Saturday, October 4, 2014

Though Deepening Trials

(Last day as "Girl With A Tag")
Well, that's a wrap, y'all. As of Saturday, October 4, 2014, I am no longer a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To get to this point has been eventful and interesting, and full of stress, tears, trial, and growth. This week, I was able to work in the Federal Way Mission Office, as well as go to the Seattle Temple with my mama. My Grandma was actually working in the Temple during our session. So that was a way nice surprise. Both of those were great. I truly love the temple and I learn so much each time I go. 

I have been continually praying and pondering what the Lord wants for me, and how best I can serve Him. With help from the Lord, I came to the conclusion that I will not be returning. Through much study, fasting, and prayer, I was shown that the Lord has other plans for me. I accepted that. And I accepted His plan for me. On Friday (yesterday), my chiropractor told me that I will not be able to return to my mission because I will not be able to get the treatment while in the field that I need in order to maintain my pain. If, for whatever reason, I'm able to return back to my mission, then I have until the end of November. But, after that, I will not be able to return to Arkansas.

The whole process of coming to the realization that I can't go back was truly incredible. The Lord provided a way for me to come to terms with my future, before it was thrown at my face. He allowed me to make the choice and to be okay with it, before I learned that I cannot return. My doctor knew all along that I wouldn't be able to go back, but he was remaining optimistic and would say "if a miracle happened....". However, once I accepted my own fate, and truly submitted to the Lord's will for me, that was when the truth of the matter was revealed.

The Lord puts things into our life, more so allows them to happen, so that we can learn and grow. I truly feel that I gained so much knowledge, both spiritually and intellectually, while I was serving. Maybe this was His plan all along. Maybe I never was to serve a full mission. Maybe I wasn't supposed to in the first place. Maybe there are other things in store for me. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I don't know the answers, and I'm okay with that. All I know is that I've grown soooo much closer to my Father in Heaven than I ever thought possible. I've grown to appreciate the scriptures and to appreciate my leaders. I have increased my testimony ten fold.

To all those prospective missionaries who may be reading this: if you have any doubts about serving, stop doubting! It will change your life, if you allow it. You will gain so much as you help others gain even more. Serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

To those who may not be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: I invite you, with every fiber in my being, to learn more about Christ's teachings. Talk to the missionaries, and read the Book of Mormon. The purpose of missionaries is to merely add to the truth which you already have. Pleeease consider this invitation to come closer to our Father in Heaven.

To those who have already served missions: You have done a great work. The Church is expanding and more people are coming to the truth. We were a part of that! We are a part of that marvelous work. And don't you ever forget it!

And to all others: I love you, and I love my Savior. Thank you for all the support and love you've shown me. And thank you for who you are.

And with that, I would like to end with my testimony of the restored gospel and of missionary work. I know it is real. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ was brought back to the Earth by Jesus Christ Himself, through Joseph Smith. I know this because I have evidence. That evidence is found in the Book of Mormon. Through these words, I come closer to Heavenly Father in ways I could never have imagined. I have learned so much about who I am and who I'm supposed to be. I continue to learn about what I need to change to better align my life with Heavenly Father's will for me. I know that as I pray, He really is listening, and will answer my prayers -- it may not be in the timely manner that I was expecting, but in His time, all things will come. I know that we have a living Prophet on the Earth today, Thomas S. Monson. I know that he truly speaks the words of God, just as those in the scriptures. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ (or the good news!) that brings me hope. I love to repent and I love to increase my faith. All this is possible through the knowledge that this restored gospel brings. I am so excited for the day that Heavenly Father will call to me and welcome me in His arms to thank me for all I've done and to welcome me home. This I leave with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Let The Holy Spirit Guide

It sure has been an interesting week, no doubt about it. I've been continuing to go to the chiropractor throughout the week. I don't really see much progression, but we'll see how it goes. My doctor contacted my Mission President and we got back some not so great news. Mission Medical says that I'm not allowed back until I'm healed 100%. Also, I'm not permitted maintenance checkups with the doctor when I return. President Wakolo said that instead of going back for the October transfer, rather I should wait it out longer and not go back until the end of November. Even then, if Mission Medical won't allow maintenance checkups frequently, I'm not sure if I'll be able to meet the requirements of being 100% and only going to the chiropractor, at most, once a month.
(First AWFUL haircut fixing. Too short)

(Even shorter, plus darker... Goodbye blonde)

Last week, I stopped by the Mission Office and set up to go help out there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was able to attend an office luncheon, which was nice. I also attended Institute. I've been receiving letters and phone calls saying "welcome back from your mission. Post mission, it's good to attend Institute with YSA to keep the spirit", or something along those lines. Funny...... But anyways, I found a companion to go with me, and off we went. It was some deep doctrine. I had to explain myself to the class, as well, so that was just faaantastic.

With my daddy, I went to the Ward Missionary Correlation Meeting. We were able to discuss the less actives and the recent convert that my dad and I met last week. It was really neat. And boy, are things run differently here then back in Arkansas! It's crazy how different missions are run.

Back - Elder Cottom, Kohl Stanford, Sister Smith, Leslie Smith
Front - Elder Rainey, Elder Loosli, Elder Mennenga
We had a Deaf Social on Saturday, that mama and I went to. It was actually really fun! We played basketball and Uno! There weren't too many people there -- just the four missionaries, a recent convert, and a partially blind-deaf man. It was loads of fun though. Then Katie Manning and I were able to go to the Deaf Branch the next day for church. President Choi (the Seattle Mission President) was there, and stayed for all three hours! It was way neat. He spoke in Sacrament, and then also during Sunday School, we had a Q&A session with him. He's of the Seventy, so it was a unique experience. I was also able to interpret for Roy again (one of the Deaf-Blind men in the Branch). It was a great learning experience. I seriously love that Branch so much.

(Michelle Lynne Hirschi... About 4hrs old)
Some other exciting news..... Kayla (my sister) had her baby on Tuesday! Her name is Michelle Lynne, and she is the cutest! I've been in and out of the hospital the past couple of days with them. It's all very exciting. And I'm so glad that I'm able to be here for this time with her, as well as with Kayla.

I met with my Stake President last night. We discussed about returning and about staying. He will be contacting my Mission President, as well as Mission Medical. But it looks like I may not be returning... With the requirements of Mission Medical and with the condition I am in with my back and all the pain, it may not be permitted for me to return back to Arkansas to complete my mission.

Again, I still continue to learn so much of what the Lord wants of me. It's times like these, of difficult decision-making, that I realize how much the Lord truly does guide my life. He knows what I need, and He knows what is best for me. I wish that I can continue to be more patient with the Lord's timing. As I remember His desires for me, I know that I can never go wrong. He will fully, and completely lead me to the paths I should take as I continue to study, fast, and pray.