ONE YEAR. three hundred and sixty five days. That’s the time that has passed since I last saw you. And you. And maybe you. I really can’t believe that I have been out here for so long. Now is my time to shine; these last 6 months are the ones I spent 12 months preparing for. So what have I learned in the last year? I can simplify all my lessons into one word: L O V E. These are just a few of the things I have learned to love in the last year:
1. Talking with strangers. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyone. I love expanding my comfort zone.
2. Public Transportation. I can not count the meaningful conversations I have with people on buses and trains every day. It feels so natural to talk with someone on a long train ride as opposed to a door step scene. I love pondering life looking out of a train window, and I love love love people watching in train stations. Bus stops. The most effective finding can happen at bus stops. Just this week I was eating a carrot waiting for the bus and this old lady commented how I looked like a donkey. We then got to talking about….yup you guessed it, the gospel.
3. Scripture Study. The only time I spent an hour a day studying the scriptures was when I had a Religion test coming up in college. I have come to love and appreciate that one hour of study like none other. I can’t imagine starting off my day any other way.
4. Attending Church. It’s not that I didn’t go to church before my mission, but I definitely didn’t get as much out of the experience as I could have. Even though attending church can get hectic as a missionary ‘where are my investigators? who should I sit by? Oh no, how do I tell my investigator he is not allowed to eat a messy döner in the middle of sacrament?’, it is often the most replenishing three hours of my week. I now earnestly look forward to coming to church, and I love partaking of the sacrament every week, way more than I ever did a year ago.
5. Comparing Everything To The Gospel. That is a skill you develop on a mission. The restoration is like the iPhone 5s. It’s still an iPhone, not a Samsung or an Android, but it just had an UPDATE. so now it is the FULL gospel, or iPhone. (this analogy can go on and on and deeper and deeper,but I will let you solve that yourself.)
6. Family History. The spirit of Elijah has touched my heart out here. (gosh, I know where are the napkins? this is turning into a cheese fest.) We have been working on these family booklets for an upcoming mission tour and I feel so inspired by my ancestors. There is no line between family history work and missionary work, it is one and the same. That was something I did not love, at all, before my mission, but that I now treasure.
7. Other Missionaries. Do not fret, no lock-your-heart problems, but I have come to love missionaries here. There is such a huge variety of people here but because we all have this common goal of serving the Lord, we just love each other or we learn to love each other.
I guess the point of this long email is that missions are all about love. I love this gospel, I love my Savior, and I love being a missionary. I hope you all can feel God’s love for you this week because it’s out there, I know it. I feel it.
posted by Splendidly Sar