Dear Family and Friends,
I guess I should preface this with the update that after talking with President Cusick and much fasting and prayer, we decided that when you look at good, better, and best use of my time these last couple weeks of my mission, the BEST option for me is to come home a couple weeks early. This will be my last email home as Hermana Lewis, as a representative of Jesus Christ, as a missionary. This conclusion hasn’t come easily. My heart feels as though it’s ripped in half and my mantra all week has been, “it had to end sometime.” But, I feel very peaceful about it all. I’ve had some really solid heart-to-hearts with my Heavenly Father this week. I feel that I’ve finished my mission strong and that my effort has been enough for Him. I’ve offered up my best 18-month sacrifice on the altar and He has accepted it. It’s a good feeling.
This week has been another incredible one. As have the 68 before it. It always amazes me just how much I can learn in one week on the mission. Each week brings different challenges and lessons. This week was a test of faith, especially on Thursday. We were weekly planning when Esperanza called and told us her ride to her baptism fell through. OH NO.. We called all over the place but couldn’t find anyone. I think we called Esperanza 20 times that day, trying to make sure she could get to her baptism. This back and forth calling, worrying, and praying lasted until 7:45 pm. 15 minutes before the baptism started, she pulled up to the church and gracefully walked in as if nothing had happened. From there on, the baptism went beautifully. She was beaming all night. She felt like a queen, I’m sure. I can’t think of a better way to finish out. She was confirmed yesterday. I asked how she felt. “Tranquila. Limpia. Perfecta.” Or…”Calm. Clean. Perfect.” I’m so happy. Missionary work is so happy!! Besides that little miracle, we received a thousand big miracles and reached more goals this week than I have ever reached in my entire mission. All across the board.
The Lord really does guide this work. We stopped by to see a referral from the English sisters. We called her and everything to set up this appointment but when we got there, the lady she rents from told us she was at work and works until late. We continued to talk and found out that this lady is widowed and her husband was Mormon back when they lived in Peru! We ended up teaching her the first lesson right then and there and she loved it. I know that her husband had a hand in sending us there. On Saturday night we were having a lesson with a recent convert in the church. I had this anxious feeling that we needed to get out of there. We wrapped up the lesson and headed to our next appointment. We hadn’t seen this golden family in a couple weeks because they are so hard to get ahold of but we found them at home. They told us halfway through the lesson that they actually had planned on leaving to fix the car. We got there just in time. Little miracles like this. They happen literally every day. That is what I’m going to miss.
And here I am facing my last week on the front row seat of the miracle show. And my mind and heart are stuffed with emotions.
I’m excited to see my family. After a year and a half of not seeing them, I sometimes forget that they exist. I can’t wait to hug them. And hold babies.
I’m nervous for how I’m going to handle this trial that my family is facing. I’m pretty removed from it all out here so I don’t think it’s hit me how real it is. But I look forward to holding Kenzie’s hand and supporting my family with more than just prayers.
I’m terrified to pop my missionary bubble and return to the real world. i.e., dating, the news, movies, dating, college, bills, work, dating, a social life, dating……let’s be honest. I’m terrified of dating.
I’m heartbroken to leave my Bahia Ward family. I’m going to miss being the ward pianist and giving Sophia and Bella “ballinas de la Hermana Lewis”. I’ll miss our crazy baptisms and the abundance of delicious food that magically comes together for every event. They’ve supported me through all this. They even prayed for Kenzie in the sacrament meeting opening prayer yesterday. I love them so much.
I’m dreading the idea of taking off the tag. It’s become a part of me. I don’t feel ready to be a normal civilian. Being a representative of Jesus Christ is too much fun!
I’m grateful. Grateful I felt the need to serve a mission in the first place. For the experiences I’ve had, for everything I’ve learned, for the way I’ve changed, for what I have become. It’s not a sacrifice if you receive more blessings than you can imagine. I remain, even after 18 months of full-time service, incredibly indebted to my Heavenly Father.
I’m happy. I am so incredibly happy. There’s no other word for it. I feel alive.
I don’t know quite how to end this. I think that’s why they say we should end talks in a testimony. So here goes.
I know that Christ is my Savior, Redeemer, and brother. He has been with me throughout my entire mission, walking by me, supporting me, and carrying me when I needed it most. I know my family can be together forever. That we will be together forever. And for that, we are able to “cheerfully submit to the will of The Lord” because we know whatever happens, it’s not the end. I know that the gospel of Christ is simple and will always keep us on the right path. I know God speaks to us today. That we have a prophet to lead and guide us. And the Holy Ghost to give us personal direction from day to day. Our Heavenly Father is so aware of us and everything we go through each and every day. He answers prayers. Always. I know this church is the church of Jesus Christ restored on the earth again. Christ himself is the head of this church. I’ve prayed and received my answer directly from God and I have witnessed so many people receive that answer themselves. I know the Book of Mormon strengthens our faith in the Savior. It was written for our day and every word was placed there for a reason. It gives me the power to overcome trials and keep the peace of The Lord with me every time I read it. It’s true. Hermana Despain always says, “Even if it wasn’t true, our church is so cool. It’s just perfect. But it is true!! And that makes it even better!” I know that anyone honestly searching for truth will find it. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. Personally and perfectly.
And I love Him.
President Uchtdorf said that there are no endings, only infinite beginnings. So even though it seems that I am closing this chapter of my life, I’m really just beginning a new one.
I can’t wait to see what it will hold.
I love you.
See you in a week.