Kylie’s Last Letter.
Subject: Soon to Return with Honor!
Wow, thanks for all of your wonderful letters! I got your letter early this morning Mom, and it was awesome! Thanks so much! It meant a lot. It was some wisdom that I needed to hear.
It's been quite the week of course, never a dull moment. Esmeralda is going through a hard time, and is really sick. Actually needs a surgery. She finally told us why, and it's awful. It's results of being tortured as a child. It's worse from the norm. It's awful, I can't even write about it. She's scared for the surgery, because they gave her odds. They're good. 79% that everything will go great. The other 21% not so great, she could end up in a coma. So.... but she's pressing forward with a lot of faith. She received a priesthood blessing, and hopefully she'll be able to get the surgery soon.
What else? Oh, I will have a funny story for you about a poor guy who called yesterday and asked me to be his girlfriend. Woah, a little soon don't ya think? No, for once though it was actually a really good guy. Thank goodness for companions to help you say the right thing. :) He's the son of Mari, our investigator, I don't know if you remember her, I haven't talked about her in a while. I never picked up on it this whole time, but apparently he's been waiting till I was done being a missionary to ask me. He's the shyest person ever, so we had to have tact. There's one thing I didn't think I'd be dealing with when I woke up yesterday.
We had lots of good lessons. Now I'm to the good-bye phase of it all, and there are some people I just do not want to say good-bye too! We'll see Marquetta and fam, The Haro's, Martin and Felipe, and Greysi and Claudia tonight. Oh boy. Pray for me. I'm doing my best to just make them all happy "see ya later's" mainly because it's not about me, but their progression (well that mainly applies to Claudia). It's difficult, that's just all there is to it. But thank goodness for Facebook! Keeping in touch with people is the one reason to use fb again - haha.
And then tomorrow morning is transfer meeting. Usually I have to there 2 hours early for leadership training, or trainers meeting beforehand, but I'm free tomorrow! Sis Burns and I are playing a really pretty arrangement of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" for actual transfer mtg. Then everyone else gets a new companion, but not me! I'll give my go home testimony. I'll have my interview with president in there sometime. We all do a session at the temple tomorrow night, then dinner and testimony mtg at the mission home. It's cool cause since I helped out Sis Wall and made that go home dinner once, so I kinda know what goes down :) She makes it all very fancy :) Anyway, then weighing suitcases, up super late... and on the plane early Thursday morning! Well not early, but we leave early, anyway! So that's what I'll be up to for the next two days!
I guess I have a spiritual gift to stay focused and so I haven't thought much about home, so all of a sudden today I need to pack, and it's like it's just suddenly.... here. It's time. So I now have to start making myself thinking about home to be excited. Getting all y'all's emails really helped and I'm so excited to see you! Today is p-day, but we'll just be seeing people! Oh, and packing. We went and played this morning in the Care center, and that was fun. :) I can not believe it was 4 degrees there. Until Friday, it was an average of 75 here, day or night last week. So humid, water was just packed in under so much cloud cover. Unless you've been in it, I don't know how to describe it. We were out talking to people at like 8:30 at night, and it was stuffy and warm!! But today it's cold :) Like COLD! Like 40! So I'm really in for it. My skin gets like instantly dry, so I'm probably gonna need some Aquifor - haha.
We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant to hear the Mariachi and invited a bunch of people. A way to do one last thing, and we called it an early b-day celebration for me, which means at one point the mariachi put this huge sombrero on my head and sang this awesome song. It was super fun, and Sis Burns played with them. We have a ton of good pics that Martin took... but I'll just send you one or two and show you there rest in two days :)
I've changed in so many ways these last 18 months, and I feel so grateful to be the recipient of the promise of the Lord. He truly has made my heart new as I've given everything to Him. I'll never stop. Even though I have a little fear of the unknown, I have faith that this will just be a jumping off point for the rest of forever. I'm so grateful for you all, because I know you'll be patient with me as I adjust back. I promise to do my best! And the Lord will help me. Wanna hear a funny story? The other night I was praying about what's going on in life right now, and a scripture popped into my head in Proverbs. I thought my mind was just wandering. Plus I didn't know the reference, and revelation usually doesn't work like that. Anyway, yesterday morning I woke up with it still in my head! So I look it up, and what does the first part of the verse say? "She is not afraid of the snow." Hahahaha. I'm totally serious. I testify that God has a sense of humor, and that He answer's prayers, usually in very unique ways, and we have to be watching for it. I will not be afraid of the snow, or of what life is bringing me. I know it is what God wants me to do, and so I will. I read Alma 26 this morning, I consider it Ammon's homecoming address. There are so many commonly quoted verses there, but I found some this morning that I hadn't noticed before. In talking to his companions about the people they worked with during a 14 year mission (I thought being in Baton Rouge for a year was long :), Ammon wrote:
"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickled, and did reap with your might, yeah, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted." (verse 5)
In the next verse he talks about how they will remain strong. That is my hope for the people I've worked with! But I won't be here anymore as an instrument in the Lord's hands to labor among them. However verse 7 speaks to that, and is what really touched my heart this morning:
"But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his, and he will raise them up at the last day."
I know that all of us are in the hands of the Lord. He cares for each of us personally. The person coming who will take my place has been well prepared with unique experiences that will serve her well to help my dear branch family with the experiences and challenges that are coming up in their lives. Heavenly Father knows all. He knows because He knows us perfectly. He knows how we acted in the pre-earth life, from the moment we were created, He knows how we've acted here, and what each has been through, and thus He uses us to help each other. He knows how it will work out, and how we will each grow from each thing, if we accept it. When we are His hands here on earth, we place ourselves, and those we love and serve, in His hands.
I know the Savior lives, and that He in fact is not far away, but that we can truly get to know Him if we choose too. I've begun too and I'm so excited for the rest of my life to continue. Only through that relationship will I be able to live up to the title of being a daughter of the most High King. I look forward to returning to Him one day, with honor. I testify this is the Lord's work. I know because I've been privileged to work with Him.
With lots and lots and LOTS of Love! Signing out for the last time as your dear and faithful,
P.S. Can't wait to see you all in TWO days! Invite whoever you want! our theme for the transfer has been, "go big or go home" and now I figure I'm going home, so I might as well go big! I mainly say this because I got an email from Emily Hull... and I'm not sure I think she might want to come. Plus I just want to see Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!
P.P.S. I'm totally about to go give a Book of Mormon to this librarian that I've seen here a million times. Cool right? The nerves never go away... oh man. why is that? But! It could change his life.... :) It did mine, so why not?
Well, forewarning, I'll probably be short today. The greatest thing ever that happened this week is that Tanya was baptized and confirmed. Wow. She had a great baptismal interview on Thanksgiving, and then was baptized Saturday. She was so beautiful! We actually got her one of the really flowy gowns from the temple so that she was comfortable over her very big tummy :) She was so happy. She came out of that font with the biggest smile ever! When we went into the dressing room and I asked her how she felt, she said, "wet!" haha. After she changed she told me she felt so clean, like she wasn't sure how to explain it. I couldn't help but think of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants: "And if so be that you should labor all your days (mission) in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him (her) in the kingdom of my Father!" That pretty much sums up my week :)
It hit me yesterday that this is pretty much my last week. I have this week, next Monday, then p-day Tuesday to pack, Wednesday meetings and temple, go home interview and everything, then my flight is early Thursday. So I shared my testimony with my precious little branch here, all 18 that were in sacrament:) Can you believe I've been here 11 months?! Craziness.
I'm having a hard time making sense of any of the thoughts I have about my mission. How could I possibly sum all of that into words? 18 months of working 12-16 hours a day completely devoted to others and to my own studies? People want to ask me what I've learned, or what was the most powerful, or most difficult, etc. I don't know! Everything! haha. Sis Burns and I were talking about not getting comfortable but working really hard together right to the end, to keep pushing, keep searching, keep consecrated. Trying to be creative, even though we feel like we've tried it all. I feel like I'm at a total high point, but almost to the point where I'm plateauing. Like I'm comfortable, spiritually, mentally, socially. I noticed it this last week, and I told Sis Burns the other day, and she said, "well, maybe that's not a bad thing." She might be right. Maybe that's another reason there's time limits to missions. Not that I've learned everything, but just that I guess it's time to go somewhere else so I keep climbing in my progression. And that this 18 months has been the jump start to the rest of that progression forever. Just an idea. It'll just be really hard when I have to do it without this name tag, when I'm told I can take it off. I'll lose my superpowers! Haha, no.
Well, I'm going to go. Thank you so much for your emails. I really appreciated your insights, Will, and your words Dad. Thank you.
Lots of Love,
P.S. Is there snow there? It was kinda coldish last week some days (like 40’s and I was freezing!) But this morning it was warm!! 70 outside and stuff inside so we finally turned the air on!
P.P.S. Mom, did you just love getting that text?! Fun, huh? :) Sis Wall was getting the mission home all decked out for Christmas so we helped. There's one thing I didn't think I'd ever be doing on a mission - haha. But it was a really nice break.
I'm doing great today! Why not, right? It really is all a choice. Haha, and I'm just doing good. It's super super grey out though, and so cold. Well, ok, the car said it's 52 degrees out. People are out and about in their boots and heavy coats. You'd think they're prepping for a big winter storm haha. Although.... I'm pretty cold too, and I never really was last year. So, I guess I've now acclimated to Louisana and am a total wimp. Please bring a coat and boots to the airport!! Mainly boots because I have totally worn my shoes through and I will be falling all over the place! Haha
I'm tired. I want to take a nap, but I've never done that on p-day, so why start now, right? I'll sleep in a couple weeks. And I'll probably sleep FOR a couple weeks, haha. Instead, we're making "I'm a Mormon t-shirts." But in Spanish, I'm sure. There would be so many neat things to do, like zoos and plantations but it just doesn't work out as missionaries here without members that want to go too. So we'll do that one day. Actually the "soy mormon" t-shirts were my idea and i'm pretty stoked about that - haha. Usually just anything to let loose a little bit and be normal people. We have some new elders in our district, and I think it'll be really good for them.
So Tanya lives with her aunt and uncle (members, less actives) and their 3 kids and I've known them for ages.. Her aunt is Guatemalan, her uncle is American (hmmm 1/2 Mexican I believe). He served in the army and has PTSD and a whole bunch of problems. He came to church last Sunday (8 days ago). We were so happy! We'd just had the b-day party at their house and he was happy and doing well. Well, then he found us at church, was really angry, and said we weren't ever allowed in his house again. No one knows why. The elders have been working with him for as long as I can remember, and he did this once to them a month ago. He's just sick I guess. We thought it would blow over like most mood swings. It's such a long story, but basically it didn't. A few days later though we just went because we couldn't get ahold of Tanya. She totally had a melt down, super stressed out. Totally dependent on her aunt and uncle, no money, bored, hates not working, stressed about her uncle, and 8 month pregnant hormones, etc. Said she was thinking she'd look for a different church because all these obstacles were being put in her way. Standing there on her doorstep hearing that was really hard. Really hard, super flashbacks to what happened in March with her. But I just stood there and listened. I could say a lot of things about the feelings that went through me. Like ice, mostly. And a lot of months of heartache from investigator's choices, and really just wondering if the Lord's plan was really to have me stick it out for one more. But "keep calm, wait, and carry on" is a motto that's been working out pretty good for me. So we listened. We comforted, read out of DyC 121, I shared an experience about priesthood blessings. She wanted one but was scared about her Bro Wilkerson (her uncle) coming home. Lots of drama. Anyway, she never did call for or accept a blessing, that was Tuesday. Covenants.. .man they bring lots of pre-opposition.
Two days we went back, and made the elders go with us since it seems like bro Wilkerson has really gone off the deep end. We're still not allowed in the house, but Tanya answered and was doing loads better. The dad of the baby stepped up and is going to help her out financially. Huge blessing. She was able to use her aunts car and come to the church bldg that night for a lesson. It went great. We showed her her teaching record to help her understand why her baptism needed to be the 30th instead of the 23rd (since we didn't teach her for a like a week). She understood everything. Her comment about looking for a different church had me freaked out that she understands absolutely nothing about authority. But after the lessons we've had this weekend, I can see it was the stress talking. Her faith, desire, and testimony is there. It's just soooo fragile and baby. So we've taught her everything, and this week we'll just be focusing on strengthening her testimony and understanding of things like Joseph Smith. We made really cool baptism invites for her, which she really likes. We gave her some to give to her friends (some of whom I met way back before). She accepted them but then finally told us yesterday that she doesn't really have any friends anymore to give them to. I think her pregnancy, and new way of living has lost her a lot of friendships. We're trying soooo hard to get the branch to just envelope her in. Sis Haro, our RS president, is having us and Tanya over for FHE tonight and I think that'll help Tanya heaps. She's just in such a bad environment with her tios. Her aunt is technically baptized, but I feel she might as well be a nonmember. She was baptized 3 years ago, and I'm scared of that being Tanya. But we've done everything to teach her and prepare her well, that she really is prepared and meets requirements from Doctrine and Covenants. I'm really excited! It's the first baptism I've ever planned :) Also, remember how Sally Mandis sent me that extra hymno last Christmas? I've kept it this whole year here in BR, looking for someone, convert, member, returning member, someone to give it to. I never did. But now I do :) I'm so excited! It's Saturday at 6! :) She asked Elder Andrews (my District leader right now, was in my MTC district, and works with the Wilkersons) to baptize her. So cool! Who'd a known when we were in the MTC. She's super pregnant.... so hopefully he's doing his pushups so he can help her back out of that water - haha.
We did see Claudia and Greysi this week. Greysi ran for Chief Justice of her elementary school, so they had us over to help her with her poster. She lost unfortunately. :) I was in 4th grade too when I ran for secretary. They didn't come to church though. Claudia will probably take some more years to crack, but when she does, I don't care what it takes, I will walk cross country to be at her baptism!
We met this really awesome Colombian couple at English class. They are just the sweetest. We met and taught them Thursday in class. After, I asked them about arrepas, a Columbiano food I'd heard about. Then they had us over last night to teach us to make them. It was awesome! I wish I had a picture. I decided I'd like to go to Columbia, apparently it's quite diverse there. Columbia was really the only country I hadn't worked with people from. They asked tons of questions about Mormons... we'll see what happens :)
I did get an email from Bro Kingsford. My topic is, "How does the Lord prepare people to receive the gospel?" I'll probably just talk about hurricanes :) hurricanes humble and prepare people. Haha, no I dont' know.
The family of 8 didn't come to church, and didn't keep their apt for the piano lesson on Tuesday, or for the lesson last night. So....who knows. Pretty typical. Maybe this week. Their names are Jacob y Rafaela.
I'm actually super super proud to be able to say I've kept a journal for every day of my mission. Three of them, actually :) My challenge sometimes is making it more than a glorified calendar book. I always just seem to write about the people and sometimes forget to infuse my own thoughts. But I guess the people are my thoughts. Anyway, it's a great treasure. :) I hope they help someone someday.
Wow Mom, you sure have done a ton of work on the blog. Thanks so much. Do you link it to my fb so friends can see it? Hopefully these letters of ours have been a missionary effort in and of themselves. That's the hope anyway!
I'm still studying the New Testament and Jesus the Christ. Have been for ages. This week I read in John about the man who had been blind since birth that the Savior healed. I didn't know that story very well! I thought it was an amazing account. We rarely know what happens to healed persons after the miracle. The day after I read that we were at the library, and there was a new bible video! (new Mormon messages or bible videos are always like Christmas to us :) And the bible video was just of that. It was awesome!!!! So whoever is home for FHE tonight, you should read that account and watch the video. The bible glosses over things like, "and his sight was restored." And you have to take a minute to think about it to realize the change in that mans life. The video clip really helps with that. The link is http://www.mormonchannel.org/bible-videos. I hope you're able to at least watch the video. It's great!
I hope you have a great work. Take care of that wrist Dad :) No shoveling snow! (if there is any :)
Con mucho amor,
Kylie will be home on 12/12/13 at 4:02 at the Spokane airport. We welcome anyone to join us in greeting her who would like to be there. She will be going from Baton Rouge to Atlanta then through SLC on Delta 1507 about 2:20-3:15pm, then on to Spokane. Thanks to everyone for the many acts of love and kindness for Kylie these past 18 months!