Of the 7 billion people, 152 countries, 418 missions, and an innumerable number of cities and small towns, I was chosen by divine inspiration to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Brazil Manaus Mission (the best of the best ). There is much preparation to be done when called as a missionary. Clothes to buy, shots and medical exams to be done, documents to fill out, etc. You have to think about everything you are going to need for a year and a half.... I think my mom knows best, it was a stressful process!! But in reality, when I passed through the airport security and I couldn't see my family anymore, it all hit me. I had NO idea what I had gotten myself into. I had two suitcases packed full, but was I actually prepared?
As the long, hot days, weeks and months have passed by I realized that it doesn't matter how old we are or our circumstances, we have so much to learn and so many people to serve. I am completely different now than I was when I left home. My outlook on life has been broadened, my undeniable testimony has grown, my love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has deepened. In one year and six months I learned MANY lessons that would have otherwise taken me yeeeaars, but the biggest lesson I have learned is that in reality, I still have so much to learn. My heart aches as I have to leave this beautiful country and all the friends I have made here; however, it would all be in vain if I go home and return to my old habits. I have to take all the knowledge that I have gained and put it into practice at home. I am ready to serve and dedicate my life to this gospel. I am so grateful for the eternal perspective that a mission has given me. Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson explains it perfectly when he said, ``Decisions determine destiny.`` Before my mission I thought only days, weeks or years ahead (which yes is important sometimes), but now I am more worried about the eternal family that I will establish and the small decisions that have to make now to one day return to live with God.
I know with all my heart that this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are sacred scriptures given to guide us in these latter-days, I know that the Priesthood is real, and I know that God is literally my Heavenly Father. He knows me, loves me and is aware of me. I have passed through some of the hardest experiences in these 18 months, but through it all I have 100% felt the Holy Ghost and celestial angels guiding, comforting, and protecting me. Many times these celestial angels were just ordinary people or the members in the wards where I served.
Even if you just sent me an email one time... I would like to thank you for the support and prayers. I am beyond blessed to have such wonderful friends and the best family!!! Your words of encouragement have helped me not give up and finish out strong :) THANK YOU!!!! What a sacred time it has been to serve as a representative our our Savior, Jesus Christ. If I had to go back, I would do it all over again.
BUT all I have to say now is see y'all on Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!!! ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S. Thanks for all of your prayers about my memory card! A dear sister in the ward found it under her kitchen table when she was cleaning! Prayers are answered!!!!