Hey y'all! Now that I've been back for a month and a half, I figured it's probably time to update this thing. So I thought I'd share my feelings about my mission, since that's been my life the past 18 months! Central Florida will always hold a special place in my heart! :)
My mission was definitely a fantastic experience! I'll never forget it, and I will always cherish the things I learned and the way I grew! I know without a doubt that this is the true church of Jesus Christ! I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! Before my mission, I knew that the church was true, but now, I know WHY and HOW it's true! It never ceases to amaze me just how much Heavenly Father loves us and how much He knows us! I don't think there's a way to put into words the way I feel about this gospel! I'm just SO thankful I went on a mission! Best decision of my life!
I miss everything about missionary work. I miss testifying to random people all the time. I miss feeling an overwhelming sense of the power of the Spirit! I miss all the amazing people in Florida I had the opportunity to meet. I miss putting on my name tag every day. I miss seeing that amazing change the gospel brings into people's lives every day. I miss being an official representative of Jesus Christ. Shoot, I even miss all the persecution and getting yelled at all the time and all the heartaches that come with missionary work when people reject the gospel of our Savior. I'd take it all back, if only I could have that joy of serving back!
I was just thinking yesterday morning about taking it all back. Would I be willing to go back and do it all over again? Would I be willing to leave for another year and a half of my life? Would I be willing to take back all the extremely hard times, those times where I was just so heartbroken that I didn't know what to do with myself? (I don't think you can understand the heartbreak a missionary goes through over and OVER again unless you've been there... there's no way to describe the despair that comes over you when someone you have grown to love rejects the one thing that will bring them back to the presence of our Heavenly Father and Savior). Would I be willing to be laughed at to my face again? Would I be willing to again endure people screaming at me and telling me that the things I am doing are of the devil? Would I be willing to again just smile at people who tell me I need to quit what I'm doing and "go home to Mommy and Daddy?"
The answer is YES!!! YES!!!! I would go back and do it all over again in a heartbeat, if only it meant that I would have the opportunity to change just one person's life around and help them find their way back to our Heavenly Father and our Savior. That's what missionary work is all about. There's no way to properly describe the joy that comes from serving the Lord. But I think Ammon describes it pretty well. :)
In Alma 26:27-30, it says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world- not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God. And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again. And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some."
This whole chapter is amazing (Go read it HERE) but I REALLY love these verses! It perfectly describes what a missionary goes through, and why! And I really would do it all again if I could! Because that one soul matters to God!
So yes, I miss my mission! But I'm also happy to be home. As my mission president put it as we were leaving, "You're leaving something amazing to go do something else that just's as good, if not better! You have your whole lives ahead of you!" I needed this experience of serving a mission. It really will help shape the rest of my life! And although I'm still sad about not serving full-time anymore, that has only motivated me more to make sure I can feel that missionary spirit for the rest of my life! I've realized that I don't have to be a full-time missionary to bring someone into the joy of the gospel!
So would I do it again? Yes. Double yes. Am I doing it again? Yes, just on a smaller scale! It's not quite the same, but it's what God needs me to do right now, so it's what I'll do! "I'll go where You want me to go!"
Now go out there and SHARE THE GOSPEL!!!!!
(By the way, if any of y'all have any questions about my mission, feel free to message me! I love talking about my mission! It might just create another series of blog posts!) :)