I am sitting here in my apartment. My roommates are getting ready for dates. One of them keeps asking me if she can wear my navy blue J.Crew sweater. I tell her yes. She decided not to wear it. Good, I think the red sweater she chose looks better on her. Currently, This is my life. It's a monumental different scenario from what life was like a year ago. I remember it so well. At this time, I was sitting in my Stake Presidents office and having him tell me that I was released from my duties as a missionary. It seemed almost like a dream and a nightmare, and a sick joke all mixed together and I had to accept it as my realty.
I remember that Friday morning. That May 24th, 2013. Sister Miller came and picked me up from the house I was staying at in Cottonwood heights. We put my suitcase in her car and we drove to the airport. I knew Sister Miller was talking to me in that car ride to the airport, I just don't remember anything she said. The only thing I could focus on was the fact that I was being sent home. I had been on a mission for 94 days. 41 of them has been spent at the MTC. 94 days and I was already returning home. I just couldn't understand how this scenario was happening to me.
I never wanted to go on a mission. It just seemed almost silly for me to go. I wasn't someone who you would think would be a good candidate for a mission. I never went to Seminary. I often thought that Institute was a joke. I also had some significant health issues that couldn't be ignored. You don't mess around with Lupus and history of blood clots to the lungs. But, When I decided to go on a mission, I was obsessed with it. December 12, 2012 will always be such a great day. I overcame those odds and sent in my papers. I received my mission call on January 11th, 2013. I left for the Mission field on February 20th, 2013.
But, here I was standing in line to receive my boarding ticket. The man who was checking my paperwork, made a comment that about how the missionary was returning home. I think the look I gave him was enough for him to not ask anymore questions. I was a missionary returning home. He knew it was a premature return date. I boarded my plane. Sat in the fifth row, window seat. I looked out the window and swore I would never go back to Utah.
( if you have been reading my blog lately, you know I broke that promise.) I returned. I chose to jump and make myself a happier person. You see, being sent home did a number on me. It was a hard year. I spent months sobbing to myself as I fell asleep, asking the question "why has I not been good enough to stay?"
I realize now, that I spent an incredibly long time wasting such a perfect gift. Heavenly Father gave me the biggest blessing, the biggest favor that I could have been given. He gave me a second chance at turning things around in my personal life. When I wanted to serve him, He served me in such a perfect way. The only regret I have is not realizing it sooner.
We often think as trials as being a bad thing. The biggest blessing in my life caused me the most pain. (and left some wicked scars on my abdomen) Isn't that funny how that works out?
I guess the point that I am trying to make is that I am so glad I am not in charge of how my life plays out. Heavenly Father knows what is best for us and what is going to help us. He knows how to get us there, even if we have to go kicking and screaming.
A year ago, on May 24th, 2013. God showed how much he loved me as I waited for my plane to take off.
I chose to title this post life, because that's exactly what happened. Life happened. For those Who know, or don't know, or just curious, i have decided that it was time to tell what happened. Maybe to help answer question's and to let a whole lot of healing in, and to move on. The reader digest version of My story goes like this. I made The decision to serve a mission in January 2012, but then completely chickened out. I moved to Arizona and had what Is still to this day or was, The Best year of My life. But, fall came around and That feeling came into My stomach, you know that feeling when you know you are supposed to do something? Well, i had it and i knew i needed to go on a mission, so i once again restarted The process of preparing for a mission, which was not an easy task when two blood clots and lupus sit at The top of your health resume. I got turned down once, gave up, but then two months later i told myself it had to be done and My mission papers were submitted 7 days later. 12-12-12 will forever hold a special place in my heart. I received my mission call on January 11th and entered the
MTC on the twentieth of February. Now, to save time, i'll just say that it was the best. Mission are simply the best. They are hard, you cry and you struggle, but then the most amazing thing happens and it's magical and there are not words to describe how much they mean to you.
but life happens
and nightmares come true
and you go home
and you go through all emotions. you're torn on what to do next. Do you stay and fight or do you just simply move on.
That decisions was something that I really struggled with. I had family and friends all telling me what I should and shouldn't do.
I was lost, and hurt, and confused
But, I realized that sometimes life just has to happen. I have a sick body. A blessing given to me by an all loving Heavenly Father, which I have only chosen to seen as a burden. I have slowly and quite painfully come to the realization that he wants me to be happy, truly happy, and like most of us know we need a little darkness to fully see the stars.
and we need the rough time
to make the good times better
and we look back at the ninety three days I got. The sweetest, most treasured days and remember how I almost had none. Sometimes, I think that I gave up too easily and should I have stayed in fight and gave it another good.
but he wants us to be happy, including me
and that involves trusting in his plan,
and seeing the darkness as a gift rather than a burden
Todo lo puedo en jesucristo que fortalece
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The first couple of days at the MTC are the most overwhelming days of your life. The Second day at the MTC will be the longest days of your life. Prepare yourselves for it now. It's completely overwhelming and you are thinking to yourself about how you regret everything. it will be okay. Just make it to Sunday, and then the time at the MTC flies by incredibly fast. Missions are really interesting. The days are long, but the weeks fly by and in no time you will be off to your mission.
You get these little cards at the MTC with the picture that you submitted with your papers. You need to have this card at all times, so bring a lanyard or the MTC bookstore has these really cools lanyard things. You also get $8.00 a week on your card, which is perfect because on each floor in the dormitory there are vending machines with so much food and perfect way to beat the late night hungers. Especially on Tuesday nights because you skipped dinner to go to devotional.
If you are learning a new language, you get a set of scriptures in that language.
The MTC bookstore is the best. It has everything in it, so you can buy study material, candy, um more candy ( no wonder my gall bladder broke) You can also buy MTC sweat pants (BUY THE SWEAT PANTS) and the stripling warriors mama's boys shirts. It is a Men's shirt but I just had to have it. I love representin that Helaman's army. Oh, and you can get everything engraved at the MTC bookstore...for free! It truly is the happiest place on earth.
be prepared to wait for your visa..for like a really long time. It will come eventually. Everything works out in Heavenly Fathers time. Don't stress. be cool and enjoy the ride.
Bring your patriarchal blessing. I know this may sound like a no brainier, but I forgot mine and I really wished I had it during my time at the MTC. You can also get it laminated for like a nickle.
Once a week you have a service assignment, where you just clean for like an hour and half. It's kind of fun and it gets you out of the classroom. ( be prepared to spend like 11 hours a day there)
Most of the time in your classroom in your district studying by themselves. you see your teachers for like 3 hours. Usually once in the morning and then in the evening.
If you are learning a new language, you use this computer program called TALL. It is incredibly obnoxious, but my best advice would be to use it for your good. It is there for a purpose and you can learn really good grammar techniques from it. Also, it's sign off song will be stuck in your head until you reach the Celestial Kingdom.
On your very first day, be prepared for your teachers to only speak to you in your mission language. It is so scary! BUT IT GETS BETTER. I promise you.
This girl in my zone had a 42 minute wall sit and gym and currently holds the record. I dare you to break it.
The musical numbers at the MTC are the craziest, most amazing thing ever. It's like America's got talent-mormon style. This really isn't advice but be prepared to be amazed. If you are amazingly talent, audition!
Getting a seat in Choir is a challenge. be prepared to leave an hour before it even starts. The choir director is amazing by the way.
You WILL have the moment where you are walking out of devotional with a trillion other missionaries and you get you lost from your companion and the first thought that goes through your head is "MY GOSH, THEY COULD BE SINNING!" relax. everything will be okay. Disclaimer: you probably shouldn't make obnoxious bird sounds like I did. I'll be mature one day....
Get the bottom bunk. Life is just easier on the bottom bunk.
Now that I am at home and resting my useless gall bladder. ( I named him Goliath) I decided to make a list of all the stuff that somebody should have told me about serving a mission. Hopefully this list can help a future sista out!
The MTC is the greatest place..if you make it that way. Your attitude will depict exactly how your time at the MTC will go. If you are happy and excited like I was, then the seven weeks ( or however long you are going to be there for) will be the happiest and greatest time of your life. If you just want to go and get out into the field, like every other missionary does, then you will see the MTC as just a waste of time. PLEASE do not have this attitude. I will look back at the time i spent at the MTC for the rest of my life and I was so incredibly blessed to have been able to spend it with the people that I got to spend it with.
The MTC blankets are straight up the nastiest things you will ever see. Bring your own sheets and blankets. Oh and bring two pillows. You will be thanking me....
Skip dinner on Tuesday night and get a good seat at devotional. Small sacrifice but it is so worth it.
The 2M gym is the coolest and nobody uses it. Be cool and use it.
You are NOT a real missionary at the MTC until you play four square. It will be the most intense game of your life. Elders do not mess around.
Bring a journal just for devotional talks. You can keep this throughout your mission and have General Conference talks in there also.
This one will be hard for most people to take in. DO NOT bring a lot of clothing. It's extra weight and I promise you that will only wear not even half of it. You will buy more clothing on your mission and people will just give you the cutest clothing ever. this I promise you. Again, you will thank me...
My Favorite thing about P-Day at the MTC was going to every floor and looking through the give away boxes. When missionaries leave the MTC and are trying to make weight limit for their luggage, they just give away adorable clothing. (if they only had read the above rule) My friends and I on P-Day would go to each floor and ransack those boxes. We called ourselves the P-DAY Pirates, REMEMBER THE NAME.
I brought tons of shoes with me. Some things cannot be sacrificed. I recommend more shoes, less clothing.
If you want to send pictures home in your emails, you are going to need a USB card drive for your camera card. Be a cool kid and have one of these. You seriously will be the most popular person in the Laundry room. If only I had a brought one...
So, my district was insane but on P-Day we woke up at 5 AM and did laundry at 5:10 AM and nobody was there and we would write letters and eat breakfast and then go to the temple ( we had the 9:10 assignment) and then we go back to our dorms and sleep all day. It was party in the USA. I highly recommend doing this.
The last p-day my district had together, we did a district picnic and it was so fun. I wish we had done this more. Make your district do this.
If you are learning a new language, speak it all the time. In the classroom, in the cafeteria, while your brushing teeth, everywhere and anywhere. You will sound like a buffoon, but Heavenly Father will notice your efforts and will bless you with the Gift of tongues so much sooner. This is something I highly, highly recommend.
Write in your journal every single day. This is something that I wish I had done. The MTC is once in a lifetime opportunity and you are going to want to remember it.
On each floor of the dormitory there are couches and there was often sisters crying on it. They were called the "cry couches" DON'T CRY ( okay you can cry) I promise you it gets better....and worse. But it's supposed to be like this. This is how being a servant for the Lord is supposed to be. He loves you so much and if you are doing your best and giving your all, he is so happy. I promise.
Ask the Elders to give you a blessing. They will be so happy and honored that you trust them enough and I promise you that it will one of the best blessings you have ever received. The priesthood is the coolest.
Bring pictures of your family and put it on your planner. You can look at them everyday and it will motivate you to share the gospel because the gospel truly does bless families and you will want all those you meet to have the same blessings that we have, in knowing that families can be together forever.
The wrap bar at the MTC is the yummiest. I only ate wraps and cereal. There is also tons of cantaloupe.
be prepared to become best friends with the Elders and Sister in your district. You will love them so much and they will mean so much to you. The second you meet your companion, just choose to love them. They were picked for a specific reason to be your companion and you can learn so much from them if you choose to do so. My companion and I were perfect for each other and I miss her so much! ( shout out to Hermana Gomez!)
This journey is incredible. Being a missionary is crazy and life changing, but one of the best decisions that you could ever make for you and your future family. Your testimony will grow, your knowledge of the scriptures will grow, and your love for Heavenly Father and the Savior and his Atonement will grow. The missionary life is the craziest ride you will ever ride but it so worth it and there is no need to ever be afraid, because you are never alone.
Ladies and Gentleman, Last week I had my first baptism.....and it was a disaster. Everything that could go wrong went wrong that night. *preface: Abner and Maria are perfect. They are the example of prepared and I love them so much. A week before their baptism, they were really freaking out and we promised them that everything that night would be perfect and they need not to worry. We were SO wrong.
Saturday night rolled around and we went to the stake center to get ready for the baptism. We ended up finding a regional stake dance going on. Yup, like 500 youth awkwardly dancing to Justin Beiber. perfect. Now don't get me wrong, I am a total fan of the Biebs, but "if I were my girlfriend..." doesn't really bring in the spirit that a missionary desires for the baptism of their investigators. It took some time but we were finally able to convince the DJ to play the music as low as possible and when the actual ordnance was taking place to turn the music off completely. 500 teens HATED us that night.
One of the reasons why Abner and Maria were so nervous for their baptism was that they were scared that a ton of people would be there. We assured them that 20 people TOPS would be there. Wellllllll, the beloved Relief Society president called and texted every single person in the ward to tell them about the baptism. The baptism area had around 60 people, we had ran out of programs, had people frantically setting up chairs, the district leader was laughing his head off at us, and were getting really funny/creative comments about the fiesta going on next door. My favorite comment of the night was
"THIS IS THE HIPPEST BAPTISM EVER!"
I am pretty sure my response was like "this is the worst night of my life" So, we got everyone seated and were ready to go until we realized that we couldn't find Maria. Oh, you know the person getting BAPTIZED. So we were running around frantically trying to find them and every time we ran past the gym we would cover our ears and start saying the first vision in Spanish. We are so cool. We finally found Maria'a Mom and asked "Donde Esta su Hija" She said Walmart. Apparently, when she drove in she saw like 9000 cars and realized that she needed to go buy more food. bless her heart. She finally showed up, got changed, we took pictures, and tried our hardest to ignore Beyonce. ( this was a trial for me because we all know that B and I are tight)
The baptism service started and It was so wonderful (minus the screaming mob of youth every time 1D was played) Maria's brother gave the talk on baptism and it was so beautiful. He really loves her and was so excited for her to feel the happiness that he felt. It was perfect. Maria and Abner looked so beautiful in white and I am so greatful that Heavenly Father trusted me enough to be there to see them follow the example of Jesus Christ. Maria could not stop crying. The spirit was so strong. She even said that she was so grateful she did not wait to get baptized. Happiest day ever.
The rest of the service was perfect. It didn't even matter that we could all hear Michael Jackson's Thriller going on during the rest of the talks because Maria and Abner had chosen to follow the example of the Savior and we were all so touched by their faith. Sister Reed sang "Mas Cerca Dios De Ti" ( the Spanish version of Nearer My God To Thee) It was so beautiful and the spirit was so powerful.
I said the closing prayer and I thanked them in it for the example that they had set for us, to put their fear aside and have faith in the One who gave his life for us. I also said that they would have the opportunity to attend the temple in a year and that they could be sealed forever and ever and that they should never lose sight of this goal.
I remember walking out exhausted and sooo ready for bed. We walked pass the door where the youth dance was going on and "party in the USA" was being played. and I laughed so hard and then Sister Stroud, Reed and I talked about the Party that Heavenly Father must had been having in Heaving in knowing that two of his children were on there way home.