So its the last time I'll write to you of the adventures of Sister McKim since I'm actually not a missionary anymore, and I'm sure after two weeks of silence you're all dying to know how the last week went. I wish I'd written this all a little earlier while it was still fresh in my mind, but the most important things are still stained into my mind.
We set some hefty goals, which meant we needed some massive miracles to achieve them. One thing I truly learned on my mission is that when we want to do good things and we make the effort, good things get done, but when we expect miracles and we push for them, God grants them abundantly and His power is ever more manifest. This week we needed to expect miracles. I've always thought of myself as someone having strong faith, and I thought I was a faily good motivator, but I was schooled by my companion who is wholly without fear and this week helped me take my faith to an entire new level. I was keen to go harder than ever before, but there were moments where Sister Willson made suggestions and I just started at her and thought, yeah, nup, we can't do that. Well, turns out we can, and we did, and I'll ever be thankful that President went out on a limb enough to put the two Aussie sisters together, knowing something crazy was about to happen but probably not having any idea what that was going to be.
With big goals, we hard to start applying every little element of Preach My Gospel, which strengthened my testimony of how inspired that book actually is, and how much more I actually took from it than I thought I did. We knew we had to take it to the members, and we saw the Lord opening ways to us. People were suddenly at the last minute becoming available to come out and work with us, and they just happened to have tricies to drive us around on, and they just happened to know where all the less-actives lived that we'd never heard of before, and we're suddenly super keen to refer their friends. Honestly, the members are the most critical part of missionary work. In a perfect world, the members would be doing their part to invite their friends and the missionaries would be teaching referrals all day every day. We just have to remember that it actually doesn't take that much effort. As members we just have to open our mouth, and as missionaries we just have to share the core doctrine, and its all up to them and the Holy Ghost, and we just get all the blessings that come from being a part of it. We were on member splits for quite a few of the days which got us into doors we never would have otherwise. We pushed ourselves so hard once I sat down I didn't know if I was going to be able to get back up again. We had a couple blessed breaks including the baptism of Angel, which in itself was a beautiful experience. It made me feel like the Lord was truly accepting my service that He allowed me to be a part of the conversion of one of His most precious and prepared souls. Baptised in only 5 weeks from first meeting us, she knew from day 1 that this was right and she never looked back. It truly reminded me that its not actually me that converted her, but because at the time I was doing my best the Lord trusted me enough to give her to us, and thats the real blessing. She was baptised on Christmas Day which also happened to be her 19th birthday, and our last week of the mission. We asked her what she was going to give Jesus Christ for His birthday and she straight up goes, 'myself!'. Thats pure gold! Despite the baptism and the food and the lockdowns in the apartment, we were still able to meet our goal of 70, and even went past it ending up with a grand total of 102. I think the drive and Spirit I felt that week is going to be one of those memories I always look back to when I need strength to keep going. Its truly not us, its just the miracles you get to be a part of when you exercise your faith.
On Sunday morning after it was all over, we packed our bags, said goodbye to Pasuquin and headed to Laoag to stay overnight in the hotel. We had church and lunch and interviews with President and ended off the night with a testimony meeting. Man, I just never love someone as much as I do when I hear them bearing testimony, you can really see just who people really are when they're willing to bear their soul to a room full of people they don't know that well. And I think thats one of the things I love most about being on a mission is hearing people be so purely honest in the things that they say and do. In regular life its not every day that you get time for that, or even that people look for opportunities to talk about things that real. Its impossible not to love someone when you see that much of them.
One of my most special moments this week was when I was saying goodbye to President and Sister Barrientos at the airport. We'd already said goodbye, but we ran back outside the airport again to see them just one last time. President was doing his regular joke-joke, telling us to get married and the like, then he stops and gets serious for a second. I had just told him the night before my whole story about doing my papers, and being too scared to go, then doing them again, and bailing again, and finally leaving a year after I'd planned on it. He said, the Lord knew that this was the time for the hastening of the work, and He knew that there were going to be people training at 3 months, and fresh missionaries having to step it up faster than ever before, and He saved some of His chosen children specifically for this time. So, he said, it doesn't matter that it took me this long, because it was probably all part of the plan all along.
Next week due to high demand I'll start the series of adventures of the awkward fresh RM and tell you all about whats going on in the so called 'real world', but in the meantime I'll leave you with the coming home story. I will admit my heart didn't break as hard as I was expecting, which I think had a lot about how I had prepared myself for that moment. I had my breakdown with about 3 months to go and decided that was the time to give it my all. I left with nothing in the tank and therefore didn't have enough energy to get upset about it, and didn't have any guilt about taking my first well deserved 12 hour sleep. I still love the mission more than anything and I felt a piece of my soul tear away as I flew over the Laoag for the last time, but like the Lord promises all things will be made up and I've grown so much more than I've left behind. I miss the mission, but who am I to want to go back and ask more from the Lord after all He's given me? I feel completely satisfied that the best is yet to come. And due to the miracle of Facebook I've been chatting with my recent converts since the moment I landed and can be more of a friend than I ever was before. I'm happy, life is beautiful, and its only gonna get better from here.
Its been a blessing to know how many people have actually been reading this blog and have learned from it. I actually started it thinking only my close friends and family would find it, but knowing that people I don't even know have learned something is a whole other blessing in itself. I love you all and hope you continue to stay close to our Heavenly Father each and every day.
Ingat kayo lagi,
mahal ko kayo,