With my days left in Iowa down to the single digits, I decided for the last blog post that I myself will be writing, I will be taking you through my last days a non-sister missionary and my studies, thoughts and findings. So I hope you enjoy and that you learn something or at least are mildly entertained.
Day 1 (March 17, 2012. T-9 days until departure): Today I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures (Mostly because my dad ordered my mission plaque that will go up in our branch building and they asked for a scripture) which is 2 Cor. 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Short, sweet and to the point. Walk by faith, not by sight. Wow. I feel like people (definitely myself included) are too scared to take any kind of leap of faith if they don't see the immediate consequence. This is a little reminder that you have to have faith that if you pray for inspiration about an action or choice, you know that what you doing is the right thing, even if you can't see the consequence. I also learned that four hours of church, while makes me feel like a spiritual beast, makes me feel physically like death. But going to my dear friend Mary's farewell was totally worth it.
Day 2 (March 18, 2012. T-8 days until departure): Unfortunately, today I didn't do much scripture/Preach My Gospel study. I wasn't feeling well and couldn't concentrate but with what energy I did have, I got started on packing and got my flu shot, so mission preparations were made. I also talked to a friend of mine who I met when he served in the DeWitt branch and he gave me three good missionary tips that I think can apply to anyone, whether you're on a mission or not. I changed them a little bit so they would make a little more sense with less explanation. They are as follows:
- Do NOT compare yourself to others.
- You are going to enter the MTC and there will be people who have been there already for awhile. Since you're Spanish speaking, there will be Sisters and Elders that will know a little bit BUT when they enter the field after the MTC, they're back to not knowing anything. Some missionaries might look down upon you and think they know so much Spanish, and so much about teaching but really, you will all exit the MTC equally. YOu still have just as much authority as they do.
- First step: Find out why you're stressed and decide if you have control over it in your life. There is no sense in worrying about something you cannot change.
- Second step: Imagine that the trial you are going through is plotted on a line, the line is eternity, and sincerely ask yourself, "Is this trial going to really ruin eternity? This trial is a test, and I want to come out of it in a way that impresses the Lord."
- Your mission will be the most fun two years ever. You're going to break rules on accident or have a lazy companion that needs encouragement from you. That might sound scary. "What? I'm going to break rules?" Yes, but never do it willingly.
Also, the Onkens were nice enough to get me a nice book to read before I left for the MTC. It's What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission by John Bytheway. I started reading it today and it is just chuck full of goodies. One of my favorites is when he's talking about using the time on your mission wisely and not to count time, but make time count. A saying he had on his mission was, "You have two years to do it, an eternity to think about it." I really like this one and I may even make a picture of it to hang in my room while I'm on my mission, write it in my scriptures and in my Preach My Gospel, and put it any other place I can think of where I will see it every day so it will always be in the back of my mind. If I have this mindset, I think I will work the hardest I have ever worked in my life and never do anything that I would think was wasteful in future years, and I need that kind of motivation. I don't want to be ashamed of my actions. I've been there, done that, and it was not pleasant. Never again.
So even though I didn't do any scripture or Preach My Gospel study, I'd still say this was a pretty productive day.
Day 3 (March 19, 2012. T-7 days until departure): Today was definitely a day of highs and lows. High included working with Mallory Shumate. Low included it being the last time I would work with Mallory. Ever. But that's not the point. I was having a delightful conversation with dear Mallory during work and during this talk was when I realized that I really am ready for this mission. I definitely couldn't been more prepared scripturally and physically, but I am definitely mentally and emotionally ready for this long journey ahead of me. I can't believe it's a week away. And that I'll never work with Mallory again. Sad day.
Day 4 (March 20, 2012. T-6 days until departure): Today was rather uneventful as far as epiphanies goes, but it was a good day, none the less. While at work I was reading more of What I Wish I'd Know Before My Mission (I love that book, by the way, and recommend it to anyone considering a mission, or anyone in general. Lots o' goodies in that book) and with all the scriptural references and truths in that book, I can really feel the Spirit when I read it. I could hear the movie in the background (Identity Thief, which is rated R for what I can imagine is profanity only) and I was doing really well at tuning it out while I read. But then came one of the lines where the F-Bomb was practically shouted. That was a little harder to tune out. What surprised me was just how quickly the Spirit was gone. I didn't even stop reading, but as soon as that word was sounded, the Spirit left. It took me by surprise, a little, to be totally honest. I then scooted to a place where I couldn't hear the movie as well and continued my reading.
Day 5 (March 21, 2012. T-5 days until departure): Today was just awesome. It didn't start out very well. I was dreading working my last day at the Operahouse because seriously, who wouldn't? I was a little glum all day but I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer so instead of doing my usual thing of skulking around and thinking, "Oh no, this is the last time I'll be opening up at the Operahouse, this is the last time I'll be making popcorn, this is the last time I'll go to start the movie, etc." I just acted like it was a usual day. Breanne and I had a great time working tonight! We shared some laughs and enjoyed a great conversation with each other. Then came time to close and I pulled the well-it's-my-last-night-so-can-I-shopvac card (shopvaccing is my favorite, by the way) and Breanne being the sweetheart that she is let me. Then, about halfway through my happy shopvaccing, Breanne came in requiring my "help in the bathroom." I walk out in the lobby to find the entire Operahouse gang standing in a line, awaiting my arrival. I cried. We then shared cake, took some goofy pictures, and watched movies on the big screen whilst laying on the stage. Best. Sleepover. EVER!!! Seriously, you wanna have a good movie night? Do it in a movie theatre that has a stage in front of it and lay on the stage. It's mind blowing. Needless to say I very much love the girls that I have worked with these last few years and will miss them dearly. And Bim too.
Day 6 (March 22, 2012. T-4 days until departure): Today I pretty much just slept off last night. And finished packing. I'm under the max weight, by the way.
Day 7 (March 23, 2012. T-3 days until departure): Today I talked to a friend of mine from back in middle school and he was asking me about why I would go on a mission and what my purpose was as a missionary. He had the usual opinion of missionaries where having them knock on your door is obnoxious so I had to be very careful about how I answered his questions so I didn't create more negative feelings for him. It was a very humbling and extremely intimidating experience. I also went to Mallory's baby shower. I very much want the Batman towel I made for her baby.
Day 8 (March 24, 2012. T-2 days until departure): Today I had my farewell. It's in a separate post. Read and enjoy.
Day 9 (March 25, 2012. T-1 days until departure [Also referred to as the day I was set apart]): Right now I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that this is actually happening. Yeeeeessss!!!
Day10 (March 26, 2012. T-0 days until departure [Also referred to as the day I aced this place]): I'm writing this before I get set apart so no rules were broken, but I would imagine future me would write something along the lines of, "I'm out, suckas! See you on the other side! And don't forget to write.