Well, I have been home for a whole week and a half now.. well almost two weeks. It pretty much all feels like a blur though. I wanted to write a few reflections from the past two weeks of my life.
Being home is... weird, happy, exciting, super sad, tiring, confusing, adventurous, frustrating, and the list goes on. My whole mission I never realized that it actually ends. Even when I got to my last week I still felt like I had forever to be there. To share what I know what is true. To feel the Spirit testify and guide me. To feel complete and utter joy. To feel comfort when I didn't feel worthy of God's love. To feel the love of the Savior. To worry about ONE thing.. the eternal salvation of others. To give other the absolute most joyful thing that I have ever experienced in my whole life. There are so many things that I received from my mission, I feel as though I received much more than I gave. I will forever tell others how much I love my mission. It changed me and shaped me into the person I am today. I have many weaknesses and know that there is still so much for me to learn. My mission humbled me in ways I never thought possible. It was incredibly hard.. man the hardest thing I've ever done up to this point in my life! It was absolutely amazing.
The last two weeks of my mission were difficult. It was the most anxious I have felt in my whole life. I felt sad to know that my journey was going to be over. I worried that I didn't do as good as I could have, I felt I could have worked so much harder. I had a lot of doubts. But I realized that those thoughts and feelings weren't from the Lord. Why on earth would someone so loving want us to feel bad about ourselves? I slowly felt more and more acceptance from the Lord. I prayed to know in every pray, I fasted, and used the power of the priesthood. Suddenly I felt at peace with going home, I knew that it was my time and that I really had worked hard and pushed to be a consecrated missionary. I wanted to please the Lord and I know that is what counts. The night before I left my companions dropped me off at the mission office. It was really hard saying bye to them, I loved all my companions. I felt so weird. Well honestly, I didn't feel much. I felt numb to everything. I layed in bed that night and slept for about two hours. I was in the city so I spent the night looking out my window staring at all the buildings, wondering how I could leave a place that I love and adore so much. I love Los Angeles. Not because it's LA and people think it's cool, but because the people there changed my life. Anyway, I didn't sleep a wink and felt pretty sick to my stomach. I thought of all that was about to come... I don't know how to talk to someone about normal life stuff, aka not talking about Jesus, I was about to start school, seeing my family, having to date (talk about scary stuff!!), etc.
It was the longest hour and a half flight.. yeah I'm pretty grateful LA and Utah are soo close. I sat by some girls that were from Switzerland. I was pretty bummed because I didn't think they spoke English.. but I talked to them anyway. We started talking about the church and then this girl asked the golden question... what makes my Church different from the Catholic church? I was so happy and know that my prayers had been answered. I shared the Restoration with them. I knew that everything I was saying was true. I knew that it was the very last opportunity I would have as a set apart missionary to share that (believe me.. there are many more years of sharing it.. just without a tag) and it brought me so much joy. The plane landed and it hit. I was done, I wasn't in LA anymore. I had to soon take off my badge. I walked off the plane and stepped into the bathroom for a second to catch my breath. The first person I saw was my dad, waiting at the top of the escalator, he couldn't wait at the bottom. I hugged him and felt happy. I hugged my mom and couldn't believe it. I say my family and felt joy. My family is my world and there they were... after a year and a half I saw them. I was happy but melancholy at the same time. Time came that I had to take off my tag with my Stake President. That was the worst part. I stared at my name tag in my lap and thought about all the mornings that I got ready and put that next to my heart. I felt so bare without it. I still move my hair to the right side to have my tag show. I felt the mantle leave during that time there in his office. If only I could explain what that felt like.
So here I am... getting used to living without a strict schedule, lots of lessons, and not being a missionary. I have learned to tell people that I'm not working on "adjusting" but rather working on how to apply my mission to my life. Yes, I'm working on not feeling so uncomfortable in lots of things, but mostly how to apply what I did for a year and a half to the rest of my life. I have found the greatest peace and joy through a simple scripture study. Through long and deep prayers with my Heavenly Father. Through going to the temple. It's interesting that the happiest moments I have had since I have been home are what I did on my mission. That is what this life is about. It is not the materialistic things. It's not having the newest iPhone and the most "likes" on instagram. In the end that literally does not matter. I want everyone to know that does not matter in this life. Stop caring what others think about you, how much money you aspire to have, likes and friends of Facebook, if you look in style or not. It does not matter. I can promise that.
This is what does matter- that we are continually strengthening our relationship with the most important person, our Father. Our literal Father, He created us and we are His. We must take that time out of our days to read the scriptures, pray, go to church, live worthy and go to the temple.. use that time for Him. We have so many hours in the day, what holds us back?
I love my mission. I love the things I learned and the incredible people I met. I met people on my mission that I could not imagine living without. People that are gaining eternal salvation because I served. People that made me laugh harder than anyone as well as cry. I will love my mission forever. I will always love my Savior and my Father in Heaven. I will never leave that path because I commit to continue with the small things. I know this is real, I know that what we believe is true. That God speaks through prophets, He desires that we know about Him and live the way He wants us to. The Book of Mormon is real, the only way you'll know is if you sincerely open your heart and ask for the answers. I will always be here to answer questions and share what I know. I love my Savior more than anyone and I know that I am a daughter of my loving Father in Heaven. He knows us by name and never forgets us, He is waiting for us. I love this. I know it is true without a doubt. I know that everyone has the ability to know that for themselves as well. I have forever changed through this.
Monday, August 11, 2014
A mi querida familia... [To my dear family] -I am so humbled. Like the scriptures say, "humbled to the dust of the earth," haha. This week has been a week of reflection and preparations. I truly feel and know that I am being prepared to leave my mission. Leaving a mission is so much more difficult than coming to the mission. When you come, things are much more expected. You know more or less the schedule, what we do as missionaries, the walking, the talking, etc. But going home is different. I really have no idea what to expect. Sure, I have an idea, but in reality I don't. I am excited though, I feel okay with it.
The last few weeks have been a battle with myself to know and to actually feel that the Lord is pleased with my works. I have felt so unsure about it, it seemed as though all of the mistakes I have made as a missionary were coming to mind! I have prayed so hard to be able to feel accepted by Him. Harder than ever, and so fervently. I had a wonderful experience last night. It was sacred, but I felt it. Over the last two weeks, I have felt more and more okay with going home. Finally, accepting that this comes to an end. I still don't feel 100%...but I feel okay with it and I know I will when I get on that plane. As I was praying last night, I was talking with my Father, going over my mission. I thought to myself, I am not perfect. He does not expect me to be perfect. I felt the sweetest sense of peace in my heart. I have made mistakes. But it is okay. I have worked so hard. I have pushed with everything I have. I have wet my pillow due to the agency of others. I have had companions that needed extra help. I have taught and helped others know who their Savior is. I have a lot of wrinkles and some extra pounds of rice, beans, carne and tortillas...and that's okay! I have done it. I still have a couple days left and I am so excited to use these days. I have loved my mission more than anything I have loved before. The Lord has blessed me in ways that I never thought were possible! The friendships I have made here will last for the eternities. I have changed. I have watched my investigators change. Less actives, etc.
The other day I was in my studies. I haven't had a million baptisms and at times I have wondered if I did something wrong. Then I remember how special are the baptisms that I have had. I read in D&C 18. It says, 'how great is your joy in bringing just one soul to Christ.' That doesn't say by having just one baptism....it says bringing a soul to Christ. I have worked with less actives, members, potential Elders and Sisters, companions, etc. I have tried to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. The people I have been able to work with, have touched my life and brought me closer to Christ...that is amazing.
I never thought I would serve a full time mission, but oh, how eternally grateful I will be for serving one. I know that I needed to be here. I absolutely love my Savior and all He has done for me. I have felt many times in my heart as I have shared the first vision, that it really happened. It has touched my heart over and over again. I have felt the room go quiet as I share it. I know it happened. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that Jesus Christ worked through him to restore the Church. I have read the Book of Mormon in some of the most difficult times of my mission. It is what healed my heart. I just know it is true. I feel it so deeply and there is no way I could feel this much joy from nothing.
Thank you for supporting me! I am so happy! I am excited for the future because I know who I am and where I am going! I love my Savior. I love my Heavenly Father so much. I love you, and all those who have supported me!! I feel so at peace in the moment and just grateful for this opportunity. The biggest word that I think of is that I am just grateful. Thank you so much. I will see you very soon! I love you.Dear Dad,
My heart is so full, daddy. So full of many emotions. Just love and pure joy. I have loved serving the Lord. This has been an amazing experience.
I will see you soon, I cannot wait to hug you and share with you in person how special my mission is to me.
I will do everything I can to make the next couple days the most spiritual.
Thank you for your love and all you do for me, I have felt your faith-filled prayers. I love you.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Monday, August 4, 2014
If only you could know what is going through my head right now. This feeling is so unreal. I could say over and over again, that I am going to be home next week but it still doesn't do anything. It doesn't seem real. I still feel and think that I have all the time in the world! I LOVE my mission. I love who I have become and recognize that I still have so much to become. I was thinking the other day about my first few transfers. Wowzers! I must admit that I was a bit embarrassed....at the same time overwhelmed with gratitude that Heavenly Father has helped me so much to change. To recognize my weaknesses and be patient. To love others. To find the best in everything! To read the scriptures, say meaningful prayers, feel the Spirit, seek and receive revelation. Most important, to put Him and my Savior Jesus Christ above everything else in this life and world. I can promise that They will be the center of my life. It will be difficult at times, I imagine you and others have felt that struggle, but I will do it. I have learned and felt where the Gospel of Jesus Christ fits in my life. I love this. I love it so much!! We were contacting this week and I stopped for a second and just took in what I feel. I felt JOY. That joy only comes from sharing the Gospel. If others understood how good it felt to just do it, they would do it so much more often. We need to stop being so scared of what others will say. If we are scared it shows where our faith really is......
This week Jennifer got baptized! We didn't really do anything, it was the previous Sister's baptism, but it was amazing. She is someone very special. And so prepared. After she had changed, she was talking to us and said that she just felt good. She had been talking to her mom the morning of and her mom was asking her how she knew that this really was right. She said after, that she couldn't deny it, she just knew it was right. She felt it when she went under. She knew she was making the right decision. It was a testimony builder for me to see how strongly the Spirit had testified to her. I pondered on it last night and just felt it in my heart so strong, this is true. I will never doubt that feeling I had.
My heart is so full. These words have no way of explaining it. My heart is joyful. I know that this is true. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much. He has given us this Gospel to build upon and be the people we need to to return to Him. I was reading this morning in Alma 34. It reminded me a lot about how this is the time to prepare to meet our Maker. He loves us and I testify that He really does. I testify that He desires for us to return and live with Him. I have felt it over and over and over again. I know it's true.
I love you and will never be able to thank you enough for your love and support. I still have a week and a half! I have time to WORK! I love you.Love, Sister Warner
I love you. I love you with a love that I will never be able to explain. I am incredibly grateful for my mission and how much it has taught me to love. How it has taught me how precious families are and that we have an eternal family. There is nothing more comforting than that....our family is eternal. I am feeling really bittersweet. I am sad to have this be ending, but I know that I have worked, learned, and grown immensely. Any advice for a poor sister missionary?
Thank you for your support, it means the world to me. I love you!