It's a title that's still pretty strange to me. Hey Kendall, you're a returned missionary! Yeah and so is almost everyone else here. What's the point? RM is Returned Missionary, not Retired Mormon or Rundown Mess and I'm trying to find the healthy medium of living in the world but not of it. Attempting to continue many of the habits that I developed and slowly trying to make my weaknesses strengths. I'm not going to lie, being home has been AMAZING.. but it's also been rough. Change is rough but, it's necessary for growth.
Decision making is hard... along with a melting pot of other things that are just plain difficult! But I say, if I could finish an honorable mission... I can do just about anything! I wish it was that easy... and maybe I'm just an overdramatic kind of person but that's what's going down in my life!
While being home from my mission I have discovered many different things. There are things that I miss, there are things that I am grateful for and there are things that I have learned that aren't so important or necessary in my life.
- I miss the Latin Culture. I cried the two times that I went to see McFarland in theaters. It'll get ya sobbing!
- I miss the language. I find myself laughing at what the Mexicans say in stores or on the streets, it's like I have my radar on all the time. We were walking to the conference center and I heard someone that was standing asking for tickets speak in Spanish so I said "Suerte!" "Yo hablo Español también!" and then I kept walking with a smile on my face because I found some little opportunity to talk.. haha lame. But I was giddy. Mom always looks at me when she hears someone speaking Spanish and I'm just standing there oddly smiling in my own world. She just laughs and thinks its this supernatural totally awesome crazy talent that I have. Then when my family asks me to speak it's like I'm turned into a mute.. I mean who wants to talk to someone when they don't even understand you?! I wish I did, plus the embarrassment of the accent and not remembering a word has gotten to me... WHY. Take me back to that fearless time. Reminds me of the beginning of my mission.. hmm. They talked to me and all I heard was gibberish. I need to share my talents. Or else, as I have witnessed... they diminish.
- I am grateful for cars.
- I am grateful for phones.
- I miss my planner.
- I am grateful for the temple.
- Don't Judge.
- Don't feel judged.
- Look for light.
- Posting about every single thing that I am doing on my social media really is not important at all. I kind of wish it didn't exist. Well, for the first few days I needed to catch up on all of the gossip so it was helpful yet... kind of sad that I didn't even have to talk to the person and I already knew what happened in the last year and a half of their life.
- I am grateful for exercise programs that kick my butt. Also. I am grateful for determination. (A weakness)
- Power naps.
- I miss being able to testify of my Savior every single second of my day and feeling totally and completely comfortable with it.
- I miss inviting others and committing them to change their lives.
- I'm grateful that the missionaries let me go to lessons with them and they listen to my advice like I'm some kind of alumni or something! Score!
- Fast food is a problem.
- I miss studying for the sake of someone else's salvation.
- I still do name tag checks.
- I miss that dead beat tired feeling after a super long and successful day.
- Boys are kind of nice. I like them. However, expectations are higher. Which is also good.
- I don't like flaky people.
- The scriptures are a pure written testimony that God lives and loves us.
- I like the Holy Ghost. He is my friend. Yet sometimes, I don't want to follow his advice, but that just makes me sad. I learn to accept the will of God every day from the moment that I wake up.
- Thank the heavens for daily repentance.
- My love for shopping/ buying/ trying on clothes/fashion and wanting the newest and best thing is slowly coming back into the picture..kind of.. not really. But I realize that I have so much. One of the first things that I said to my mom when we got home was "Why the heck do we have so much stuff?!" (Culture Shock) There are people with so little. The joys of a simple life are really the best. I miss it. I try to maintain it. I love it.
- I miss snail mail.
- I am grateful for clean water and air conditioning.
- Nail polish
- I have realized who my true friends are. I will keep them forever, the very few (yet numerous in my eyes) that remain.
- I have faith in my future.
- I will be an example forever.
I have learned a lot since being home. But something that I have loved applying in my life is to always, always, always follow the will of the Lord. The act of doing what God asks of me because I love him and because I know that he has a plan for me. I can feel right from wrong, it's so visible. Decisions aren't made because of what I want to do or what will make me happiest but they are made to please God. I know that might sound cliché but it's true. The feeling that one feels when they please God isn't even describable. Knowing that I followed the spirit, knowing that I made a good choice, knowing that I helped myself or another person, it's like being on cloud-9. I like that feeling. It's a good feeling. It's not worth losing. And if it's lost, I can tell that something is askew.
I've learned that scripture reading is tough. It's tough to chose it over sleeping in a little longer or, going to see a movie or whatever worldly fantasies there are. I never say that I don't have time because that's just a straight up lie.. something I also put into practice as I taught some of the most busy people in Argentina. I always have to tell myself that I didn't make the time. I didn't keep my priorities straight. Whether it's one verse, a mormon message, a talk, there is always time. There is time for everything, it just depends on where my priorities are. It's like when I say I didn't have time to work out or I didn't have time to make healthy food or shoot I'm sorry I didn't have time to call you back.. not true... it just wasn't my desire. But I have also realized something even better
We can pray for anything and everything. If I want the desire to do something good, I can ask. I love giving thanks and asking through a direct communication with God. It's also hard. He's not just standing there so that I can see him physically... It takes a lot of faith. but I know I saw him once and will see him again. I'm usually wiped out at night, or I just stare at my Pinterest screen for too long until I literally don't have energy/ desire to say a prayer. (guilty) But, it has to be done. It's the best.
Being a Returned missionary is something that I hold dear to my heart. My name tag still sits where I can see it. I still see the broken bindings of my journals where I wrote my heart down on pages. I can see my Spanish scripture set sitting in their new etched leather cases. I can see my mission plaque with my favorite scripture written on it in Romans 8:28. I find an Argentine peso here and there on the ground. I am reminded daily of the beautiful people that I met and was blessed to help. I try to relive my experiences in my mind, although they seem like a dream, I know that they were a reality. I still rock my watch and shoe tan. I have everything else packed up. Just like a lot of my memories. They are hidden from the world but they will never escape the box in my brain that reads "The best 18 months" with a subtitle of "My Joy" It's not something that I freely share all the time. Not because I don't want to. Not because I don't know that it can help someone. But, because I feel like the only one that really understands my efforts, my memories, my struggles, my joys is myself and God. I think that maybe I've turned away a lot of opportunities where I could have talked about my mission but there seems to be a wall that was put up so that I won't ever say too much. If I can tell that the desire to listen is there or my experiences are needed, I'll poor out my heart. I want to walk the walk and not talk the talk. This whole month and a half has been a lot of talking, I can share countless stories but what I really want is to apply all that I learned to my simple life.
I hope to be able to share many of my experiences as a returned missionary and maybe I will start to feel inspired to share many stories of people that inspired me on my journey. I am excited to know that the journey didn't end though. I am being shaped every day through daily repentance, Christ's infinite love and grace, by trying to be a member missionary through the small and simple things and by serving others selflessly. It's simple. Yet my brain is still getting a hang of everything. I still feel like I just got back from the mission, yet I have made so much progress in these last 6 weeks as a person and have a better picture of who I want to become every single day.
I will be a returned missionary for life, but, I don't want that to be a title on any LDS resume. I want to be a true follower of Christ. A disciple. A loyal daughter of God. A believer. I want it to illuminate through who I am.
So here's to a returned missionary life. My mission doesn't define who I am but it has helped me better understand who I am, who everyone is, who I can become, how I can accomplish my goals and has shaped my understanding of the reasoning behind everything that I do on this earth. It has helped me understand the true definition of everlasting joy and how I can enjoy that for all of eternity with my Heavenly Father and my family. I know who I am, I know God's plan, I'll follow him in faith.
From Phoenix to Buenos Aires, Argentina and back. August 2013- February 2015
Amo ser misionera. Amo ser feliz. Me siento tan bendecida de haber tenido la experiencia de servir a mi Padre Celestial. Nuca lo olvidaré.