What does the last week in a mission look like? A lot like the other weeks in a mission. We worked, we prayed, we laughed a lot and cried a little or whatever.On Tuesday we had my last zone training. I instructed, but the night before our zone leaders told us that this instruction would be a representation of everything I had learned on my mission. I was all nervous and felt a lot of pressure but it was ok. At the end our zone leaders, who know very well how emotional I get, asked me and the other departing missionary in the zone to bear our testimony, promising frozen yogurt to the person who cried the least. Surprising to literally everyone, I held it together whereas Elder Anderson got all choked up. I don’t know if the zone leaders will really get me frozen yogurt.
Midweek we had a wonderful visitor from the Charles Town ward, someone Sister Feinga and I used to serve with. She brought us to this wonderful Southern restaurant. They gave me pulled pork AND ribs on the same platter. My mission has given me a real Southern angle. Sister Feinga is new to American culture so I’ve been teaching her about what the South is. We also got a few cupcakes.
Thursday one of the sisters we have stewardship over in the field had a birthday so we had her over for lunch. It was so fun. We cooked for her and had a floor picnic because we only have two chairs. We put a candle in some banana bread we had around. I love working with other sisters. They are so sweet and sincere and easy to love.
That evening we were walking around our neighborhood when a police officer pulled over next to us. He said, “Are you two the ones we got called about?” Every once in a while someone gets really steamed that we come by and call the police so I said maybe… he said, “We got a description of two extremely intoxicated white females walking around” Obviously only one of us is white and neither of us were extremely intoxicated. I was like, “Oh no, we are super sober right now actually!” and he drove away. Afterwards we walked by a house with a young man sitting outside. We contacted him and he invited us on to the porch. There were a couple of young ruffians sitting around, they offered us a beer and then our friend said, “Wait. Don’t start. I gotta get everyone else.” He ran inside, said, “Hey we’re having church!!!” and brought out a whole crew of other people and they all sat around kind of giggling. Finally CJ, the drunkest and highest one of them all, came out. He was so shocked and confused. “Is this **** real?!” he asked. I told him, “Oh, this is as real as it gets.” He was pretty sure we were having an intervention. At the end we invited them to pray. CJ did the dap??? is that what it’s called??? and said, “Dear God, I’m thankful for marijuana.” I didn’t really know what to say. His friends were like, “You need help, bro! You need Jesus more than the rest of us!” I think we all need Jesus. A lot.
Saturday was awesome because we had a stake Relief Society activity. Keep in mind, our stake includes my very first area, so I got to see all my cute little buddies from years hence, including one of my very first converts!! Oh I loved it. We ate bread sticks. We learned about creating a heavenly home, of course. And I got so many back-cracking hugs from the sisters of Zion. I also got lots of back-cracking hugs on Sunday because our good bishop announced me and Elder Anderson’s departure. The sisters are so sweet. I taught gospel principles and we had a full house, and in the afternoon they gave me the cutest gifts– a book of poetry written by the sister in question, a hand-made quilt square with a bee on it, a lavalava from a Hawaiian sister. I love these ladies. I can’t keep writing or I’ll cry.
Finally, a chapter in which I can relate to Paul. I remember reading this before my mission and thinking it was true, but now it feels even truer. Acts 20:17-24: “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” and then verses 37-38 describes what Wednesday will be like, “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.”
See you on the dock. And if I had to give you any advice, it would be this: go serve a mission.
Eternal hugs and eternal handshakes,
PS: We’re watching the RM right now. You can tell we’re all kind of starved for entertainment because everyone is actually laughing at all the jokes.