Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Looking Back on a Year.

I have been a missionary for a year and the joy I feel just makes me want to cry. I have experienced growth at such an accelerated rate and have changed my nature in such a short span of time. From this point on, I can read about my mission in my 10 year journal and have nostalgic experiences every night. I wish I could express myself as well as James E. Talmage (author of Jesus the Christ) to convey the amount of gratitude I feel for today. I feel very much like the prophets of old, blessed with a fulness of joy. Alma 26
Before my mission, I would ask return missionaries to describe what exactly made a mission, "hard." I'd never been able to get a good response. It's always been along the lines of, "it's hard to explain" or "you don't understand until you've gone." I would ask friends, "Is it hard because people don't want to listen? because you don't get to see your family? the difficult language? culture shock?" All these things were things I felt I could handle, things I had a pretty good grasp on. I love words and language, and I've always challenged myself to put into words difficult things, be it emotional, spiritual, or physical. I want to prove that things can be put into words. Now being out for more than a year on my mission I understand why this experience is categorized as difficult. It's difficult because these 18 months to 2 years have you grow at an unprecedented rate. You are "tried in all things." D&C 136:31-33
Heavenly Father saw it fit to send me to the Tejas Houston East mission to serve under President and Sister Crawford for a "wise purpose." D&C 100:4
"Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place;for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls."
Notice however that it doesn't say who these souls are or if they are even at the abovementioned place... Who am I to limit God, to say that the Lord has sent me to Tejas for the salvation of simply the souls of those here. I am here for the salvation of my soul, my family's souls, my future children's souls. My mission--my decision to devote a mere 18 months of my life will have consequences in the work of salvation throughout lifetimes and eternities.
Sister Haynie and I were talking on the drive home from Kingwood on Tuesday about our missions. Sis Haynie and I have had similar mission experiences: a series of training, retraining, and "lifting" the mission. I cannot remember a time when I didn't want to serve a mission. I prepared myself for those typical to-be-expected missionary challenges so much so that they haven't been challenges. At points of my mission I have felt like a mother, a young women's leader, and sometimes a psychatrist & guidance counselor. :) It's been challenging.
Maybe some of you will remember, my farewell talk was all about how I wanted to learn to love, learn to have charity. My mother sent me a letter recently and she said, "Laure, do you remember your farewell talk? I think Heavenly Father is teaching you these things through your companions and your assignment." Charity is a hard thing for me. There have been times on my mission where I've felt like Heavenly Father has been asking me, "Do you really want this? I'll place you in the paths of missionaries who really don't want to be here..." After all, Charity is giving love when you don't want to give it. Months back I got a blessing from an Elder. I don't remember much about the blessing except for this one phrase that frequently comes to mind, "Have to humility to accept the weaknesses of others."
The phrase shocked me. Accepting the weaknesses of others is not something I was raised to do. You always worked faster, harder, smarter, better. I was taught to work at a fast pace, but not slopily. I remember Saturday mornings cleaning, vacuuming had to be done in a pattern. When I would dust my father would open blinds and inspect from all angles. To accept the weaknesses of others has been a tough pill to swallow, but I am improving. It's been a year in the making, and I still have a ways to go. It's been incredible to look back on the pages of my journal to see just how much I've grown.
I sometimes feel really selfish when I think back on my mission, or more so guilty. These 18 months are to be spent serving others, but I feel like the one who is benefitting the most has been myself.
A mission is challenging.
This is obvious. Why wouldn't it be? I understand now why describing the "challenging" is hard. We are individuals. A mission is personally tailored to magnify our talents and weaknesses to maximize our personal rate of growth. The challenges of my mission are the weaknesses the Lord has blessed me, Hna Lauren Marie Flores, with. Ether 12:27
We are starting week four of the transfer and I now have 20 weeks left. I can't even believe it. I'm thrilled. I love the branch, the members here GET it. They are so willing. We sat in PEC and I felt like I was watching the missionary broadcast. Families were mentioned, and the Branch President right away asked for times when he and his counselors could go and visit. The branch is just my favorite.
My mission is my favorite.
Hna Flores


Post a Comment

Leave a lovely little letter.