Second, anyone else shocked/mindblown that my mission is almost over?? Anyone else feel like I just left?? Those are my only thoughts today. I remember at the beginning of my mission all I wanted was for time to fly by. Now, like most missionaries in my spot, there isn't a lot I wouldn't give to make time stop. Unfortunately "this too shall pass" applies equally to good and bad times. To avoid getting sappy or dramatic or crying at the library (that last one was a joke) I decided to share with you all a couple of things I have learned on my mission. I call it 10 things I've learned/been reminded of on my mission. Some are dumb, others are cool, and they are in no particular order.
1. If something is important to you, you'll make time for it. If not, you'll make an excuse
I can't even begin to describe how many people I've taught who would say that going to church was important to them, but then would never come. They would say that reading the scriptures is important, yet we would always get an excuse for why they didn't read or pray or come to church. I have also been blessed to meet people throughout my mission who say something is important, and they show it too because they actually do it. As Sister Sonasi always says, "we need to throw all of our excuses out the window" because in all honesty, they really aren't that good.
2. The little things are the big things
I started collecting change fairly early on in my mission. Reactions from people were various. I had some companions think I was weird, some helped me out, and one started competing with me. Whenever I told someone though, I always seemed to find someone who would tell me I was wasting my time and my efforts wouldn't add up to anything. As of when I counted last, I have collected $40.41 in change over the last 18 months. Diligent effort in the little things adds up. Spiritually speaking, weekly church attendance, daily scripture study, and daily prayer seem like little things that don't matter, but over time and in the end they add up to a very significant result.
3. The Spirit is the same in every language
This one I learned most powerfully in the Korean Branch (who would've guessed right?) In a language and culture I didn't understand even a little bit, I was still able to feel God's love and the Holy Ghost testify to me. On the flip side, I have also taught a lot of people who's first language isn't English. The Spirit still testifies. "Proficency in [the language of the Spirit] permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart." (Thomas S. Monson Preach My Gospel p. 133) I may not have mastered Korean or Marshallese or Samoan or Tongan or Arabic; but I do know when the Spirit is there. And when the Spirit is in a place hearts are touched and lives are changed.
4. There is no comfort in the growth zone, and there is no growth in the comfort zone
A mission doesn't just push you gently out of your comfort zone, it throws you outside and then locks the door so you can't come back inside. It's painful and uncomfortable, but those times in my mission were the times I look back and see the most growth in myself. I'm pretty sure part of the reason they make missionaries go home is because you get comfortable with all of this and need to grow again.
5. There's life after Ridgecrest
Credit for this one goes to Sister Bryan who told me when she was released from teaching seminary she learned that there's life after seminary. When I left Ridgecrest my world seemed to be shattered and I KNEW for a fact that I would never love an area as much as I loved it there. Life continued on, and I fell in love with Federal Way and then Kent. It was just another opportunity to grow.
6. The power of prayer
I have spent more time on my knees in the past 18 months than I have ever before, and there is a difference. Through those hours and conversations with Heavenly Father personal revelation has come. Testimony has been solidified. Comfort has been given, and perhaps most importantly I've come to truly know for certain that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father whom I can converse with at any time, and in any place. And an answer will come.
7. "VerHoef" is hard to say
I'm pretty sure it's the "hoef" part that throws everybody off. I have had maybe ten people my entire mission say my name right on the first try without me helping. My first zone leaders said I was "greenie" on their board for my first transfer until they finally learned how to say my name. The best part about my name though: It has lead to a TON of conversations about family history. The conversation usually starts out with "where is your name from?" or "Is it German?" And we proceed from there. Cash flow money.
8. I have never regretted following a prompting of the Spirit, and I have always regretted not
The first part of my mission was me learning how the Spirit works/is this prompting coming from the Spirit or myself? Once I understood those, it turned into working up the courage to follow those promptings. I'm nowhere near perfect at it, but the confirmation I get each time I follow one is one of the sweetest things I've felt my entire mission.
9. Men in Kent got no game
'nuff said. The pickup lines guys tried to use were the best in Ridgecrest. Fedway was decent. Kent is just sad and gross.
10. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church once again established on the earth
This one I knew before my mission--I wouldn't waste a year and a half of my life talking about it if I didn't know it. But I've had it reaffirmed to me over and over as I have taught the restoration hundreds of times. I'm all out of doubts; it's true. I've got a TON of questions all the time, but my doubts about everything have run out. Jesus Christ is the head of this church. We have a prophet and apostles who lead us today and point the way to Christ. The Book of Mormon and Bible are true, and combined with sincere prayer is how each of us can come to know these truths for ourselves.
I love my mission. Alma 28 describes in one sentence the best description that I've ever heard. "And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy . . . ." You love big and you hurt big on a mission. I've never had my heart broken so many times or experienced so many sorrows, but all of that can't even compare to the joy that has come to my life as well. I've seen miracles day in and day out, and I've come to truly know who my heavenly Father and Savior are--which I would say is the crowning event of my entire mission.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way the past 18 months--especially my parents. I wouldn't be here without you two!
I've gotta sign off now (this is the really weird part). I love you all. I'll be seeing some of you soon.
For the final time over email,
p.s. for missionaries still out, my home email is firstname.lastname@example.org
So once upon a time there was a ward in Kent named Clark Lake.
And there were 8 missionaries serving in it.
At the same time.
|Sister Peterson, Sister Henderson, Elder Graham, Elder John, Elder Ludlow, Elder Wilcox, |
Sister Sonasi, Sister VerHoef
Okay. This one deserves an explination.
So Sis Sonasi makes this face ALL THE TIME in almost every picture she's in.
We were taking a zone picture after (my last) zone meeting and someone said,
"we should make Sister Sonasi's face!!"
|Elder: Hilton, Alcazar, Tavo, John, Graham, Wilcox, Ludlow, Garr, Patchett, Anderson, Oliphant|
Sister: Sonasi, Frischnecht, Biggs, Peacock, Baxter, Halford, Henderson, Peterson, Kirschner, VerHoef
This is Sister Lee.
She is from Korea.
They keep showing up in my life.
I love it.
Some people in Clark Lake that I was blessed to work with for 3 transfers:
|I finally got the Anthony's to take a picture with me!|
|Namin Akeang & myself|
|I know John from Fedway but I kept seeing him in Kent|
like once a week.
|Agnes would always call me a Samoan at heart|
has a husband picked out for me