Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

So life is pretty cool. I'm trying to think of a good story to tell.... oh haha forgot. I have shin splints pretty bad. So I've been gimping around a lot. And then my leg feels better but then now my knee hurts because I was trying to compensate.... 

Other than that. I went on exchange down to Los Banos/Mercy Springs, had a good time out there. This week is going to fly by... tomorrow I'm going on exchange again to Merced, come back Wednesday, Thursday is zone conference, Friday is weekly planning and then I'm going on exchange with the Coordinating Sisters afterwards, come back Saturday, and then it's Sunday and then BOOM. Preperation day again.

Next week I hit a year mark.

Mostly I'm just really in a good spot with my mission. I'm almost everything I ever wanted to be.... STL, training, Spanish area, native companion that loves me, fantastic leadership, lots of missionaries around all the time... Really everything is super good. Our area is finally progressing... I feel like I just got here. Things are progressing now, we're baptizing the next two weekends. Transfers are in like three weeks-ish. I have no idea if I'm staying or going, but I'm pretty much for sure going to have a new companion. I might train again... I don't know. I've achieved so much of what I wanted to do that I don't really know where to go from here. And then I'm just in this weird place where I'm realizing I'm going home soon. So I feel like now I'm supposed to start mentally preparing for the future.... my life has so much meaning right now and I just don't know how I'm going to make the switch. I'm the missionary I've always wanted to become (almost, at least I'm on track), but I'm not exactly sure if I've become the person I wanted to become. So I'm afraid I'm going to get home and not be able to be a missionary anymore, so it won't super matter, and then I'll just be a person... I don't know. It's really weird. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do to prepare. I've just had a big barrier between my past, present and future.... didn't touch the past or future at all for almost a year. and now I'm not really ever going to go back to the past, but the future is mattering more to me. But I don't want to shortchange my last 6 months by planning for the future... but if you ARE supposed to prepare to go home, you are so in tune with the Spirit and things, they tell you you aren't supposed to just ignore home... so I don't know. It's weird. I just don't want to get distracted, but I want to be ready.
 It's just hard because I also really want to extend. All of the things I've loved being out here.... but, kind of like a natural progression, I'm just starting to miss life. I had a dream the other night that I came home and walked into the basement and just having everyone be so excited... and then I realized in my dream that I still had 6 months left and it was just some weird checkpoint and I had to leave and it about broke my heart, I was sure I couldn't actually leave again. But... this is a one time experience.... I don't know. Really what my biggest concern is money. I'm not really sure how I'm going to pay for college and to live out in Utah, but I know if I can just get a good job fast I am 100% confident that I will be able to support myself. It's just getting started that concerns me. But I have the faith and experience to know that God will provide for whatever is best for me.

 I really like being an STL because now I'm not worried about what unproductive things my companion is doing while I'm gone. so it's good. My area is still progressing, and I like it because I get to spend 1 on 1 time with my sisters. You have the liberty to slow down and just talk to them about what's important to them, their struggles.... I've learned on my mission how many 1 on 1 hours it takes to really help someone and help them be converted. Children, converts, other missionaries.... there's not a lot of things you can do to REALLY help someone when you do it by mass teaching. So I love mass teaching, but I really love having a calling where I can make it all about them and try to come up with solutions. Also, they typically are really grateful for advice. It's awesome how quickly you can gain their confidence when they feel like you are really listening and that you take time from other important things just to listen to them. I've learned a lot about being a good listener to both people and the Spirit, and also about asking questions. I've learned how to reverse teach on my mission. I teach by asking questions a lot more and let them teach themselves through answering my questions. It's really awesome. And the lessons stick way longer because it was something they discovered. But yeah. I have a lot more value on 1 on 1 time now.

Haha I'm not really sure who the new me is, but.... I'm hoping it's better than who I was when I left. Like all missionaries, my biggest fear is that I won't keep up with all the changes I've made. But I think I will. 

Like our family wasn't perfect, but we really did have consistent prayers as a family twice a day, and we read scriptures regularly, and we had family home evening... just so you know, all of those skills are super important as a missionary. Like just know the stories from the scriptures that a surprising amount of missionaries come without.... and then teaching FHE is really really good prep for being a missionary and teaching all the time. And I loved it when we started sharing something we learned or were impressed by after scripture reading, that's a skill even more advanced that a lot of missionaries have to learn. how to apply doctrine. i can just see more and more why these things are so important.

I know that God is always taking extreme care of me. It's awesome to have a some many miracle stories about fasting and tithing and obedience and faith as a missionary, I've been really blessed with a lot of personal experience and it helps me be a  better missionary. Now I can really tell people that they need to do crazy things because God makes crazier things happen, because I'm not just telling them to do it, I've seen it.

 I have had a really bizzare mission with a LOT of trials that other missionaries don't have to go through... but then each of them have trials that I am SO grateful that I don't have to go through! Like one elder who I'm friends with just found out a month ago his dad has a really severe case of cancer.... I don't know how I could handle that. But I think I told you before, I was going through a really hard time about 6 months ago, and I asked Elder Cook for a blessing. I'll never forget what he said. "The Lord know how you work and operate and he is carefully placing trials in your life." And he repeated that again later..... I feel so much more like a delicate piece of art when I remember that. He doesn't just toss in "mystery trials" from his bag of "becoming perfect tricks", he knows exactly what we need to become who we need to become. so awesome.

Love you so much!!! Until next week!

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