(At the end of each missionary's mission, President Mullen asks us each to write about our most spiritual experience)
I literally feel incapable of writing down just one “most spiritual experience”. Looking back on my mission is just a huge blur of spiritual experiences, and it’s hard to pinpoint any one thing that’s more significant than the other.
I have absolutely fallen in love with the feelings of the spirit. I can’t believe how powerful it is to feel God’s love for a complete stranger or someone I’ve only known a short time. I love feeling inspired as to what needs to be said in a lesson, and the confidence that He gives me to be bold in inviting someone to change. During the last few months I couldn’t help but smile as I taught. Though I have had many difficulties on my mission, I have never been happier and I know that’s because of the spirit. This is the only period of time in my life when I have felt the spirit so constantly, strongly, and prolonged. It has become so much easier for me to discern when there is something that God wants me to do or not do. I’m grateful for my experiences with the Holy Ghost that will help me to live a more consecrated life as a returned missionary. I’m grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned about the Atonement and how applicable it is to my life; before my mission it seemed so abstract. That is something I will cherish forever.
I know that’s not exactly what you wanted to hear, so I will share some other moments from my mission that I would consider highlights. I served in Nine Mile Falls for 9 months and that was a testament to me that God knew me. I grew to love those people and met so many people who have changed my life! The first of which is the Brunette/ Schulze family. We baptized Gavin my first transfer. He was a 9 year old son of less actives. His father and mother were both struggling with various hardcore addictions. At his baptism, his grandmother, Hope Brunette, approached us and said “We’re moving to Nine Mile Falls this week. This is my husband Hugh. He’s not a member and you need to come teach him.” I was so excited! Hugh had been investigating for 10 years over in Cle Elum, Washington. We focused so much on his concerns and needs, and as we taught the Atonement, he decided that he wanted to be baptized on Christmas Day! It was a wonderful day. Now, over a year later, he is still active in the church. And one of the greatest miracles of all is that through consistently working with Gavin’s parents, they are both clean and active. Brother Schulze is now in full fellowship with the church, ordained to the Aaronic priesthood, and getting ready to baptize his next youngest son. That family has completely turned around. What was the turning point? Well obviously they had to have soft hearts and a desire to change. But it was reading the Book of Mormon. As Brother Schulze read it, he was filled with the spirit. He started reading it with his family every night and they are now praying nightly as a family as well. They are now working towards being sealed as a family, and so are Hope and Hugh.
Another example is of the Ackaret/ Langton family. The Ackaret’s are in their late 60’s and hadn’t been to church in about eight years. We had stopped by their home a few times before and shared messages with them. They declined our invitations to church saying that they didn’t need to go to show God their faith. Well one day as we were driving, I accidentally made a wrong turn. My trainer corrected me, but I felt like we should just stay on that road. After a few moments I thought “The Ackaret’s live down this street. Let’s go see them.” We pulled up and sister Ackaret was standing at her open door with tears streaming down her face. Her drug addict daughter was coming to take her three grandchildren (whom we’d never met before) to a homeless shelter with her. Sister Ackaret had been praying because she didn’t know what to do, and minutes later we showed up. When we sat down with her, that was the first time I stopped thinking about "which lesson/ scripture should we share?" and really listened to her and the spirit. We followed the spirit in what to say and I felt like we helped her. After we calmed her down we said a prayer and left. When we got to the car I wanted to say another prayer for them. I just sat there and cried for a minute while I prayed because I really felt how hard their situation was, and I felt how much God loved them and wanted everything to work out! Eventually we had the ward get involved in helping them. The young men and young women took them right in. Over the course of a few months Steven, Austin, and MaKenna Langton were all baptized. The Ackaret’s went from saying they didn’t need church, to mentioning that they should go, to coming actively. They are now working towards being sealed and he is a ward missionary.
Through these and many other faith promoting experiences I have come to gain a more real testimony of this gospel and its truthfulness. I have loved watching the gospel in action and how it truly can transform lives. I will forever remember the lessons that I learned and always strive to live worthy of the honor of being called their “missionary”. I don’t want to go home. I want to continue learning, growing, serving, and loving. But I know that God has more in store for me in the future. My mission has meant everything to me. I will spend the rest of eternity trying to do God’s will and feeding His sheep. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much and I want everyone to be able to feel the way that I do!