01 November 2015

Missionary Service

Amy and me.
Nine years ago today, I returned home after spending a year and a half away from home serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Cindy and me at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
It was exciting returning home to see family and friends (one of whom was Jack!) after 18 months in Montreal, Quebec and to wonder what direction the Lord would take my life once I'd completed my mission.
Eunji.
I've had so many new and exciting adventures since my return. Jack and I were married, we've had four beautiful children, owned two homes, lived in four states, have completed two degrees and two internships and had our first "real" jobs. Even though life has been fantastic and wonderful, I still think back often and fondly on my time in Quebec.
Being silly with Katie and Christina.
In many ways, I learned and grew in Montreal that would have been near impossible to do in any other way. I moved away to a foreign country where I didn't know anyone, could barely speak the language where I lived on my own, doing everything from laundry and grocery shopping to budgeting and making sure the car was parked on the correct side of the street during the day to prevent getting a ticket when the street sweeper made its pass. If that weren't a challenge enough, I had to learn to overcome my natural tendency toward shyness and for a year and a half, rarely had a break from the demanding work of volunteering and proselyting.
Ann and me with our friend Mary.
As much as the experience stretched me, it has returned blessings tenfold. I can hardly look at photos of my mission without reliving experiences, remembering friendships and seeing personal growth in myself. A lump in my throat and tears form when I flip through pages of the journal I faithfully wrote in every day or look at photos of people I visited, many of whom have probably long since forgotten our interactions. I am grateful for everything my mission taught me and the path it set me on.
Heidi
Of everyone, my mission companions hold an incredibly close place in my heart. I was with them all day, every day for at least a six week period, and in that time, I got to know them incredibly well. To this day, I am still in awe of their talents. One spoke French better than English and jump started my love of the French language. Another had an angelic voice and would often sing for no particular reason. One could outrun me any day of the week and had a contagious laughter. I had a companion who, in more ways than one, was my twin. I shared a love of animals, especially dogs, with another and one was so sweet and kind as a newbie in the mission field. Yet another had the ability to whip up delicious desserts on a whim and was always the way the life of the party. They are all women of faith and I miss them terribly but it has been a joy to see what has become of them since their own church missions have come to an end. On top of it all, I am grateful for coming to know my Father in Heaven and my Savior, Jesus Christ more personally as I tried my best to serve them alongside those wonderful women.
Jack on his church mission in Mexico.
I am excited to see where the next decade takes my life post-mission. Only the Lord can know, but I anticipate many more adventures, now with my own family along for the ride. I, for one, hope a trip back to Quebec visit is in order!

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