Friday, September 5, 2014

Every Book Comes with an Epilogue...

Okay, maybe I'm just being weird and sentimental. But does it annoy anyone else how mission blogs just suddenly end?

"Yay, Mom, I get to see you tomorrow!"
I guess I always wonder: Soooo, did you see her, or what happened there?

It would be like a Disney movie ending with the line "Hey, I'm looking forward to a happily ever after".

So I thought I'd actually finish sharing my experiences as a missionary.....

That Wednesday flying home was seriously the longest day of my life. On my flight from Paris to Detroit, there was a little monitor that showed a little plane moving across the Atlantic at an agonizingly slow pace.
I kept a close eye on that thing, and let me tell you--I'm pretty sure we went the long way around the earth.

But. I came through the airport, around that stereotypical corner, and my parents were just walking up. Those were the sweetest hugs of my life.

And then the next morning before I was released, I was able to go to the temple one last time as a missionary. I am so grateful to my parents for letting me do that. It was the ending I wanted and needed to my mission. It was such a powerful, revelatory experience. I still feel like I can't quite grasp the scope of what I felt that day.

Basically, it was one of the most spiritually overwhelming days of my life.

And then I went to my house. Dude, did you know that place actually exists?
I guess surreal is the only words I can think of to describe it.
 I ran barefoot down the field road and just stood there and stared at that little valley I love with my whole heart.
You know those weird moments where you just know your soul belongs there and everything is so complete? Man I had so many of those the first few days back.

Which is good, because I needed that reassurance that I was supposed to be there.

And then life hit fast forward and knocked me off my feet. I'm at uni again. Already. Which is crazy.
We took a major road trip out to Utah, stopping to see all of our family who conveniently live along I-70.

It's still so disorienting to wake up and realize where I am.
I still refer to myself as a missionary in my prayers.
And in case you want a good laugh, I am ALL kinds of awkward. I guess it's just payback for me mocking awkward fresh RMs before
I just don't know what to do with myself and I find myself attaching to a surrogate companion at all times.
Whenever I've been somewhere or with someone for about an hour, I freak out. I don't even have to look at my watch. My internal clock just screams at me to go.
I have driven on the left side of the road more times than I care to count (Fair warning to all Utah drivers.)
I keep trying to relate every conversation back to the gospel like it's a GQ.

But it will be okay. I know that I was called to serve, and with that came the call to someday return.

In closing, I just want to share a snippet. On my birthday, we stopped this eighteen year old kid. He didn't seem too serious, but we set a return appointment for my last morning in the field.

We stood there and waited until about ten minutes past the appointment. Great. I thought. Exactly what I wanted--my last chance to teach a lesson, and the kid doesn't show.

And then he came.

And I had one of the most perfect lessons of my mission.

Hakim is ready for the gospel. We asked him if he'd looked at the website (we'd only given him a passalong card). He said yes. He loved it. He said he felt good, and every just seemed simply, genuinely happy. And he said that's what he wants. He said he'll do the work to know if that is true.

And he closed with prayer. It was beautiful. First off-- I loved that he started by thanking Heavenly Father for letting him meet the two Mormons. I got a kick out of that. But it was what he said after that that (to me) summed up....everything.

He asked for a happy life.
He said that he knew stability would come as he developed a relationship with God.
He said that he thought maybe he had found the truth and asked God to confirm that to him.

It was so powerful.
I miss that so much--hearing the first prayer an investigator offers. It was straight to God.

And you want to know the best part? Hakim is going to be baptised next weekend.
I know. Miracles still happen.
I am so grateful I was allowed to teach him my last day.

I guess that disproves the point I started with--coming home was not the end.
The work goes on.
Because there are still so many of my brothers and my sisters who don't yet know.
Now hopefully I get to influence them---although in a different way.

Being a missionary has been such a precious, life changing experience. The gospel is perfect, and it is so real. It's the realest thing there is. Sometimes we lose sight of what matters most. My mission cemented these things for me. I am so thankful for that perfect and complete mission my Heavenly Father prepared for me.

Go home, don't go back.



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