One year ago today we walked into the MTC. We left behind the worldly things like mortgages, jobs, even television. I remember that I was actually shaking, I was so scared. It was like walking into another universe - and as excited as I was, I was also so worried about measuring up.
Elder Jones, on the other hand, was as calm as ever. He just doesn't let things ruffle him.
So here we are, one year later - a year of ups and downs. Days I've been so tired, my legs could hardly carry me. Nights without sleep. Tears on the pillow. Sweat so heavy my skin actually gets crusty. Sundays when I think "I just want one Sacrament Meeting where I can actually hear the speaker over the crying babies." One day at work where I don't say something silly or lose something or greet a colleague by the wrong name. Yep - there are definitely some challenges out there.
But life is about challenges, and fortitude and resolve and faith. Without challenges, life would be very dull indeed.
I saw a quote last night that said "There are two types of tired, I suppose one is a dire need of sleep. The other is a dire need of peace." I've felt both. Yes, a mission - as well as marriage, service, crack-of-dawn exercising, praying, hoping....and now caretaking of a big ol house on the beach....it can all be so very exhausting and overwhelming.
But I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.
I could have been assigned to the deep, dark jungles of Africa, or the cold and barren hills of Siberia, and I still wouldn't trade it for the world.
As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, "if for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived."
I think about the people I admire most. Each one of them have been sorely tested, and through this amazing process of life, became mentally stronger while miraculously letting their hearts become softer.
Yes, I can do this...and I LOVE doing this.
I love sitting next to my visiting teaching partner - a lovely young mother from Korea as we visit our assigned sisters from the ward. I always give the lesson, and because she feels limited in her language skills, she always shares a simple hymn. Such a pure voice. It's like a sweet moment of quiet joy for me - every month.
I love shaking hands with the children in our ward. They all seem to get this serious look on their face, like they are performing a sacred duty. Shake the missionary's hand, look down at their toes and say in a low voice "good morning, Sister". So adorable.
I love walking into the temple - one of the only places in the world where my mind actually lets me relax (sometimes too much, as I tend to fall asleep at the most inopportune times). I feel so connected to my loved ones on the other side of mortality - who I miss so very much. I feel so connected to my Lord - and rejoice every time I learn something new about His ministry and His love for me and my family.
I love the Polynesian Cultural Center where I serve. The beauty and the spirit of it humbles me every day. It is an awesome wonder how Heavenly Father has created this great blessing for the world.
I love serving with the other missionaries, young and old. I just love them so much, I can't think of words to describe it.
I love my mission. I begin to dread when it will be over. I hope the next 9 months don't zoom by as quickly as these first 12 have. I want to drink in this great blessing. Soak up this love. Radiate this light that has been given for us to share.
This morning I went for my run on the beach and dip in the ocean. It was a good day to bring my camera. Somehow, I think this picture says it all - this sums up my mission to me:
A few clouds
Husband waiting patiently for me to come back in...
A moment of peace
Yet still kicking to keep my head above water.....
- all of it equals Paradise to me.
Me - kicking away. LOVE this new FinePix Camera!