Hey y'all!!! One year ago yesterday, I came home from the Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission. Upon my return home, my mother asked me to write a final entry for this blog. I put it off for a while. Then, I thought of making a post one year after returning home. This way I can express my feelings about serving a mission for the Lord and share some things that have happened in my life and the lives of certain people in the Great TKM during the last year :).
First, allow me to express my love and gratitude for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Without them, I would not have been able to serve. They gave me strength and direction. Serving a mission was definitely challenging. Yet, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
I learned many important lessons from serving a mission. I came to know how to trust in the Lord and follow His Spirit. Before receiving my mission call, I prayed every day and told the Lord that I would go anywhere and speak any language he wanted me to. I also told him that it would be really great if I could learn another language. Then, I got called to the Great TKM, English speaking. Everyone I talked with always said that I pretty much be going foreign and learning another language. Pretty much haha :). It took some getting used to, but I quickly learned to love my mission and the people there. I remember having an interview with President Griffin about six months into my mission. I hadn't seen was sad and concerned that I was doing something wrong. He told me that the only thing I was doing wrong was that I was getting discouraged. The interview with him really lifted my spirits. He is very good at that sort of stuff :). Anyways, I was called to finish training a new missionary (Elder H.) that next transfer. Three days into the transfer I received a call from President Griffin. He asked if I still wanted to learn Spanish and I told him yes. I was transferred to Fort Payne, AL as a Spanish Missionary a few hours later. That night we had a dinner appointment with the M. family. The mother was a member but the daughter, V., wasn't. After dinner we were about to share a spiritual thought when V. tells us that she wants to be baptized! It was then that I received a strong testimony that the Lord hears our prayers and answers them. V. was baptized soon after that. I think of it as a tender mercy from the Lord. She probably doesn't realize it, but meeting her and having that experience has changed my life. The Lord has blessed me through many people like he did with V.
Well, I suppose that some of you may be interested in what's been going on in my life since I've been home, so I'll fill you in on that :). It took a good while for me to get used to being home. Don't get me wrong, I loved being with my family again. It was just strange to be alone at times, hug women, etc. About five weeks after returning home, I took my parents to the Great TKM. I felt the humidity after arriving in Atlanta and it felt so good--I was home! We toured the mission, seeing all of the areas that I had served in. It was great being back :). We saw all of the great investigators, converts, members, and missionaries that I'd met while serving. It was so good to see all of them! I mentioned before that it was weird being able to hug women again. Yeah, it was like double that for hugging women in the TKM haha. But, I started getting the hang of it after a while :). In December I was able to see the S. family get sealed in the Atlanta, GA Temple! Also, earlier this month I had my first mission reunion! It was great to see my old companions and missionary pals :).
After returning home, I resumed my position as an Assistant Girls Soccer Coach at Snow Canyon High School. I also became a math tutor at Dixie State University. The girls on the team were very good and all of us coaches were very confident in their abilities. We trained them hard and they worked hard throughout the season. We were very excited as we began the state tournament. We made it all the way to the Finals where we faced Park City. We've always kind of had a rivalry with Park City. Some of the girls had to deal with some very difficult challenges, of which I won't go into detail, shortly before the State game. We gave them blessings. The prophet gave them a little motivational speech! I felt confident that they would be able to perform well even with what they were going through :). They did. The girls took the state title with a 1 to 0 win! It was a great experience in which we saw and felt the Lord's help :).
During the past two semesters I've been working on becoming and EMT. I earned my Basic EMT certification last semester and am currently working on my Advanced EMT certification. I love it and I can't wait to start working on an ambulance :) I'm planning on going into the Paramedic program here either next year or the year after. I'm going to submit an application for next year's program and see what happens. The one thing that I know for certain is that I want to be in the medical field. For a really long time I was dead-set on becoming a doctor. That is still an option, but I have other things that I'm looking into as well: RN and Physician Assistant in particular. Time will tell. But, I'm excited with what I'm doing right now :).
Well, there you have it. I hope that I've provided enough info. I know that I haven't covered everything. That wasn't really my intention. I hope that you've been able to understand that serving a mission has meant everything to me and that I love life. To those of you who are considering serving a mission: do it. Well, I can't really give commandments haha. So, I strongly encourage you to sincerely and diligently think and pray about it. If I could do it all over again I would. Also, to any of you who may be investigating the church or who are less active: I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's is the true church of Jesus Christ. I invite you to allow the missionaries to share their message with you. Then, ponder and pray about it.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me before, during, and after my mission. You're help is greatly appreciated. I love y'all!!! :)