Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014 - This Isn't the End, Just a New Beginning

The last week of my mission has been the craziest I'd have to say.I guess I was getting too comfortable when I had figured everything out with all of my exchanges because I got a new companion last Wednesday. Her name is Sister Russell and her companion, Sister Baldwin, had to go home on medical release to go get hip surgery. Sister Russell is great and I'm glad I got to be her companion. So this last week I finished Sister Russell's training, worked her area, and continued all of my previous duties with all of the sisters. I have maybe had 4 hours of proselyting time this whole week. I felt bad for Sister Russell's area because we weren't able to work in it very much. The Lord did provide for some teaching opportunities though! This is also the same area when I went on exchanges a couple of weeks ago, we found a new investigator, Michael. I have been able to teach him several times this week and we were also able to give him a church tour. He didn't come to church yesterday because of family coming into town, but he was a lot more willing to come to church. We addressed a lot of his concerns and invited him to baptism in this lesson, but he wouldn't commit to a date. I know Sister Russell will do great and continue to help him.

After sacrament meeting was when it was confirmed to me why I needed to be in this area again. The husband of this part member, less-active family we had been reactivating and trying to teach the wife, Rachel, came up to me. He said I needed to come by today to see his wife Rachel because she needed some upliftment and would be happy to see me. The spirit was so strong in this lesson. Rachel really opened up. I can't really remember what we said, but what I do know the Spirit was there and that everyone in the room felt it. I know Rachel will get baptized someday. The family has a lot of things to work through, but I know her heart has been softened. I know the entire family's heart has been softened. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. I think it was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever taught. I thank Heavenly Father for giving me this last teaching opportunity as His representative. I think the hardest thing about not going to be a missionary any more is that you no longer have the mantle when teaching people. I will miss it.

This transfer we were not able to go to the Gilbert Temple as a mission. So last week as a zone we went to the Mesa Temple. This week I was also able to go to the Gilbert Temple for the first time to do a session with Sister Baldwin before she left on Tuesday afternoon. The Spirit is always so strong in the Lord's house. I received a lot of comfort that I needed and it was one of the most powerful times I've gone to the Temple with the exception of the first time I went. I am so grateful to have been able to go to the Temple twice this transfer. I can't wait to be able to go to the Temple every week! I always feel motivated and uplifted as I go to the Temple.

Words can't really describe my feelings today.18 months has flown by way too fast. I wish I could remain a missionary here in the Arizona Gilbert Mission forever. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a full-time mission. I wouldn't trade any of the experiences I've had for anything. Each experience has shaped me into the person I am today. I never want to go back to the old Lauren; I forever want to keep what I've learned and apply it for the rest of my life. Don't worry, I know I can't stay here and I will not miss the plane ride home tomorrow. I have to continue to progress in life and I'm ready for whatever the Lord wants me to do. I have said a lot of goodbyes in the past couple of days, but I will be saying a lot of hellos in the next couple of days. I know this isn't the end, just a new beginning.

I know Christ lives! My entire existence is possible because of Him. I know this is Christ's church because it has the fullness of the gospel. I love my Savior and I know He loves me. I am a Daughter of a Heavenly King and because I know this I know my potential. I love reading the Book of Mormon and I know it is the word of God. Every time I read it, I always learn something new. I know the power of Christ's infinite Atonement because I have applied it in my life. He knows exactly how we feel and helps us become new creatures unto God. I love my Heavenly Father and I know He answers our prayers. I am grateful for everything I have learned on my mission. The top three things I've learned and will continue to apply are 1. Always aligning my will with God's 2. The importance of repenting daily and 3. Always being exactly obedient to the Spirit.

Thank you for all of your support! I do look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow (or in the next couple of weeks).


Sister Collins