Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Warm Memories

I have a friend that recently blogged about her mission. She talked about how a mission changed her life and what a profound effect it has had. That is so true! I just loved hearing how she described it because I thought she was right on the money. Nothing can compare to a mission experience. Nothing.

I haven't spent a bunch of time working on this post and thinking of the perfect way to sum up a mission....but here are a few thoughts:

Companions: There's never a time where you'll be immersed in learning to work and live with a companion like that - not even in marriage. I spent 24 hours a day with my companions. We didn't even separate in the grocery store to make the trip faster.....that really bugged me at first. I remember coming home though and realizing how much I missed that. I started back to University within a couple weeks of getting home. My first day on campus felt like the loneliest day of my life....which was pretty funny because there were MANY days on my mission that I dreamed of ditching my companion!

Service: I've never since been able to spend as much time focused on figuring out how to help people and ways that I can serve them.

Learning: On my mission I loved the time we had to study the gospel. I hated it that we had to stop after a couple hours and longed for the ability to study all day long. I'm sorry to say I don't think I've ever done that since coming home - even though I still think it would be so great. Life just gets in the way....although I still would like to try to fit that in somehow now and then.

Adventure: Oh the stories!! The adventures and fun we had were great. It wasn't that we were doing anything extraordinary or worthy of a newspaper article or adventure story book - but the stories that are told from missions and the crazy things that happen seem to be able to curl ones toes.

Sacrifice: Lots of times we went without and realized we were hardly sacrificing. We saw people that went without far more than I'll ever have to go without....and it made me realize that the focus we have in North America on worldly goods is really misplaced and unnecessary. We could do without so much more. I learned that what many view as sacrifice is hardly a sacrifice at all and in the end, often the things we think we're making a big sacrifice over aren't even worth worrying about.

Challenge: For me, being a missionary made me do hard things every day. And after a while I didn't even think about it - I just kind of did like Nephi talks about and didn't know before hand how in the world it would go or what I'd say or what I should do - but trusted that the Lord would fill our minds with the right plan, our mouths with the right words, and our hearts with the courage we needed to complete the tasks. And each day we did. Simply amazing. As Kim said, now I hardly hesitate when asked to do something challenging. I can thank my mission for that, I think.

Friendship: Because of the profound effect a mission had on me - the friendships I made there are really special. I have them all tucked in a special corner in my heart. It's fun to meet up with old mission friends and see how much we still really have in common.

Recently, on Facebook, I got a friend request from a great mission friend, Dominique Andriamantoa. He gets mentioned quite often in our house for a number of reasons: I think he is a great guy, he's from Madagascar (that's cool....and they speak French there so my kids think that's extra cool) and he has a really cool name. What he says is so true. I think he must be wrong about the 20 years ago bit. How did I get that old??! It seems like yesterday.
He said:

Sometimes when I think of our time as missionaries, 20 years ago, it feels
like I am thinking of a movie, great actors, great plot, awesome
surroundings and great ending. One of those movies you enjoy watching each time, no matter how many times you've seen it before. And when I hear from you and Carma it's the greatest feeling because it shows me that it was not a movie but it did happen, we were there, servants of the Lord, with full authority to preach his gospel.

This is me with ALL of my companions, except for my trainer, Sister Ford. Left to right: Sister Hussey, Sister Higbee, Sister Bailey, me, Sister Herr, Sister Whitson, and Sister Gibb

Oh, and yes, we did get to go to Disneyland. Makes for a great zone activity!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Ahhh!!! I love it! Everything you have said is so true! I, too, wish I could spend more time in a day doing the things we were able to do as missionaries - study, learn, serve, etc. I totally miss that. I miss not being afraid to be a missionary. You know what I mean? It seems like that name tag suddenly gives you confidence you've never had and it seems to fade through time once you take it off. I wish it didn't - maybe that's something I can work on.

Thanks Dawn for all the mission talk of late - it has made me so much more aware of the blessings my mission really did provide me. I really do feel so overwhelmed by the goodness of the Lord and His plan for us. I think He has opened a little part of that up to me in the last couple of weeks and I can see how He has guided me to be where I am now and where I need to continue to go to get where I want in life and in the eternal scheme of things.

I feel so emotional about my mission lately. When I think of it (which has been so often since Stake Conference - it has even overtaken my dreams!), I get teary (even now!) and feel so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve. Ah, I am just so grateful....

I think I am going to make a poster for our bulletin board that says, "I CAN DO HARD THINGS!" to remind myself when I doubt.

Good luck to all of us. We really CAN DO HARD THINGS! (whether we served a mission or not!)

Love ya!