Monday, September 29, 2014

The Final Letter-Sydney

You know. I spoke at the outgoing missionary fireside yesterday. It was awful. Hahaha. I was second to last, and it was so weird. I literally never thought I would be up there saying goodbye to my mission. I never thought I would say goodbye to San Jose after 18 months, and it hurt so bad. 

I worked so hard last week. We taught EVERYONE. We got 72 lessons, and we worked so hard to testify of the restored Gospel, and of Jesus Christ to everyone. And it felt so good to just work. No lunches, no breaks, just teaching. And I didn't think about going home. 

I feel so sad. So tired. And like so weird. The whole week, I felt like there was a warm feeling in my chest filling this hole, and now I really really feel it. That hole, and I think it was the Holy Ghost helping a girl out, and after the outgoing, just sort of slipping out. Slowly. And now the hole is here in my chest, and I know I have to go home. No more denial. But I really love my mission. I really love this place. 

Two years ago, I received my mission call. I remember being so impatient for Alex to open hers. And she was taking forever! And she was crying, and I knew she felt the spirit when she opened her call. And I was so ready to open mine and feel like I needed to go where it said. And I opened it up, and it said the Brazil Sao Paulo East Mission, and I felt disappointed. And it was weird, and I didn't want to tell anyone that I was disappointed. But I was.

I started my mission in the Provo MTC with Sister Corbitt. The MTC was the roughest transfer of my mission. Poor Sister Corbitt had to deal with moody Sister Powell- horrible dreams, lehi dreams, demons, depression, insecurity, and loneliness. But Sister Powell also had to deal with moody Sister Corbitt also;) I love that girl. We grew so much together. My faith in the Plan of Salvation grew so much with her. I loved her testimony. I loved the way she taught. I know we will be friends forever. 

I also learned about the importance of the Priesthood Power. I remember three days in to my MTC stay- 3 days with no sleep, whispers that I shouldn't be there, and just anger, I decided to get a Priesthood Blessing. And the moment that two young Elders laid their hands on my head, I felt like it fled. And I knew that that power was true. And I knew that Heavenly father loved me so much. And I could complete my mission no matter what. I don't know where those Elders are, but I know I needed to be in their district so they could give me that blessing.

And then Sister Corbitt left, and I got a preview of my mission. Sister Parks became my companion. She taught me so much from her ability to just love. She loved unconditionally and with her whole heart. She was so patient with my slow learning of Portuguese. And I remember the night we got our new assignments, and I didn't get one. And I was the only missionary in my district not to get a reassignment, and I was so confused, and scared I would be in the MTC for the rest of my Visa waiting experience. I remember going into the bathroom, and just yelling at God. Demanding him to send me out of that place. And I remember crying, but then thinking of how important everyone of God's children were, and that I would serve missionaries in the MTC if that was God's will. And I told him to send me anywhere- to the mission president, to the missionaries, and to the people that needed me. I told Him that His will was mine. And I would be willing to serve here in the MTC for as long as he needed. And the next day, I received my temporary mission assignment to the San Jose California Mission. And I felt excited. I was going where the Lord wanted me to go.

And I got here and I was so tired. I spent the night before with no sleep, and something trying to kill me. And I was out of it. And we met the Watkins at the airport, and I remember thinking- Man, President Watkins can talk a lot. And Sister Watkins is really intimidating. I didn't realize how much they would change my life. 

My first area was Yuerba Buena with Sister Hall and Sister Jones. I served there for 5 days, and it was amazing. I loved serving with those Sisters. I loved being in that ward. I loved those people for the small moment I was there. And then one day there was a rumor that there was going to be an ET, and that Sister Hall might be the one ETed. And I just remembering thinking- it's going to be ETed. And next thing you know, I am in President Watkins office, and he is asking me if it is okay if he transfers me to El Camino. And I already knew my answer, because I made a deal with God that I would go wherever he wanted me. And I was transfered to El Camino.

El Camino has a very special place in my heart. I loved being Sister Zidek's companion. We both did not know Spanish, we were brand new, and not trained. But we decided to work hard, and set really high goals. We were obedient so that our area could flourish. Sister Zidek taught me so much. She taught me to be the best missionary I could be. I remember she sitting me down one day, and telling me that it was time for me to be a missionary. I knew then that I needed to step up. I felt the spirit so much. The spirit helped us to teach in a language we didn't know, and teach everyone we saw. He told us where to be. He was always there with us. Sister Zidek helped shape me in to the missionary I wanted to be.

When I was transferred from El Camino, it was hard. But I knew I needed to go. So go I went, and I was transferred to Livermore with Sister Fuimaono. I loved Sister Fui. She taught me not to care about numbers. She taught me to just love the people, and love your companion, and be obedient, but have fun. Laugh..alot. Livermore was my old people place. And it was so fun to visit so many old ladies and make their day. It was fun to open an area, and have no idea what to do. It was fun to try to figure it out with relying on the Holy Ghost. And he guided us all the time to people who needed us. 

And then I was transferred to Alum Rock where my companions were Sister Tietjen, Sister Weeks, and Sister Livingston. And we were a quadship. I learned so much from those Sisters. They are amazing. I think the most important thing I learned from Alum Rock was to recognize miracles even when no one was answering the door. To celebrate each night that we at least testified to one person that the Heavenly Father loved them. And to dance and laugh. I also learned how important it was to have the spirit in your home. Because your house should be treated like a temple. I learned to serve even my companions. I wanted our quadship to work. I wanted us to love one another. And in the end, I loved those Sisters so much for different reasons. 

And then I was transferred to the Tongan program with Sister Funaki. And I was back in my El Camino apartment with Sister Hall and Sister Raney. And I loved being in the Tongan Program. We were a whole lot of miles from our area, so we did a lot of finding where we were. It was fun. And I remember one day studying, and realizing that I wasn't going to get my visa, and crying. Sister Hall helped me so much. I am so glad she was my roommate and my companion at one time, because I don't I would have had that connection with her. And I am glad I did. And then we were ETed to Menlo Park, and we lived in an apartment complex with the other Tongan Sisters and Samoan Sisters. With Sister Funaki I learned about love, and not giving up. I learned about how everyone was my family no matter how different we are. And I started to treat everyone I met like my family, and love them just like my own. I am so grateful to Sister Funaki for teaching me that. I love her so much.

And then after three transfers, I was transferred to Pleasanton where I met one of my best friends in the world- Sister Palmer. I loved serving with her. She taught me so much about strength, and peace. She taught me to relax, take breaks, and just be still. And she was such a strength to me when I didn't get my Visa. I needed Sister Palmer. She was a tender mercy. 

And in Pleasanton, I finally felt the spirit testify to me that I was where I needed to be. That I had been in my mission this whole entire time. It was the greatest feeling I have ever felt.

I was so sad when she was gone. But I am so glad I got to help the Chinese Program with Sister Yu. Sister Yu is the most loving person you will ever meet. She has the coolest testimony, and she taught with pure and simple doctrine. She taught me to love the basics. I loved serving with her. I said my most heartfelt prayers with her. 

And then I was transferred to my last area with Sister Steg. And she taught me to forgive and to let go of things that happened in my past. She taught me to have a purpose. We healed from pain together. I needed her so much. I love when I see her. She is the strongest person I know. I learned so much about the Gospel and the Atonement with her. She is the epitome of a dedicated servant of the Lord who loved and was a missionary.

And then I got Chill Sister Stevenson, who loves everything that I love. And is so loved by the Lord. She just has blessing poured down on her all the time. People swarm to her by the way she is able to relate. I have never felt so blessed, and seen so much success, and I know it was because of her. She is going to do great things.

I have been in so many areas and had so many companions, but I have loved every bit of it. And I realized that it was just important that I loved them. And I did. I loved every area and every companion with all my heart. I loved my mission and I loved the Lord enough to do everything he told me to do. I trust him, and I love him. And I know I am ending my mission exactly where I needed to be. I am so grateful for your support. See you on Wednesday!

Sister Powell 

Last one standing.