Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back Home

I know I didn't get an email out on Monday like usual, but here I am to write about the last week in the mission and update on how things have been since I got home. I'll start by talking about the last days in the mission.

Last Monday was a busy p-day! After the zone activity in the morning, we headed to Brasilia and I stopped by Guara II really quickly to visit some members from there. Then we headed headed to Taguatinga 1 to stay the night there. The members there are so sweet! They planned a special family home evening in the chapel for me so that I would be able to see a lot of members. I was super happy; it was good to see everybody. Tuesday morning we returned to Formosa and made the last rounds visiting some members and investigators. We knew the rest of the week would be pretty busy and wouldn't leave much time to make too many visits. Wednesday morning we had district meeting in Planaltina DF and then headed back to Brasilia for my last interview with President Gaertner! I couldn't believe it was my last one. I love President Gaertner & Sister Gaertner.

Thursday was my last day in Formosa. I spent my last night watching the opening Brasil game in the World Cup and then watching a girl in the branch open her mission call. President gave all of us permission to watch the game at a member's home who lives close to our house because he knew it would be nearly impossible to get anybody to let us in during the game. I never imagined I would spend the last night of my mission watching the World Cup start in Brasil but it was awesome! I thought it was even more special that afterwards I was able to watch somebody open her mission call; my mission was ending and hers was starting. Kerollyn has been called to the Brasil Florianopolis mission and will report to the MTC in mid-September. 

It was funny because all of last week I was super calm, and for anybody who knows me, you know that is not how I normally am haha. I think I was in a state of disbelief. It never really hit me that the mission was ending. For as much as I said goodbye to the people, packed my bags, and did all of the other necessary preparations to leave I never actually accepted the fact that I was leaving. Friday morning, Sister Alves & I woke up at 4am, I finished packing my bags, we went to rodoviaria and then headed to Brasilia. My last day in Brasil was perfect...absolutely perfect. 

I said goodbye to Sister Alves and then spent the rest of the day with the elders because I was the only sister leaving that transfer. We went to the mission home, had a meeting with President & Sister Gaertner, ate lunch at the mission home with them, and then went to the mission office because we had nothing else to do. But before going to the airport, I was able to realize one of my dreams in Brasilia...I went up the Torre de TV! It had been closed for several months but reopened early last week. We asked for permission to swing by before going to the airport and President Gaertner said yes! Elder Sowards and I were excited beyond belief (don't worry, it wasn't just the two of us)! It had been one of his dreams too haha. I ended up traveling alone with Elder Sowards back to the states, but it was cool because at the airport I ran into two Americans I met the week before in Formosa so we sat and talked with them. 

My layover was in Atlanta and then I got into Orange County around 11:30am Saturday morning. My family is so cute they were all waiting with posters for me at the airport :) The first place I went when I got home was the Newport Beach temple. I was shocked at how easy it was to get back to being "normal." I love the mission and leaving was reaaaaally hard for me so I thought I would be that weird missionary that didn't know how to survive in the real world, but so far I have been doing just fine. I miss the mission a lot but here I am, getting by. I haven't been up to too much these days, but I am working on what comes next. 

Once again, I just want to say thank you all for your support during the mission. It made the biggest difference! I am thankful for the blessing I had to serve a mission because I truly learned so much. I would encourage all of you to really think about the gospel and what it means to you. I am experiencing a bit of a culture shock coming back to the states because I just spent the last year in Brasil getting by on very little and being genuinely happy. It is very easy to get distracted by the things of the world, but we should never let that get in the way of what is truly important. The material things will stay here when our time comes; our knowledge, our testimony, and our families are the things that will have eternal value regardless of where we are. These are the things we should put first. 

Hope you are all happy & healthy! Love you very much.


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