Dear Fallon 2nd Ward,
I thought that by going on a mission across the country that I would be able to get out of speaking , but apparently, I was wrong.
I am doing GREAT here in Brunswick, GA! Even though I am serving in the U.S., the culture of the south takes a lot of getting used to.
Since being out here, I’ve learned three things about a mission:
1. Missions are funny. I’ve met so many interesting people, I’ve had so many things not go my way, and I’ve been thrown into so many awkward and uncomfortable situations, that all I can do is laugh.
2. Missions are EXHAUSTING! I didn’t think it was possible to be this tired running on 8 hours of sleep! Every night I come home physically and mentally drained, which is a good thing. Even though days can be long and tiring, it is so worth it.
3. Missions are spiritual! I have never been closer to the spirit than I am right now. I see miracles happening every single day. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the Lord’s work.
I ‘ve never worked harder in my life than what I’m doing here on my mission. I’ve never worked for such a great cause either. It’s taken some time, but I’m starting to love the people here, even the stinky ones that are missing teeth. I’ve come to realize that Heavenly Father has so much love for each and every one of us and He wants ALL of us to be happy. And that is what I’m out here doing: bringing that peace and joy that I feel because of the gospel to other children of God.
I have so many experiences every single day that strengthen my testimony. One in particular was with an investigator, Latoya. We were eating lunch at Chick-fil-a and she happened to be working there. She asked if we were Mormon, and told us that she had gotten a Book of Mormon from a friend in middle school, but had since lost it. She was interested in learning more, so we set up a return appointment. Four days later she texted telling us that she wanted to get baptized. Less than three weeks later she was baptized and has been coming to church ever since. This experience strengthened my testimony in the power of prayer. My companion and I had been fasting and praying to find someone that was ready to hear and accept the gospel. And we did. This experience also strengthened my testimony in that Heavenly Father is preparing those around us to hear the gospel, we just have to be aware and open our mouths to share it.
Being converted to serve with “full purpose of heart” hasn’t been a one time thing. I’m working on it every single day. It can be hard sometimes because I can get caught up in thinking about my friends and family and things I’ve left behind at home. But now that I’m on my mission, I need to be HERE- with my heart , might, mind, and strength.
To the youth of the ward preparing to serve missions, I have a few things to say. 1. Pay attention in seminary! I was a terrible seminary student and now that I’m on my mission I wish that I would have actually listened and learned the Bible and Book of Mormon stories and scripture mastery. 2. Start reading your scriptures and praying every day. It is a great habit that should begin before you go on a mission. It plays a huge role in how the rest of your day goes. 3. This one, as well as #2, applies to everyone…but study Preach my Gospel. It is such a great book and can teach you so much, even if you’re not a full time missionary.
In this month’s Ensign, there was a great message called “ The Best Time to Plant a Tree.” Everyone should go home and read it. It talks about setting goals and why we should set goals of spiritual achievement. Goals bring out the best in us. Even if we fail, we are better than we were when we started out. I love the quote at the end that says, ”The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now… Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be – not only 20 years from now, but also for all eternity.” I encourage everyone to challenge yourselves and set a specific goal to bring you closer to Christ and start TODAY. There is no better time.
I am so thankful to be on a mission at this exciting time when the work is truly hastening. I’m so thankful for the examples that you all have been to me over the years, you all have made such an impact in my life.
I know that the church is true. I have never been more sure of anything. I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ restored in these latter days through Joseph Smith. I know that my redeemer lives and loves me. I know that the atonement is real and that because of it, we can be completely forgiven of our sins. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. And I know that living the gospel is the ONLY way to have peace and joy in this life. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.Love, Sister K