I will admit that I am taking a short break from attempting to write my farewell talk. And it struck me that once I am done with this seemingly endless checklist of “things to do before I leave,” I will begin another checklist. Sorta, kinda, maybe.
It took me a long time to realize the endless amount of beginnings in my life. One thrill transitions seamlessly into another, and my vision is blurred. I’m that type of person that can’t just step back from each situation and think, “hmm, this will be one of those moments that was so pivotal in shaping who I am.” I process things so slowly, and it makes me wonder if it’s for the better or worse! And this. This is one of those things. I can’t process preparing to leave. I’ve checked off so many tasks, and studied so many booklets, blog posts, essays, talks, but those things aren’t the things that have shaped me. I feel prepared. I feel ready, but not because of reading. (Did I seriously just type that?)
Over the last couple of weeks I have just gushed and gushed to everyone about the Sisters in our ward (shout out to Sisters Rushton and Phipps from Utah!) and how influential they have been. I kid you not, I would not have survived this mental transition if it weren’t for them. Granted, we don’t spend too much time together. I run with them in the mornings, and I haven’t been out and about with them recently, but life is funny that way. Or, I guess it isn’t because there are no coincidences. It’s just that every occurrence while I’m with them has helped me in preparing. Whether it just be bearing my testimony, or saying hi to a random stranger for no reason other than to make them smile. The small experiences have helped a lot, and I have come to appreciate and recognize them when they occur, not just after.
That’s the cool thing about missionary work. I know I have seen the least of what it is to preach the Gospel, yet the simplistic happiness I’ve felt while observing them is astounding. It is a tender mercy of the Lord during this difficult time to feel like it won’t all be hard. Transitioning will be bearable in the end. I will be able to step back and admire the Lord’s work, the mistakes I’ve made that have shaped me, the ambiguity of answers and then the clarity of results. It’s all worth it. Even now, when it’s not strenuous. I admire the Sisters and their courage to take this tremendous task and just lose themselves in the service of others.
I just want to leave a testimony on here. Jesus is the Christ. This is His work in the Latter Days. Russia is such an intimidation and without His love and guidance, my brain would have exploded weeks ago. He died for me! And for you! And your sisters, brothers, moms, dads, grandparents, 2nd cousins 5 times removed! We suffer, and He shows us the way to recover that joy and love we can’t feel anywhere else but in the membership of the true church.
I testify of the tender mercies of a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us personally. It has been said many times, but not enough times.
We are spirit children of a God.
The Book of Mormon is His gift to us. I’ve searched it. It is true.
Joseph Smith translated it through the power of God. He restored the priesthood authority, without which I would not be able to live with my family again.
This Gospel is a beginning. It gives us ample beginnings and opportunities to end sorrow, grief, agony.
It’s an adventure.