopsital bed, hooked up to a million wires, waiting for blood work results, and for a freakishly large IV bag to quit dripping. 


I had the distinct impression the week before when I was writing president that that last week was going to be tough. Funny how the spirit is always right. That week was hard and that ER trip seemed to be the icing on the cake. BUT, yet, through it all, I had the assuring feeling that the Lord knew what He was doing. I guess I would have felt like a fish out of water if that week hadn't been hard:) So when that prompting came, I remember praying, "Alright then. Thy will be done. Let's do this." 

Aaaaaaand....we did. Aaaaaand it was tough....we had investigators cancel appointments on us faster than Simon cuts auditioners off of X-factor.... but we managed, with a lot of prayer, to fill our days with service, visits, and most importantly, the SPIRIT. 



Speaking of the spirit, L. TOM PERRY CAME TO ADDRESS US!!! Talk about a spiritual fire hose. And oh my gosh, it was amazing!!! The whole time he was talking I felt like I was on the edge of my seat. Everything he said is what I've been preaching my entire mission..... that creativity is crucial in missionary work!! Yea and get this....this is a direct quote, "I'm disappointed with the number of hours you're spending tracting. That's as outdated as I was as a full time missionary!--if you can't think of anything else more creative to do you're not being inspired!" 

YES. 

Yes yes yes. This is what I've been waiting to hear (and putting into practice) my whole mission. Then he said, "Get CREATIVE!!!" Oh. my. gosh. I have a new favorite apostle! Haha! Seriously, he was such a joy to listen to....and...turns out, he served his mission here as well! 

He mentioned, "I send my favorites to Chicago!" What a gem:) Basically, that meeting was one of the most precious meetings of my mission and not surprisingly, it was exactly what I needed to hear before I head home to become a MEMBER MISSIONARY!!! 

Psyched

I have a lot more notes from his talk, but I'll probably put them up in a different post with more thoughts later....so stay posted:) 

Finally, those last few days of the mission were difficult, but it's called enduring to the END for a reason. So I endured:) Towards the end of the week (specifically the night before transfers) I remember getting on my knees and begging the Lord to accept my offering of this mission. I begged Him to confirm to me that this mission was pleasing in His sight and that I had done well. I wanted to know that I had completed my work here and had finished all that I needed to do in the time I'd been given to serve. 

The thoughts of doubt and self-judgment weighed heavily on me over the next day as we drove to transfer meeting. I wondered if I had done everything I was meany to do as a missionary, if I had done my best....if I had given my all. I was nervous about the future, wondering about the next chapter of my life, how I would "adjust" back to "normal" life, confused about my purpose in this next stage, and completely torn between my love of the mission and my love of the good things next to come. 


We finally sang our mission song, Hope of Israel, at the close of the meeting, and tears streamed down my face as all of us--"Zion's Army"--shot up to stand and fist punched the air during the last verse as we sang, "Hope of Israel, rise in might, with the sword of truth and might!" 

I have stood with Zion's Army. I've fought with the Hope of Israel for the past 18 months. We have risen in might. We have fought for Zion. We have fought against sin, and we have conquered. 

I could barely sing those words as the thoughts of resigning from the ranks of that army of valiant youth began to sink in. It is hard to walk off that field.....SO hard. And it hit me as we stood on the stand, singing that song one last time, just how sweet this experience has been

It hit me again as I then said goodbye with many tears to the companions I've come to love with all my heart. They have become--literally--sisters to me and how I LOVE those girls!! 

We were then whisked away into vans and shuttled to the temple where we attended an endowment session, even though I can't say how much we absorbed--I'm pretty sure all of our thoughts were a million miles away. 

However, as we were sitting there, I offered up a silent prayer, begging Heavenly Father to again witness to me that my mission was acceptable to Him. The clear prompting came, "When you get to the Celestial Room, open up the scriptures, and I will answer you." 


My heart was filled. And sure enough, by the time we got to the Celestial Room, I couldn't get my hands on the scriptures fast enough. I flipped opened the scripture and my eyes immediately fell to the first sentence of Alma 39:17 which reads, "And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject." I wept. And then the clear prompting came to then flip to the doctrine and covenants. I did so and the pages fell open to D&C section 6. 

I began reading in verse 9 and continued reading, receiving clear instruction from the spirit that I have done the work I was sent to do, and not only that, but that my work as a missionary does not end here. That brought such peace and comfort to my heart. This is not the end. My test is not over.....it's just begun. This 18 months is my MTC for the rest of my life:) This is just the beginning of a lifetime of missionary work! 

YAY!! 

Then, I continued on to verses 22 and 23 which reads, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" 

And I wept again! 

The Lord answered my prayers SO specifically and directly that my heart was FILLED and my mind was flooded with memories of those nights when I begged Him on my knees for answers to that same question and He gave it. Or those moments when I doubted and He responded to me by comforting me and assuring me that my work was worth it. 

All those memories and many more came flooding back into my mind and it was as if those few verses were being spoken to me by God himself!!! It was an experience I will NEVER forget!! It has been worth it! It IS acceptable to Him! 

He made that very clear to me that day in the temple and how grateful I was that day walking out of that Celestial Room for the blessing of heaven on earth--temples. It is there that God speaks to us--specifically and individually--about the real and deep problems and concerns that we face, and it is there that he speaks peace to our minds and comfort to our souls! AH!!! He is there and that day in the temple, I heard His voice in my heart! 



After the temple, we went to the mission home, had dinner (which consisted of each missionaries' requested dish....I KNOW....my mission president's wife is an ANGEL!:) and then we had an AMAZING evening together sharing testimonies, hearing from our mission president, his wife, the senior couples and then we got to have interviews and a blessing from President. 

AH!! I can't even express what that time with him meant to me! I don't think I've ever come to love a priesthood holder in my life more than President Woodbury. Every minute I get to spend with him leaves me wanting to be a better person. I got to sit there with him and visit with him, learn from him, cry with him, and pray with him one last time.....and that as well, is an experience I will never forget. 

He has changed my life forever and I will be forever grateful for him in my life! 

It was about 1am by the time we got to bed and with so many missionaries going home (there were 34 of us) any empty space in the entire mission home was taken up by fold-out mattresses and sleeping bags, so I opted for the luxury suite--a closet. Trust me....it WAS actually luxury....it was dark, secluded, and quite:).....hard to come by with 30+ people going to bed at all different times, lights still on everywhere, laughter, whispers, crying, showers running, footsteps going up and down stairs, and the occasional door slam. So yes....the closet suite was VERY appealing:

#livininstyle


 At first, I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep, I had SO many thoughts running through my head. Trust me....it's the STRANGEST feeling in the world lying there, wondering if this is actually happening. I just felt numb while my mind was going 90 miles an hour. But before I knew it, I was out like a light and next thing I knew, my alarm was going off at 4 am. Then it was showering, getting ready, last minute packing, doing make up and hair with a hand held mirror in the living room because all the bathrooms were being used, prayers in the foyer with President and Sis Woodbury and then I GOT TO HUG PRESIDENT

I have waited 18 1/2 LONG MONTHS for that hug and it was OH SO SWEET!!!!!! 

That was probably the HARDEST goodbye of my mission. It RIPPED my heart out to leave him, not being able to even come close to expressing how much I have grow to love and admire him. It was SO hard to walk away, to get into that van, knowing that I would never again serve as a missionary in his mission. 

But luckily, they whisked us into the vans quickly and off we went to the airport while it was still dark. We got there, and said more goodbyes, got our luggage checked easily... 


(thank heavens.....because i seriously HATE TSA with a passion.......seriously....who would ever chose to work a job like that where you KNOW that people don't even like you and all you do all day is get people in trouble, pop people's bubbles, and take stuff from them?? I don't get it......ANWAYS......tangent.....;) 


And before I knew it, I was sitting on a plane, WITHOUT A COMPANION, and ready to bawl my eyes out looking at the Chicago skyline for the last time (yea that's kinda dramatic, but it's how you feel as a missionary) and feeling SO completely and utterly alone, confused, overwhelmed, nervous, excited, sad, anxious, and content.....ALL AT THE SAME TIME

If you think being a girl is emotional rough, try being a girl, a sister missionary, going home from a mission, AND at that time of the month..... 

>>>RECIPE for WRECK<<<



So while wallowing in my own self pity, and legitimately debating how I was going to kill the next hour-long plane ride, I got a VERY clear prompting that was about to change the rest of my journey home.... and far beyond..... 


But this post is already TOO long....soooooo....wait till the next post to find out what that prompting was, how I brought a guy home, and more juicy details of life as an oh-so-awkward RM:



**you can thank me later**



Stay posted for more coming soon!!!




This place has my <3!!!! always will....


pics of the last p-day.....ah.....good times....(sorry their blurry:/)


my comp is an ANGEL:)

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