I have no idea how to describe how I'm feeling right now. Torn might be the best word. I am excited to go home, but my heart aches when I think about leaving Spokane and these people here. I've been pretty numb to it the last few weeks, trying to ignore that this is coming. People ask me about going home and I talk about it, but it doesn't seem real. It hit me the other day though for the first time that I really am going home. That my time here is coming to a close. When I realized that I started crying. And when I got home that night I just went into the room of another sister in my apartment, Hermana Phipps, who is going home with me and we cried. I'm so sad to leave so much behind. I'm so sad that these spiritual experiences (in abundance) are coming to a close.
Well this last week and a half was full of a lot of service. The wives of our bishopric members have been going through a lot lately with surgeries and family stuff so we went and offered service to them. You know you love your bishop when you willingly clean his toilet! :) And our relief society president moved with her family from one house in our stake to another. Their home is HUGE so it took a few days of us and other ward members coming by to help pack and clean, etc. It feels so good to serve! I knew that before, but I love the spirit that I feel as I do it.
Thursday marked my 77th weekly planning session, and tomorrow will be my 78th. It was weird to weekly plan for my last week as a missionary... and it will be even weirder to weekly plan for a week when I know I won't be here. It's pretty hard to weekly plan with a companion who is checked out. Sister Dunford is going home on Monday night. There was no changing her mind, and it breaks my heart.I tried, unsuccessfully, for a transfer to convince her to stay out! I don't want her to miss out on the incredible experiences that serving a full-time mission has to offer. I'm doing everything I can to keep her focused and working hard until the end. It's a bit of a blessing knowing that the area is being swept though, because I now have had this last week to leave very detailed notes about the area, people, and logistics of working in YSA. It's different from a family ward. I have loved every minute of my 6+ months serving in Shawnee YSA. It's the best :)
On Friday night Emily had us over to her dorm to cook us dinner and Courtney Moska was there as well. She asked a ton of questions about missionaries and what we do and why she's never seen any in her small town in New Jersey. She wants missionaries to find her dad! We decided to have a lesson with her on just the Atonement. I read my favorite scripture on it, Mosiah 14:3-5 (the whole chapter is great but I love these verses where Isaiah is quoted "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." We talked about what Christ did for her, not just as a prophet, but as the Savior of the world. It was powerful and the spirit was so strong. She is making great progress! We'll be meeting with them later this week again one last time before I go.
On Saturday I went on an exchange with Sister Jeffery. She and I were in the same MTC district and go home together on Monday. And Saturday was our 18 month mark! We had a very successful day :) We taught a lot of lessons, boldly taught everyone that would listen to us, and worked so hard. We went out to lunch to celebrate and even burned a skirt at the Fullmer's. It wasn't hard to part with that skirt, I'm so sick of it- I'm so sick of a lot of them, so I'm donating a bunch to Sister Riddle, my other tall companion :)
The other day we had a few hours until our next appointment so we were driving around and trying a few different people. I saw some 20ish year old looking guys at the bus stop and pulled the car down the street to talk to them. We got out and walked up and I started talking about the Restoration using the pamphlet to the first guy. He looked up and I realized it was Daniel! Former addict Daniel. I was a bit surprised and he was, too. We talked to him about how his recovery and scripture reading are going and we set up an appointment with him for tonight- so you'll have to wait to hear whatever crazy story I have about him until I get home. We said a prayer with him and my companion starts to walk away, but there was another guy still at the bus stop. So I started talking to him and teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I taught it very simply and short as the bus was almost there. He said he is a reformed Christian and believes what we shared- that Christ's church was lost and other churches have lost parts of the truth. Right then the bus pulled up and he had to go. We gave him the Restoration pamphlet and got his number. I'm excited to see what happens with him. We had a few other "pull over the car" stories happen this week. One was at about 8:40pm and it was snowing. Again I see some YSA aged young men so I pull down a street and park. We say a prayer and walk over to talk to them. Nothing significant happened. In fact, they were really weirded out that 2 young girls were walking around in the dark talking about family history. And I had the thought as we were approaching them "At no other time would it be okay for me to just walk up to two complete strange men walking in the dark." But I smiled, knowing that I'm on the Lord's errand. I have always felt protected and I'm proud that I have opened my mouth to share the gospel to anyone I could find. The third pull over story was with Dan, a former investigator. I met Dan a year ago while I was on exchanges last summer. We pulled up to his house and right as my companion started praying, I saw someone walk out the door and I thought "That must be Dan". My companion said what felt like the longest prayer ever and by the time she was done, Dan was 3 blocks away. The spirit told me to just yell out "Hey! Are you Dan?!" But I pushed it aside. We walked up to the door and met his brother who told us we just missed him. I was so mad I didn't act on that prompting to yell after him! So we jumped in the car and drove down the road and parked down a side street. We walked up to him and started talking. He went to seminary for 2 years and loved it! He is so elect! We had a great lesson on the side of the road at 8 o'clock at night. I'm glad that while I didn't act on the first prompting, I was given the chance to rectify it. God really is preparing so many people! He is hastening the work, and I'm doing all I can to keep pace with Him!
Well, my time is up. I'm seriously so sad right now. I want this to go on forever. But this week during interviews with the President, he showed us an MTC devotional by Elder Holland (no one gets me fired up like that man does!) And he taught about Peter becoming a powerful disciple of Christ. How he was truly converted once he decided that He loved Christ more than anything else. He dropped his nets for the final time and never looked back. I never want to pick up my old nets again. I have been called to serve, not for 18 months, but a lifetime. I look forward to serving God the rest of my life! My mission doesn't really have to end. Though I may be taking this tag of soon (and I'm dreading that moment) I will never take it off my heart.
I love you all and can't wait to see you soon!
For the last time,
Hunger Games death (Sister Jeffery and I were in the MTC together and are "dying" together in the same zone)