Yeah, I know that this is still not my last blog letter but I feel like so many things are currently coming to an end that it’s just appropriate. In this week we will be receiving a new mission president! As of this week I will only have one more friend from freshman year who is still on a mission. As of this week I am officially a “valiant” missionary. As of this week I am now one of the oldest sisters in the mission (time wise) and the next in line for “death”. As of this week everything just got way too real! I think the greatest thing is that one of the assistants to the president will also be going home with me, so every time we see each other he asks, "como esta....muerto?" (How are you, Dead One) and it’s really funny. Last week at our food appointment, Elder Estrada (the AP) was shaking my comp’s hand and she goes, "Ewwww, Elder did you forget to shower this morning?! Because you smell like death!" HAHAHA gosh my comps such a fireball! (Editor’s note: for those of you who don’t know, missionaries jokingly refer to all aspects of their mission time with terms of life. Their first are is where they are “born.” Their trainer is their “parent.” And when it’s time to go home they are “dying.”)
Happy ending number 1: I think President was trying to make me the happiest missionary every when he moved me to this area because I’ve had the joy of sending off two groups of valiants. When Garcia’s group was all gathering in the offices to go to Presidents house for the final dinner, I was there waiting for the AP to show us how to get to food. So naturally I got to spend like 30 minutes just loving her! And just last week all the valiants were coming back into the offices. I knew what day they were coming and had saved up a ton of reasons to pass by the offices that day...and all of them fell through because the elders were like, "We got it under control!" But Heavenly Father had my back. The Hermana that it touched to give us food had just given us money so I had to drop the money off for the elders. I snuck right into the offices and found out that I had to pick up a few sisters also to take to my house. I was upstairs and everyone else was down stairs and stressed about flight plans so I didn’t want to enter and cause chaos....but let’s be honest, yes I did!!! I sent a messenger (Elder Estrada) to tell Ferb that I was upstairs and she hit me so hard that we almost fell over and took my companion out all at the same time! I haven’t bawled saying goodbye to anyone recently (because everyone’s going to be really close to Utah really soon), but I instantly started crying! I haven’t seen her in like a year so it was the best reunion/farewell ever where we just couldn’t stop hugging! Naturally Skinner came running too and joined in on the intense hug, which made me laugh really really hard! There were so many people to say goodbye to and I love them all so much that I can’t truly accept that they’re gone! Every single one of the 25 were like my older siblings because they have literally been here since I started the mission, a lot of them were trainers of people from my generation, I’ve served with all of them, and almost all the elders have been my zone leaders or district leaders! Some of them I don’t even know that well, I’ve just heard of them because they’re legends, and I was surprised to find that they knew me! We were in the offices for a good hour and a half.....and we ate real triple chocolate cake!!!!!!!!! I have been so blessed to serve with the most amazing people ever and make the greatest friends!
Happy ending number 2: I found out a ton of joyful surprises this week while I was with the valiants this week that had a huge impact on me. I feel like the mission just tries to remind us over and over and over again that we will never truly know the impact that we have on people. Truly the seeds we plant will be harvested and I’ve had the blessing in my mission to see these seeds be harvested! If you go back in my emails to about exactly a year ago, you’ll find the story of Alberto, a man we contacted late one night in a cambi. We only said about three things to him, (Here’s a card, the church’s direction, and when we meet), but he felt the spirit and came to church the next day as a complete surprise. We began teaching him and discovered that he smoked about 40 cigarettes everyday.....so it was something really hard for him to overcome. Three weeks later, both Ferb and I left the area. We heard that the other sisters dropped him really fast cause they didn’t think he was going to progress. Ferb and I were truly sad because we had always felt that one day he would be a stake president due to his ability to feel the spirit! Well the night that I got to see Ferb again she told me the greatest of news, Alberto had been baptized three weeks ago!!!!!!!! I started crying all over again, happier than happy that the Lord had truly never given up on him. Five seconds later, Elder Matos walked up to shake my hand and was super excited to tell me news. "Hermana, do you remember the family in the corner store in Chilpo?? The ones that you gave a Book of Mormon too and basically taught all the lessons to by just gifting them folletos everytime you passed by??" "of course I remember them!" "Well they’re getting baptized soon! They want to tell you thank you for all you tried to do for them!" WOW, was really all I could say and the best part is that that is only the beginning to all the amazing things I’ve recently heard!
Truly we are instruments in the Lords hands every day. There are times when I get angry because I didn’t have anyone I contacted that day accept an appointment to return. There are days when I feel like I haven’t accomplished a whole lot, but those are the days when I’m focusing on my own success and not on the success of others. As true instruments of the Lord, we talk to everyone to make them aware of this great message we share. We share this message with everyone to help them see how much the Lord wants to guide and bless their lives. And we share it with all of our hearts so they can see the blessings. We share and we share and we invite and we share all day long, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after half a year. The number of people we talk to is uncountable, but the work we do truly changes lives and the lives that we touch are even more difficult to count. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to see so many seeds bloom into gorgeous flowers and to see the spirit of the Lord touch the hearts of the people that we meet. One of the greatest parts of missionary work is the mark that we leave behind. It may be in a month, it might be in a year, it might even be in 10 years, but the Lord will make sure that our seeds were not planted in vain and that one day, every person will have the chance to accept this glad tiding and learn the truth! There is no greater work!