Today marks my ONE YEAR of being home. Time just flies, and I cannot believe how far I’ve come. A year a go I had set goals, made plans and had my life all set…Today, I look back and realize most of those have fallen through. However, I am as happy as can be because the Lord has a plan for me, an even better one. I have been able to see so many blessings in my life from serving a mission. It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but a day has not gone by without thinking of the lessons I have learned from serving the Lord. It was an experience that has set me up for success. As I look back at the things the Lord put me through it is starting to make sense. I had originally been called to Albania, but He needed me to go elsewhere. I was MAD, because I had spent so much time learning that insanely hard language. Now I can see that there were people in Rochester, New York that I needed to take on tour, people I needed to teach, and missionaries I needed to befriend. The end of my mission came earlier because I had been so sick. It is something at the time that had distressed me to no end. Something I was so worried about, has just proven to work out. I want to post some of the most influential pictures from my time with a name tag. Feel free to just look and/or read. Ask questions to if your interested 🙂
While in the Mission Training Center I became very sick and was unfit to leave the country. It was devastating to know I would not get to go to Albania, to continue with the Elders and Sisters that I had come to know and Love. It was hard to know I would not be a “Motra.” One of the Elders gave me a letter for when I got to New York. He had said that “Once a Motra, Always a Motra.” Albania will always be part of my heart, even if I have never seen it, I will always be a Motra (Sister).
This is my Mission President Jack R. Christianson and his beautiful wife Sister Christianson. They are two individuals that are dedicated and willing to serve the Lord. Both taught me to fill my potential, the power of repentance, and the importance of reading my scriptures. There were many times when I had to rely on President and his decisions. At times I found them curious when it came to companions, but in the end he had worked it out with the Lord and they knew what was right for me in the end. I am grateful for their sacrifice for serving, and President still owes me a round of golf!
This was one of the first families I had the pleasure of teaching. Daniel taught me to love the Book of Mormon. He had led a life that didn’t fit the norm. He had spent most of his years in prison. He had reminded me of the brave men in the Book of Mormon that had rough lives, but chose to change them. He taught me about repentance, and faith. His baptism was a big deal to him as he said “Most girls get big days, they get weddings. But I get an even bigger day, a baptism and a birthday!”
Not everyone gets be a SITE SISTER! My favorite part of my mission was giving tours. I met thousands of people from all over the world, and I was able to take them through the sacred sites in Palmyra NY. The major thing I learned from serving as a site sister is that members of the church need to be uplifted. It is not only those who are not of our faith that need to be taught, but we are all his children. Many times I have heard that Site Sisters are viewed as “less” because they are not teaching to baptize. What Elder Costa taught us was you can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed. This was proven to me time and time again. I love the knowledge I gained, and that I was trusted with the most important part of this gospel, the Cradle of the Restoration.
I learned the value of a child. I learned that Heavenly Father loves them no matter what.I learned so many things of what to do with my kids, and many things I would never want to see a child go through. Children are truly innocent, and they are so intelligent. It gave me a drive to help kids who have nothing. To understand that I was a privileged child, and that I should never be selfish with the things I have. No matter what these kids go through there is always someone looking out for them, their Heavenly Father.
I was supposed to finish my mission in July of 2011…and yes that is John Wayne and sparkling cider…Things didn’t turn out that way. I finished on November 16, 2010. My biggest fear was that people would not think I had served a “full” mission, or a “real” mission. What I have come to learn is that I did, I did what the Lord asked me to do. I finished everything he needed me to do. I can’t believe it has been a whole year. I am humbled to have had the experience. It was PERFECT for me. He led me through hard times and good times. I had amazing companions. I loved each one of them and learned so many good things from them. I know that Heavenly Father loves me. I finished the Book of Mormon in the Grandin Building and prayed about it, and came to know it is true. I know that if we pray answers will come. I’m grateful for the blessings I have received.
A BIG THANK YOU TO MY FAMILY
They supported me through the entire thing, packages, letters, and prayers. I am the luckiest girl alive. I am happy to be back with them.