Monday, November 2, 2015

The Final Days in Kansas

Dear Family and Friends,                                                                  August 3, 2015

Well this is really weird to be writing a final weekly email. It's really surreal and kind of bittersweet. Being in Kansas has been one of the best experiences of my entire life and I'm so grateful to my heavenly father for blessing me with the opportunity to have been a missionary here in the Kansas Wichita mission. With this final week I've been doing a lot of reflecting upon what I've learned over the last 18 months and things that have changed, so this will probably be a long email, which is good.  One of the things I've learned over the last couple months is who I am. I've come to really recognize that I am a daughter of God and the power and authority and strength that comes from that. On a more normal level I've also come to learn that I am a crazy spastic dork who makes a really weird sound effects. I've learned that I have an ability to reach out and love others deeply, and to teach powerfully by the Spirit.  I've been giving a gift to be able to really build bonds and friendships with people, that I know will last for many years and possibly eternity.  During last 18 months I've also learned the importance of diligence.  To this point and don't think I ever really learned to really dedicate myself wholeheartedly for a cause until now. Example of that was a few days ago the sisters in the Bel Aire Ward needed someone to be able to play the accompaniment for song they wanted to do for the baptism.  I looked at the piece and I said it wasn't too hard and so I decided to give a whack at it, after five or so hours of practicing (since I was nauseous most of that day and the next day I could spend it practicing ) , I was able to play it during the baptism. I know I was helped by heaven because normally I cannot learn a piece that fast, I didn't play it perfectly, but it was sufficient. It was really neat to play a see how if I really had a goal and determination I can do hard things through diligence and not giving up.  In this mission I've also learned the importance of communication.  I've learned how the written word if done right can have the power to testify, but if done hastily can leave confusion and misunderstandings. I know that the only way to be able to truly testify of something that you know, is from the heart by the Spirit for if we do not have the spirit cannot be carried into one's heart.  I've also come to truly know that my Savior lives! I know that he knows my name and he loves me. I know that I could not have made it through this mission, all 18 months of it, without the enabling power of the atonement. The missionary work and the things I was asked to do Are beyond my own ability, but because it was something I needed to do and it was in the Lords will he's strengthened me to be able to do something that was far beyond my ability. When times were hard and I felt overwhelmingly discouraged and alone I turned to him in prayer and I came to feel my saviors arms wrapped around me, and I knew that I was not alone in this trial, and that it would not last forever.  This last 18 months are much like hiking up a large mountain. I know that eventually I will reach the  top of the mountain, but I  felt like I would never actually get here. Now here I stand looking out at the crazy amazing view that comes from having serve the Lord with all my heart might mind and strength for 18 months. I looked back at the hills of climbed and I see trials and tribulations I had to go through much like large boulders and rivers and mud holes. I know the Savior walked every step of it with me and I know that I needed to do it because I needed to reach this point, and needed to be able to see how much greater potential I have for myself now that I never saw before.  I now know in a way that I never knew before that this is not the end, but this is simply the beginning to the rest of my life and in turn, the rest of eternity. I know that for the rest of my life I will be a representative of Jesus Christ and I will bear his name in spirit. I will have the ability to reach out to others and to be able to help them feel the love of the Savior through my outstretched hands, and I know that every day I have is to become more like the Savior; to repent and use the
atonement. I will never reach perfection this life, but  with the Savior's help I will be able to reach a point here that will help me we continue progressing in the time after this life.  Words cannot express the depth of love I have for Kansas. I love it here with all my heart, this has come to feel like home.  The people here especially in this last ward that I've served feel like family and it breaks my heart a little bit to know that I will have to leave them. Yesterday as I bore my testimony and began to cry. That was one of the hardest things I've had to do,  but also one of the greatest things to be able testify what I have learned to those I love so much. After I sat down I Continue to cry, out of sadness of the fact that I have to leave this place I love, but also a little bit of joy knowing that I would be reunited in this life again with my family here on this earth. This is not the end of the story, but merely another chapter that is a  beginning.  If you ever wonder if the things you do are enough know that they are!  Know that with the Savior's help we can do all things, and that no there is nothing that is beyond our reach. He has much higher visions and goals for us than we see for our self.  that with his help our minds and our vision can be expanded and we can reach higher amounts and higher abilities that we would've ever dreamed.  I know the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I know with all my heart and being that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of the Lord. I know that Thomas S Monson and the 12 apostles are called as representatives of Christ in this day, and they speak Gods words to us today. I know that families can be together forever. And I know that the Lord blesses us with challenging experiences that test and refine us and allow us to grow.

I love you all so much and I will see you soon. Weird.
Sister BLOOD 

Sunset on the Waterfront