I've been thinking lately about my mission a lot and the blessings it brought to my life. Jeremy and I both had the opportunity to serve missions in third-world countries. He served in Mongolia and I served in the Philippines. As I've been reflecting on the blessings of my mission I have realized that it not only blessed me during the time I was serving, but my experiences in the Philippines shaped me into the person I am now which blesses my life today and will continue to bless my life into the future. Before I had the opportunity to live as I did on my mission I was a very selfish person who wanted only the best and didn't want to wait for anything. Jeremy and I are living very humbly right now, and I am so grateful for the changes in my personality due to living in the Philippines because it doesn't bother me at all. Not that we are super poor or barely getting by or anything, we are just content to go without things we don't need right now. We share a car and use public transportation (something I became a pro at on the mission), and we use the phrase "it would be nice, but we don't need it" far more often than I ever did before my mission. I'm grateful that Jeremy too had the opportunity to serve a mission and to serve in a third-world country because we both were blessed to learn how to live with little and be perfectly happy.
Another huge blessing from my mission is my testimony. I can't imagine where I would be if I hadn't made the choice to serve when I did. I was at a crossroads in my life at the time I made that important decision, and I am scared to think where I might be now if I had chosen the other road. I love the gospel and am grateful that I served a mission so that I could develop that love, and see the miracles the gospel can bring into people's lives. I am grateful that Jeremy and I both had the opportunity to teach the gospel to others because we will need those skills when we try to teach it to our children.
I think my mission has been on my mind so much lately because I have a lot of loved ones currently serving missions. Kimber, my little sister and best friend, is serving in Argentina. She entered the MTC on February 9th so she has almost been serving for 4 months. (That means she comes home in only 14 more months:)) I LOVE reading her weekly emails because I can see her learning and growing and changing like I did. She had a head start on me though, she went out so much more prepared and stronger than I did. She's been in the country for just over one transfer I think. She's with her second companion now and doing great. Both of her companions have been natives with English skills probably as good as her spanish when she got to the country. I can't really relate because my trainer was American, but I envy her because I know her language is coming very quickly. Kim worried about her teaching skills, and wondered if she would be "good enough" as a teacher to be a missionary. I don't know why she worried though because I know she is doing great. Even if she isn't a master teacher her love of the gospel can be felt each time she bears her testimony or teaches a principle. I wish I could be her companion for a day. That would be so much fun! I really miss her, but I am so proud of her for serving. I think she also worried about being homesick in the mission field, but in a letter she wrote recently she said she hasn't been homesick at all. I know the Lord is blessing her for her service.
My little brother, Christian, is also serving a mission right now. He hasn't been in the MTC even two weeks yet, but he too is doing great. He was called to serve in the Berlin Germany mission. I don't know if he ever even considered the possibility of not serving a mission. He's always been such a good kid, and a good example to me. "He did it right" as my grandma said the other day. He never did anything to compromise his opportunity to serve a mission. He also was far more prepared than I was when I went out. When he gave his farewell talk I felt like I was listening to a seasoned missionary who was about to come home, not one that was about to go out. His testimony is strong and he will do great things in Germany. He has a way with people too. Everyone seems to love Christian, and I know that the German people will love him to. It would be so fun to just be a fly on the wall in a German home and watch the spirit work miracles through him in a few months. He is already missed quite a bit, and it will be a long two years for us without him at family events, but we are so proud of him.
I have another brother serving right now, my brother-in-law Quinten. He had quite the trial of his faith when he was preparing to serve. He put his papers in a full year before he finally recieved his call to serve. I know that year was a very difficult one for him, and his faith was challenged and tried, but he never gave up and is better for it now. I read his emails and am so amazed at his testimony and his positive attitude. He is setting a great example for all of his loved ones, but especially for his younger brothers. He is serving in the Indianapolis, Indiana mission, spanish speaking. He is such a hard worker too. I kinda feel bad for his companions if they aren't used to working hard. They will get used to it quickly with him by their side!
There is one more missionary serving that is particularly close to my heart, Camilynne Jones. She and I have been the best of friends since high school. I had really mixed feelings when she wrote to me and told me she was serving a mission. I was happy because I knew that it was an incredible experience and opportunity, and I wanted to share that with her. I was also happy because I knew the other option was her getting married while I was still in the Philippines. But I was sad because I knew that her serving would mean I wouldn't see her for over 2.5 years. It also ended up meaning that she would miss my wedding. It absolutely broke my heart to get married while she was gone. I even tried to talk my husband into waiting an extra few months, but he wouldn't go for that haha. Even though she wasn't here for one of the biggest events of my life, I am so glad that she also took the opportunity to serve a mission. She comes home in just over a week and, needless to say, I am VERY excited! I miss her a whole lot.
I can't wait to see each of these amazing missionaries when they get home!