Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Louisiana trip

Moab trip

homecoming photos

Grandma's Baptism

My Grandma decided to rejoin the LDS church. It came as a little bit of a shock because she hadn't been a member for over 20 years but this last week I got to sit down with my Grandma and talk for like 2+ hours about her experiences with the gospel and everything and about my experiences. It was so cool! She really opened up a lot, which helped me to understand why she is where she is at in life and why she has hesitated to rejoin the church in the past. Basically when she was 40 she had some friends who asked her about some church history things and it was all pretty negative and she just kept looking up negative and anti stuff until she decided to remove her name from the church. She than joined a Baptist church who would preach against Mormons. And I remember her taking my sister and I when we were younger, it was strange but for some reason it was what she needed at the time. It is helping her to appreciate the gospel more fully now and to see how blessed we are to have the fullness of the gospel.
I was actually kind of skeptical at first when she told me that she was going to be baptized again. I questioned why the sudden change of heart and the reasons why. Which I know its not my place to judge, I just wanted whats best for her and after talking to her I knew her heart is in the right place. I truly felt like at that moment how God must feel when we turn to him for help, so full of joy and peace. I had a hard time preparing a talk for the baptism, I wrote like 6 different ones but didn't like any of them and it was a busy week and I ended up using the 4th article of faith and a part of the definition of baptism in the bible dictionary and sharing more of what was in my heart and my testimony. It was definitely the spirit guiding me because I prefer to feel a little more prepared hahahah but it went well! It was a really spiritual baptism and experience.

What its like to be an RM...

Coming home from a mission is strange. I have no better word for it. Its hard to explain unless you have done it for yourself. To concentrate your time to 1 thing for 18-24 months really does change you and set you apart from the world. And than you are basically just thrown back into reality. hahahah and sometimes it works and some days you are knocked off your feet.
I came home to a job of coaching high school lacrosse so that was a huge blessing!! But I didn't want to go home.... Like I was excited to see my family but I knew I was going to miss being a missionary and teaching the gospel and serving others more than I could imagine. And truth is that coming home from a mission is the hardest thing I have done up to this point in my life. It's different for everyone but I think some things are the same. When you get released and are supposed to take your name tag off, it will hurt. I felt such a whole in my heart just hearing my stake president say "you are now released" I immediately bawled. I couldn't take my own name tag off. My mom had to. And I held in my hands for like a good hour crying. And kept in my pocket for a while when I went places.
I think I didn't want to let go of it because to me it was more than a name tag. It represented everything I've done for 18 months, the hard work, the laughs, the love, the growth, and seeing myself and other come closer to Christ. But honestly I was also afraid that I would forget about how great my mission was or just move on. But no worries haahah you don't forget. Not a day goes by I don't think about it or talk about it or talk to people from my mission. Coming home is hard but it's a blessing. I have been able to work on myself spiritually more and it's amazing!! I still get to serve, teach and talk to people. Nothing is really different except for my calling. 
One thing that I have loved about being home is really trying to figure out how the spirit speaks to me. And I had 2 really cool experiences. 1-my grandma who left the church when I was younger let me know that she wants to rejoin! And I felt so guided in how to respond and to help her along this journey! 2-I went to the temple on Saturday but didn't know which session I wanted to go to and I literally felt the need to get up out of bed right then and there and head to the temple. I've never had a feeling so strong. But I listened to it and I showed up and this friend that I had met 3 years ago when I lived down here was going through the temple for the first time and I got to go with her since the spirit helped me to get there at a certain time! It was such a special experience because I didn't know that she was there, and later she was telling her parents and fiancĂ© how grateful she was for me and how I was her first friend she had in the ward. I never knew I had made that impact on her or anything. So it definitely blessed the both of us. God is just so good and so aware of what all of us need!!   

God is full of tender mercies, I have had so many job opportunities and even though my schooling plans are different I fully believe it is what God needs me to do and one day I may understand why. He truly has a plan for each of us and I am so grateful for that. I also was able to go back to Louisiana for 2 months to spend time with the Leblanc's. I LOVE THEM. So grateful for the relationship I have with them and that they are like my family.

So when you come home from a mission or know some one who is coming home my best advice is to love and support them through what ever they may be feeling. Ask them about their mission, be specific, be interested in their stories and ask if they have pictures about it. Ask about the people that changed their life. Be there for them how ever you can because they are going through a ton of change and just trying to do their best.