This week has probably been one of the most stressful but most rewarding weeks of my entire mission.
We had zone conference on Wednesday which was absolutely wonderful. Sora Barrera and I were in charge of lunch for the ~45 people present so we were pretty stressed about that haha. We planned on kind of a sandwich bar and spent a lot of Tuesday buying a ton of meat and cheese (the ladies at the supermarket counter hated us so much for making them cut so much) and then buying all the fruits and veggies. We were a little worried because they didn’t have any of the bread we wanted to buy, but we figured we would just come later in the day and buy it then. But of course, we FORGOT. Thankfully, the elders reminded us that night and they promised they would buy 20 loaves of bread the next morning — I think they could hear the stress in my voice over the phone haha. So bread was bought and all was well!
Friday was Diana’s baptism! We only had one worry with everything and that was when we heard that the font would not be filled until an hour after the ceremony started….uhhhh….I guess the elders wanted to make sure the water was warm so much so that they kind of underestimated how much time it would take. Sora Barrera and I were thinking, “If we need to, we’ll start getting buckets and bringing in water from the kitchen!” Thankfully, the speakers spoke longer than we anticipated so the water was at a reasonable height by the time the ordinance came. It was just an absolutely wonderful and beautiful ceremony. Knowing how much she has had the desire to be baptized, I felt so proud of her as I watched her make that step. She has so much faith and is such a firecracker — she will bless so many lives in the future. On Sunday, she received the gift of the Holy Ghost and I started crying in the middle of the blessing because I felt the Spirit so strongly.
Well, I don’t have much more time here at internet, but I wanted to just say how much I am thankful for this mission. I am so grateful for the choice I was prompted to make to serve a mission. I had no idea all of the millions of experiences I would have, all the friends I would make, and most importantly, how much my testimony would grow and how my relationship with my Savior would be strengthened. I love these people. I feel like part of my heart will always be in Romania and Moldova. I have learned how much God really loves each of us individually. I had the rare occasion on my mission to feel an infinitesimally small portion of God’s love for a person — whether a member going through a hard moment, an investigator about to be baptized, a street contact talking about the difficulties of their life, or just looking out at the park on a winter’s night at the hundreds of people walking past me. I could feel how much God loves them and the feeling overwhelmed me usually to the point of tears. It kind of felt like my heart was too big to fit in my body. And from those little glimpses of love, I know that God loves me too. Even when I had really really really hard days or things didn’t go at all like planned, I see now that God was taking little pieces of tile that seemed random and unnecessary to me and in the end, He was making a mosaic. He took someone as silly and normal as me and transformed me into a powerful, loving, strong, and courageous messenger of the truth.
I love a quote from C.S. Lewis that says, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
I have felt that way so often and I know that it was only by relying on Christ that I was able to overcome every hard and difficult thing of my mission. I am so glad that I can live the righteous life I have always dreamed for myself and I cam so glad that my mission changed me. I will miss these people so much. Sure, there is Facebook and Skype and everything else, but it will never replace the feeling of being a missionary, talking with them every day and seeing the change that the Gospel is making in their lives.
I am so excited to see what God has in store for me next and what life will bring. I love you so much and I am so glad I got to share these experiences of the past 18 months with you too! I will talk to you soon and I love you!!
Love always and for the last time,