When I arrived home, I was still a missionary, living the missionary life, for a whole month before they finally released me. They didn't know what to do with me. The plan was to go back to my mission after a transfer, assuming that my back would be healed. So much for that.
Life went on. Once released, I started dating and I met a really wonderful guy, whom I love dearly. I left for school that following semester and said goodbye to him and started Winter 2015 back at BYU Hawaii. That semester was the worst yet. I didn't want to be at school. I hid myself. My hair was darker, I no longer had glasses, and I wore hats so that I could fly under the radar. Seeing my old friends was difficult, because they all expected me to be on my mission. Heck, I expected me to be on my mission.
I hated myself and I hated school. I fell into horrible depression and didn't want to do anything. I was struggling every day and wanted to be back at home. I wanted to be with my family and my friends back in Washington.
The semester finally finished and I was able to go home. I learned that I was unable to return on my mission because I wasn't able to bike 8 miles and walk 6 miles a day. That was hard, to say the least. All my desires were crushed right in front of me. But hey, life still continues.
I did an internship over the summer and I was surrounded by solid friends. I attended my YSA Ward and I was dating. Remember that guy I dated upon coming home? Yea, he left for his mission in July. That was hard. I still loved him. But I was so, so, so proud of him. Once he left, it was time for me to go back to school.
It was my final semester at BYU Hawaii. Which means... I graduate. Meaning... I need to figure out my life. I had no idea what to do after graduation, and it was incredibly stressful. I still had the desire to go back on my mission. I felt that the Lord may not have cared about my desire, or else I would've been able to go. Boy, was I wrong!
One day, I was at the Laie Temple. A feeling came over me saying. "Go back on your mission. Do it, and I will provide a way for it to all work out." I couldn't believe it! The Lord heard my cries, my prayers, and my ache. He never left me. And now, He will provide a way so that I could serve again.
Immediately, I got started. I called my Bishop who contacted my Stake President who then contacted my Stake President back home as well as the Missionary Department. After loads of stress and forms that I had to do and hoops I needed to jump through, my Stake President had all that was necessary to send off to the Missionary Department for approval. We assumed that I would be getting a reassignment mission to an area that offered sisters bikes always.
Within a week, I received an email from my Stake President:
"Aloha Sister Jessica Smith, I just received a call from the Missionary Department. You have been approved to return to the Little Rock Arkansas Mission on November 16th. You will not be assigned to any bike areas."
My experience throughout all this has really been incredible. I am so grateful for all that I've had to go through. If anything, this past year has simply reaffirmed to me my desire to serve. I am now more stoked, more devoted, more committed, more consecrated, and more willing to serve with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. It has been a trying year, but I know that it is exactly what I needed. I only hope that I will be able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands.