Its so weird to be back here again. Writing my own blog posts instead of emailing them to my sister in law and having her put them up.
I have a whole range of emotions right now. I am sure a lot of returned missionaries have these feelings. But I gotta write them out, or I might go crazy here.
First off and foremost- I wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported me on my mission. People that I didn't expect to, wrote me and sent me packages and sent up lifting e-mails. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.
I was sitting here thinking of all the things that I wanted to write about from all the jumbled up thoughts in my head, when I really just wanted you all to understand how important the people around us are. How much of an influence we have on others. So I wanted to share a little bit about my mission that maybe you didn't read too much in my e-mails. And I just want to point out that I know I am not a blogger, nor a writer, nor a good story teller. These are just thoughts that I want to share with those who are interested.
I was in one of my favorite areas- Nagamine. I love that area so much. My companions, the members, the other missionaries. So in love with everyone. Anyway, although I still loved everything about that area, I was having... a hard time. I was still homesick, I missed my normal life. I was TIRED (undderrstatteeementt) It was my third transfer. I was with a Japanese companion, and although she is the sweetest thing on this planet, at third transfer- I just did not speak any Japanese. At least very little. So she was speaking a lot more English to me than I was speaking Japanese to her. And it was hard for me. I felt like a failure. I was in Japan, I needed to speak her language, I needed to get out and work hard, I needed to not be so tired and I needed to be more positive. Maybe it was just the lack of sleep, or the fact that I hadn't still gotten used to sleeping on the floor (after 18 weeks in), or lack of communication but I just felt so sad. I wondered often why I was there. What good I was doing. Why the Lord wanted me to be in Nagamine at this specific time. So many emotions. and a lot of them sad. A little while later, as I looked back on my third transfer (and some of my fourth) I realized that 2 specific moments happened during that time that absolutely saved me when I desperately needed it.
1.) I received a package from my singles ward. It was for Thanksgiving, and it was full of random treats, pop tarts, granola bars, little turkey drawings. It was all very cute and very sweet of them to send me something. It also came on a day where I felt like I couldn't breathe most of the day. It made me smile, and eased the pressure in my chest. But it wasn't the treats or the letters or the drawings of turkeys that saved me. It was this.
Hidden in the bottom corner of the small manila enveloped packed to the brim of candy and treats. I almost didn't see it. Maybe someone had thrown it in at the last second. But I picked up the one little pebble and looked at it, and all of a sudden I had this incredible feeling of warmth and love come over me. I knew it was the Savior telling me "I understand. I am here." I turned it over and over again in my hand. I cried and immediately said a prayer of gratitude for something that was obviously in the Lord's hands. It was a tiny pebble, the size of a quarter, but it saved me that day. I looked at it everyday from then on. It reminded me that the Savior is there for us. Always. Forever. No matter what circumstances.
2.) The second experience. I don't remember if it was before or after the pebble, but if it was after- it goes to show you how fickle I am (and I feel safe to say how fickle we all are). I again was having a hard moment. It always hit me in the mornings. I would wake up and feel like sense of "I can't do this. I can't do this." In fact, this specific morning I had felt like somehow I had lost all my faith. Never in my life had that happened to me before. I was drained. I was drained of energy, of positivity, of really any good emotion. I felt like I was going to cry any second and I had to get out of the apartment. So I asked another sister in the apartment if she would take the trash out with me. We walked outside not saying anything of importance. As we were walking back, before we walked back in, I looked at the apartment and I just started bawling. I couldn't do it. I couldn't go inside and face another day of not being able to speak Japanese to my companion, not being able to feel the spirit, not being able to pretend that I was okay. I just bawled into this sisters arms. I cried and told her that I thought I was losing my faith, that I didn't think I could do this anymore, that I didn't feel that God loved me anymore. That I couldn't feel any presence of the spirit. I cried, and she listened. And she listened and listened some more. And then she sat me down, and bore her testimony to me. She told me that God did love me. That I was supposed to be here. That I needed to go through this to make me stronger. She testified of missionary work, and even of the Japanese people. She testified of the Savior and His Atonement. She testified with love, not only for me, but for the Savior. She brought the Spirit immediately back into my heart. And I immediately knew that what she was saying was true. She saved me that day.
I have had a lot more of those moments throughout my mission than just those. I left on my mission thinking that I was going to be helping others, and serving others- and I hope I did. I hope I served others in the way that that sister missionary, and the way whoever thought to put that pebble in my package, saved me. But I came home having been helped more than I thought I would. Being changed more than I thought I would. I came home with an understanding that we are all weak. And it is OK to feel weak. It is OK to be vulnerable. It is OK to receive help from others. It is OK not to be the perfect missionary/mother/student/whateveryouare at all times. and its OK to make mistakes. Its OK to have panic attacks, and sad episodes. Its OK to be YOU. Because those things are the things that draw us closer to the Lord. Those are the things that make us realize we need to be saved, that we can't do it by ourselves. He has given us our weaknesses that we can be made strong through Him. I believe that will all of my heart.
I am so grateful for my mission. In words that I will never be able to say. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love studying about Him, and having studied Faith, Hope, Charity and Love, Virtue, Knowledge, Diligence, and Patience throughout my mission. He is the perfect example of all of those attributes. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I mean, every time I open that book, I feel lighter, I feel happier, things make more sense. I believe with all my heart that it is from God, and there are things in there that God wants us to learn about and to know. I am grateful for temples. I am grateful for prophets, I am grateful for the sacrament and church every week to feel uplifted weekly from others who have had different experiences than my own, but just as amazing. I am grateful for every single moment of my mission. From the hardest day to the best day. I am grateful for it all.
Thank you those who kept up on my blog, and wrote me, and supported me in anyway. You all have helped me so much in your each individual way. Whether you're a missionary I served with, or a family member, or even someone I haven't seen in years just reading my blog off of Facebook. You have all played a huge role in my life. I love you so much!