RECALIBRATION

May 12, 2014

Dear Family,

I cannot believe that was the last time I will talk to my dear family on Skype from Florida. Sometimes I still feel like my mission will never end. I will just be a missionary forever. Which I will….but the plaque has to come off at some point. Kind of dreading that day.

This week was a hard one, so that Mother’s Day call couldn’t have come at a better time. I am so obsessed with my cute little family it’s unreal. You give me strength.

But, the funny thing was (and don’t get mad at this) at the end of that phone call, I had no longing to go home. No feelings of homesickness, no “trunkiness”, no sadness. I felt completely happy and at peace. It was like, “hey family. Glad you’re still alive. Love you. But I’ll see you in a few months, I’ve got some work to do for The Lord right now.” I know without a doubt that this is where I’m supposed to be and this is what I’m supposed to be doing. The swig trips and soccer games and conversations around the dinner table long after we’ve finished eating…..those will have their time. Right now my time is The Lord’s.

I’m not really sure why this week was so hard except for the fact that the adversary is really mean sometimes. It really wasn’t a bad week numbers-wise. But as every missionary knows, the week before the baptism is brutality at its finest. Everything that could go wrong, does. Like 2 of our investigators having a huge family crisis……or another investigator ending up in the hospital…..another going out of town unexpectedly…..another just not wanting to be baptized anymore…….is this a missionary nightmare? Nope it’s real life. Every single one of those happened. This is from my journal:

“For the last week I have felt this growing dark cloud over my head. A
weight on my shoulders. A pressing on my chest. And a heart drained of
hope.
It happened to me in Wauchula, and even a little bit in Tampa. But
this is the worst one I’ve felt. And it’s me and Hermana Finlayson
together. This giant black storm cloud hanging over our heads. And
yes, Hermana Ashby, it’s anvil-shaped.

It clouds my mind, skews my view, jumbles my thoughts to the point
where I can’t see a way out. My brain can’t put together logical
solutions. My body feels exhausted. And my heart feels bruised.
Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually drained. And the worst
part is, I know it’s the adversary. I’m completely aware that he is
working harder than ever to stop the work we are doing. But just
because I know it’s him, doesn’t change the fact that he’s beating me
up and I can’t seem to be able to do a thing about it.

It’s small things that led me to this point. Exchange exhaustion,
stress about Noche Blanca, pressure of being a leader, investigators
falling through on their interviews, members expectations and zero
help in return, and just the pure thought of all the time and effort
and blood and sweat and TEARS we have put into these people.

This day just felt heavier and heavier until we kneeled down
[or fell down…] to start nightly planning and just cried.

I said a prayer of pure gratitude to Heavenly Father
because it was what I think I needed at the time. One of those
“grateful in our circumstances” kind of things. Hermana Fin and I got
up from that prayer and just hugged each other and bawled for a
second…or two…

We’ve had it pretty good for awhile. Rainbows and butterflies. I guess
this is what we get for asking for more faith. “This must be how
parents feel when their child disappoints them.” Hermana mentioned,
“maybe it’s just another preparation for the future.”
…….Shoot………yeah……hope not………..

But missionary work is just really hard sometimes. It just builds and
builds and builds and sometimes. I break. It’s not life or death. But
I just love these people so much and after one of our strong investigators
decided not to be baptized….crying was all I could think to do.

These people don’t realize how much they mean to us. How much we pray for them,
worry about them, think about them, day in and day out.
It’s selfish of me but I’m glad Hermana fin is feeling this with me.
Glad we can cry together. Mourn with and comfort each other. Even when
we both feel hopeless. I need to sleep. Tomorrow will be a better day.”

But after having the breakdown of our lives on Thursday, me and Hermana Fin have been getting back into the game. And we are ready. Ready to work til we drop (I feel like I say that a lot…..I guess missionaries just need a lot of recalibration and motivation.) and leave everything we have on the table…slash in the field….until we have nothing left to give. We are down to 8 and 14 weeks, this is not the time to hold back. Not the time to be comfortable. Not the time to cut corners.

So no more of that. From now on, we are going to be Alma and Amulek, Ammon and Aaron, Peter and John. We are applying dad’s best phrase: You can do the things you want to do when you do the things you are supposed to do. Because missionary work is not about routine and it’s not about comfort. It’s about doing the best we can every single day and going to bed knowing you gave that day our all. It’s about finding the little miracles and relying on the Spirit because it’s the only choice we have. It’s about setting goals that stretch and push and mold us in ways we never could have imagined. It’s about doing His work in His way in His time.

So that’s what we’re doing.
I can never thank you enough for all your love and support.
I love you.
Hermana Lewis.

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