WE DID IT!!! We made it to the LAST time I will email you! I remember getting all of these from friends - like seeing Kenz's and thinking how on earth is she already coming home. I think back to points on my mission and just thinking that this day would never come... and now LOOK! Its here. I just can't believe it. Crazy crazy crazy.
But to update ya quickly! This week has been great. A rollercoaster ride for sure. Its so hard to stay focused on what is important and still keep my mind on the work and all of that but there are so many distractions and just things to take of - that have to be taken care of as well. So i have just been really working on keeping my thoughts focused and trying to be where I am as much as possible. It has been helpful having 2 exchanges because I am just thinking about them instead of me! Isn't that great. A mission has taught me that service and always thinking of others is ALWAYS the key! It really does make everything better. But yes! I HAD MY LAST EXCHANGE OF MY MISSION ON MONDAY! WHOOO!!! I have LOVED getting to spend most of my mission going on exchanges with other sisters. It has been the biggest blessing to get the privilege of getting to meet and become such great friends with so many amazing girls from all over the world too! I have been the lucky one to work with all of them which has helped me become better and then strengthened our area too! I have loved it. But they are also a lot of work... can be exhausting and takes loads of preparation and planning SO it was exciting in that aspect too! :) So that was great. Grateful to be a sister training leader and learn so much from the sisters.
With that! I have also LOVED being able to go to MLCs and just be so close to President and Sister Gubler. OH i love them. But crazy story of this week. WE were supposed to have MLC yesterday but last weekend we got an email that they changed it to TOMORROW and then on Friday we also have another full day of additional trainings and meetings. SO on my very last week I am at MLC all of tomorrow, the training all of Friday, and then run back to prepare the chapel for EMMANUELLA'S BAPTISM!!!!!! AHHH!! Can you believe it! She passed her interview yesterday and is getting baptized this Saturday! It is SO GREAT! No better way to spend my last weekend. But with that we will run back to get the chapel set up because on Saturday morning at 9 we have Zasha's patriarchal blessing and then the baptism at 10 and then at 11:30 DLC will start - that will go for probably a good rest of the day and then Suman is having us for dinner. and then Sunday and Monday and then i leave! CRAZY RIGHT? I was trying to fall asleep last night and I panicked realizing that we are so busy but I also still need to pack! haha its so good though! Im excited for a busy week and so grateful for MLC and meetings because I get to see some of my best friends like Sister Couper! Where i wouldn't get to see her and say goodbye if not! So it will be exciting.
How great is that? Emmanuella is getting baptized! She is so funny. The most spunky and crazy 10 year old I have ever seen. It's so crazy to me that all of these kids I have taught I always think how I have a little sister their age. and then I stop because I don't! I LEFT a little sister their age but she is now 12! TWELVE! Linds still seems like this little girl to me. I think i am going to have a shock with her for sure. But I'm so excited to see her. Ive been living with sisters for the past 18 months and I am excited to get to be with my real one!
But a lot of the past week has just been getting Emmanuella ready and teaching and just running around. Its been really fun! we didn't do anything special for new years eve... besides NOT being able to sleep because of all the noise. I have been struggling lately to fall asleep. Its the worst but i feel like with everything going on once I get to bed that is the time my brain still doesn't switch off and my thoughts are all over the place. So its been hard anyways but then on new years eve our neighbours were BLASTING music. it was exciting. So nothing fun there but on new years day
Sister Aidoo invited us over for dinner! It was great! She is so wonderful. We will definitely come and visit her when we come back!
A fun experience this week was on a teach with Emmanuella we brought a brother from Ghana to fellowship Emmanuella's dad ( a LA coming back! ) We were almost done with the lesson but then we asked him how he came to know about the church. Cute brother Akesson then told the greatest story of his conversion. Lasted about 30 minutes... yikes! Definitely went over time on the lesson. But it was great. He talked about how he actually never had missionaries teach him. He had grown up believing and came across the BOM and said because he knew of God he wanted to know what this book said about Him. So he started reading and he said that it felt like there was a magnet. He couldn't put it down. And as he read he said he started seeing changes in his life - he was blessed to find a job when the situation was so hard at the time. He was being so blessed that even his friends he lived with asked him what he was doing - thought he was using voodoo magic. He told them that it was just the book. Even his muslim friend apparently read and it converted him as well. After all of this they finally found out that the Book was associated with our church and were baptized 2 weeks after finding the church. It was so neat to hear him bare the most humble and powerful testimony of the Book of mormon. As i reflect on it I love it so much because I have come to know that as well. There is a power that comes through reading it. I know it because I have experienced it. No longer do I read because I know i should or I am told to but I LOVE IT. I truly feel a difference in the days where I don't get to read it, or read it as I should. I long for it. And I think that is because as I read I remember HIm. I remember my saviour. As I have read the Book of Mormon on my mission I have come to know my Saviour Jesus Christ. I have seen how he has healed, lead, and blessed his children. I have seen his compassion and service and example. And i have come to recognize how he has done all of those things for me as well. I am so grateful for brother Akessons testimony that reminded me of my testimony as well. I know the book of mormon is true. And with that it will never matter what anyone says to me about our church or Joseph Smith or the current prophet. the Book is true and so it backs up everything else.
Another tender moment this week was last night traveling home from Kelly and her girls. I sat by a man and just started to talking to him about his day. He was a sweet man from Jamaica. The conversation eventually lead to why I was there... my favorite question :).... and I told him! I showed him the Book of Mormon and I testified how It could help us. He said he had heard of it before and then asked the BEST question - how could he get one of those books. I know I have done it so many times on my mission but I realized when I handed him the book of mormon and promised him how much it could help him I realized how much I am going to miss that. Get to miss being in London and serving these people that I LOVE. I love the crazy London life and so many people that say no to me ALL day long but then we find that ONE person that is just ready for it and wanting it. And then getting to see how the gospel really does change them. because it is true. Ah even writing it out my heart is just really full. I love this so much. I am so grateful for the blessing it has been to serve here but mostly to serve Him.
But with that! I know that it will be so great at home - I'm still not to sure about the whole school thing and next steps with it all - but i know it will be the best because I will get to be back at home with all of you! :) And so that will make it the best no matter what.
I am so excited to see you - and I feel like i am ready! I am definitely tired and so looking forward to just being the best member of the church that I can be. Just getting to apply everything I have learned here but I am going to miss this a lot. I love getting to do this. I guess as i have been thinking (going on my rollercoaster ride :) ) my heart is just so full of thanks that Heavenly Father lead me to serving. I think back to when I was trying to figure out if I should go or what I should do - if it was right - and how difficult it was for me. The thought though if I had decided not to - oh it makes me just cringe. I am SO thankful that I decided to come. It has been THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. Nothing has pushed me more emotionally and mentally and spiritually as well. I have literally had the WORST of the worst times and the hardest situations where I have felt alone and confused and just so hopeless. But with all of that - and through all of that - Those times have become the most sacred of experiences for me now because I came to know my Saviour Jesus Christ. I came to know that He really does live. I KNOW THIS. I know that he can help us NO MATTER WHAT. no matter how silly or small or even how big - that his sacrifice covers it. And His sacrifice covers me. I have come to see how His love changes others. I have seen it time and time again as I have been blessed to witness so many friends come to know him as well and get on the path to coming to know him more. I have come to know him as I have not just testified of his name but defended it. And i am determined to forever do that. I have come to know that His atoning sacrifice is real and I have felt peace. I have felt forgiven. I have seen for myself that guilt and regrets and dispare can be turned to hope and peace and relief because he suffered it all for me. Oh i just know that he is there. If there is one thing that I have learned these 18 months is that I have come to know him. And that has made all of those hard experiences more than worth it. and with that I know that no matter what the future brings it will be okay! He is going to have my back just like he always has. I know that he will always be there and so with that I am not afraid! He will help me! I loved your quote mom - it was exactly right.
So yes. Im just so grateful. I love him! And I love these people and this experience. And i am so grateful that I love it so much and that it will be hard to leave it all. That is what I wanted! I have let Him change me. So as funny as the transition might be, I'm grateful its not something that will be easy!
I was also thinking of all of the other fun things that serving has taught me though too! Like how to use a knife! Honestly I have to use it now... I have also learned of the incredible thing of CUSTARD! Taught me the importance of Goals. As well as how to manage my time and keep a planner! So important. I think i will need to buy one or use a phone (will i have one of those? ) or something! I don't know how I would do it otherwise - i have turned into a list person! Warning you as well a mission has also taught me how to multi task REALLY well. I think it drives poor Sister Dorich crazy but I just can't sit still. I have to be doing something all the time. So help me get over that, I think it would be good for me to just sit... But i have also learned that love is the MOST important thing. That is doesn't matter who they are or funny things that they do - you can get along with anyone and not just get along with them but learn to love them! I have learned the value in serving. Teaching one by one. I have also learned the importance of friends - good friends that have the same goals that you do. I have learned that I do not handle funny foods well - and that I love carrots! :) Oh just so much. So grateful to be here.
BUT, i was thinking about how excited I am to just update you on everything. I have felt my whole mission, it actually frustrated me a lot at the beginning, on how I couldn't really tell you anything. Ha sounds kind of funny as this is getting SO long but I would send emails and it just doesn't tell anything really of my week or certain experiences or telling you about the people! OH i can't wait to tell you about everything. I didn't end up buying a stick to put my pictures on. They were crazy expensive. But they should all be on the computer right? You have them on your emails at least? And I will send them all over to me again so i don't loose them. BUT i can't wait to go through the pictures and just tell you the stories behind all of them.
Cant believe that I get to see you so soon!
Hope you have the BEST week and just get to excited for me to come home! :)
Thank youfor being the BEST support while I have been out here! SO much of it goes to you as well. Thank you for your love and help and guidance and patience. Just everything. I LOVE YOU!!!!!
And not only TALK to you soon... but SEE YOU SOON!!
I love you!