Home Grace Missionary Monday — my missionary is coming HOME!

Missionary Monday — my missionary is coming HOME!

by Shawni

Someone wise once said, “Making the decision to have a child — it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” (Elizabeth Stone)

And OH! how I feel that! My heart is multiplied walking all over creation it seems these days!

It’s so interesting to think about how as a family grows each one’s horizons expand as well. We have all been in such motion the last couple weeks. Dave had his annual ski trip with his college friends. I was coming home from meeting up with my high school friends. Claire GOT HER OFFER FROM POINT LOMA (she has been waiting on that) and has so much swirling around in her head and heart about college decisions. Lucy is trying to figure out what’s next after basketball and to make sense of how to cope with narrowing abilities. Claire went to MORP as the Incredibles and had the best night ever, then proceeded to get asked to Prom the next day, Max & Abby left on a cruise with Max’s work and had an evening and morning to hang out with Elle and Carson in Florida before they left (LOVED seeing pictures of those four all together on our family group text…at the beach and biking together in South Beach).

And meanwhile Grace was in Austin taking in the city for one of her last mission hurrahs.

You see, that big piece of my heart Grace occupies has been walking around in Texas for almost a year and a half.

And the time has finally come:

GRACE IS COMING HOME FROM HER MISSION A WEEK FROM WEDNESDAY.

Yes, that is NINE DAYS AWAY.

And we are all so excited we can hardly even stand it.

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous mixed in with all that excitement.

Adjusting from mission life is sometimes a little tricky.

I find myself wrestling on my knees (as well as in the car, and while I make dinner, and while I’m folding laundry) pleading for all the confidence and light she has gained as a missionary to transform into confidence as she immerses back into “real” life. (Please send prayers if you can spare them!)

But for now, let’s take a look at the last little while of the life of Grace as a missionary.

Let’s see where I left off last…

I think she was with this companion in Austin:

They had been working on the University of Texas campus and living quite an amazing life in the midst of all those college students. One of whom, on the left between Grace and her companion below, happens to be the daughter of a good friend of mine who was attending UT, love that they got to work together!

Then, she got transferred to a little town an hour or so away…an excerpt from her transfer letter:

Last week was a pretty tough week. Leaving the YSA in Austin that I had been in for 6 months and leaving all my best friends there was SO hard.
But this new town is warming up to me. I’m in a Spanish branch here and learning a whole lot about missionary work and Spanish and everything e
lse.

She served with this sweet companion there:

Missionaries always put in service hours each week:

And Grace almost always includes pictures of the beautiful sky in all of her letters:

Aw, I love.

She has stayed in that last town for her very last transfer (each transfer is six weeks long), but got a new companion who she loves:

Her companion speaks fluent Spanish so I think she’s learning so much more (remember her original mission call was to Uruguay, so Spanish was going to be her main language…sometimes things sure don’t work out how you thought they would!

Here’s another little letter excerpt:

This past week was so good. We had lost touch with Lora (names changed) but we were able to visit her the other night and had a good lesson with her. She’s struggling with a lot right now and hasn’t been able to feel the presence of God in her life. We know that as she reads the Book of Mormon every day and prays every day that she will feel His presence in her life so we are praying that she will do that and be able to feel His love for her.
We also had an amazing lesson with our friend Paula. She is a member’s friend and she is just searching for truth which is so amazing. We shared the Restoration with her and the Spirit was SO strong. She is now thinking and praying about baptism!

Half of our district was quarantined this week :(( (gotta love being a missionary in the midst of covid) so we had District Council over zoom and it was so much fun. The elders made a Jeopardy board and the answers to all the questions were one of the principles that we’ve been studying this transfer in preach my gospel. Twas a good time.

Something that I have struggled a lot with throughout my life is comparison. I’m sure all of you have too at times. I came across this quote this week that I really love. It says “And while comparison may be the thief of joy, knowing our worth, our strengths and talents, and Heavenly Father’s purpose for us and who we can become is a key to joy.”
God will help us know our worth, our strengths, talents, His purpose, and who we can become if we ask Him.
So I invite you all to ask Him! I know He will answer your prayers because He wants you to have this joy ❤

Love you all! And more importantly, God loves you 💗

During district and zone meetings it’s so fun to reunite with old friends and companions who have moved to different areas:

We got canceled on a lot last week but also saw so many miracles!
Probably my favorite part of the week was interviews with my mission president. That man was sent straight from above I tell you. I had the best interview I’ve had on my mission. He told me that this last transfer will be my “gratitude tour” and I just love that. Ahh so many emotions.

We also have been teaching this lady named Lora who is so amazing! I talked a little about her last week but we had such a great lesson with her last week. So much joy was felt in that lesson. While we were reading some verses together, Lora would follow along, whispering the words out loud as we read and I just couldn’t help but tear up.

The Gospel is so good.

We also got a super awesome referral for this family that we tried to call and text a bunch of times but no answer. We stopped by their house one night and the mom answered the door and wanted nothing to do with us at first. We told her that we have a message about Jesus Christ that we want to share with her and her family to help bring peace and joy into their lives. She just poured her soul out to us. Such a sweet lady. We went back over and had a great lesson with her husband. They are going through a lot and we just know that the Gospel with make their lives unimaginable. So keep the Rosa family in your prayers as well!

I started my last transfer of my mission a couple weeks ago and there are so many emotions. Words cannot describe the feelings I feel when I look back on my mission so far. So much gratitude.

I’ve been prompted to study humility A LOT this past week. The Lord really said it’s time for you to humble yourself. I read a talk by Kevin J. Worthlin this week that talked about the importance of humility and I realized that we have to have humility before we can have any other Christ-like attribute. We have to be humble to love and have charity. We have to be humble to have faith. We have to be humble to be obedient. WOW it’s so cool to think about. One of the quotes that really stuck out to me from the talk was,
“Our humility and teachability are premiere determinants of our progress and our happiness.”

So true. If everyone in the world was humble, we would have world peace because pride is what is keeping us from that. So we can start with ourselves. As we pray for humility, God help us be more humble and teachable which will lead us to all the other incredible attributes that Christ has, which will lead us and those around us to more peace and joy and happiness 😊 because when we are more like Christ, we have a better relationship with Him. Also, if y’all get the chance, you should read this talk. It’s a BYU devotional called “Choose to Be Humble” by Kevin J. Worthlin. 💗

It’s been such a different mission experience than Max’s was. So interesting to be able to talk every week. I think there are pros and cons to that, but man alive, it was fun to see this face on the screen each week…and to be able to call at random times on p-day.

It was one of those weeks where you visit a ton of people and call a million people but don’t get any answers. But that’s okay! The rejections are how we get to the ones who want to hear our message!

I can’t say enough how grateful I am to be a missionary. There’s nothing quite like it! Or anywhere near like it. I am SO grateful for the opportunity I have to have Christ’s name on my badge every day and to bring others closer to Christ full-time. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. ❤

I came across a quote from a talk I studied at the beginning of my mission called “There Must Needs Be a Christ” by Elder Kyle S. McKay:

“No matter how far or how deep you may have fallen, Jesus has descended farther and deeper. During His descent, He became acquainted with your grief and He was bruised for your iniquities. He voluntarily did this so that He could bring you back home where you belong.”

So good and such a good reminder ❤

One last letter because I’ve been a slacker at sharing these lately, and I sure loved this one:

I had my last zone conference which just crushed my heart into a million pieces. It hurts that this is winding down, but also just makes me want to put every last bit of energy I have into it. I am so grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime and for the opportunity to remember these experiences forever and to continue to help others come unto Christ after my mission as well. Because that is how we find true joy. Through coming closer to our Savior. So grateful 🤍

Yes, it’s different with Grace since we can talk all the time, but this is the same:

At some point after you haven’t seen your child in so long you almost can’t remember how it felt to have them so close. You almost wonder if it’s too good to be true that you will be WITH her in a matter of days.

But it’s so close I can almost taste it.

And boy howdy, I cannot wait to hug that girl up and hear every detail NEXT WEEK.

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15 comments

ellen patton March 7, 2022 - 7:42 am

When my niece was coming home from her mission I asked 18 (for 18 months served) women friends/family members to write something about adjusting after their mission and gave it to her. It was really cool to share their stories/thoughts/ideas with her and she appreciated the advice.

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Shawni March 9, 2022 - 9:25 pm

Oh I LOVE this idea! Thank you for sharing!

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Heidi March 7, 2022 - 11:15 am

Oh all the feels in this one!!! I remember coming home and all the emotions of leaving, but excited to see the next chapter and it’s such a rollercoaster!!!
I can’t wait to Great where Claire chose to go!! Oh I’m so excited for you!

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Shawni March 9, 2022 - 9:25 pm

xoxo

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Laura March 7, 2022 - 12:48 pm

Reading the letters from Grace is so inspiring! Especially for someone like me who knows next to nothing about Christ. I try but I have no religious background so I don’t even understand most of what I’m trying to find for my heart and soul. I’ve never needed that reassurance more than now with the whole world falling apart and so much unhappiness in my life that I can’t find any light or joy. But reading Grace’s letters actually makes my heart jump. That probably doesn’t make sense, but it makes me feel so encouraged to see this young lady with such a clear direction and an honest to goodness feeling of joy and purpose!!! I can’t explain it any other way except to say that Grace is making me feel that maybe there is hope.

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Kara March 8, 2022 - 7:23 am

Those are such special feelings to share…thank you! Knowing Christ is a great feeling!!

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Shawni March 9, 2022 - 9:32 pm

Oh Laura, I am so glad you felt the feeling of joy and purpose when you read Grace’s thoughts. I think that hope you are feeling comes from the spirit of God and I would love to share more about it if you’d like to hear it (Grace would too:). Please let me know if you’d like to talk further, a foundation on Christ is such a beautiful thing in the midst of all the struggles going on in the world right now and I am so grateful for that!

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NoraTurtle March 7, 2022 - 3:17 pm

I hope Claire got a good offer from Point Loma. Tuition is $53,000 per year. That’s a lot of dishwasher loading and bed making money…..

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Shawni March 9, 2022 - 9:33 pm

Yep there are a lot of finances and scholarship funds to figure out for sure if she chooses to go there!

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Sheila+Bailey March 7, 2022 - 3:54 pm

I have my first missionary out right now (CA Fresno) . She’s been out since November and I STILL can’t get over the fact that we can talk every week on P day and she call her siblings at random times during the day. It’s been so good but definitely different than my mission where we didn’t even have email capabilities.

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riz March 7, 2022 - 11:09 pm

Nice Info .

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Allison March 8, 2022 - 7:16 am

Thank you for sharing these insights! It’s so inspiring to read of Grace’s mission. Missionaries are amazing! It makes you realize the importance of focusing on Christ and the change it will make in our lives as we do so. What a blessing it will be in her life to reflect upon these experiences that drew her closer to Christ as she served and shared His love with others. What a blessing it is to me to simply read about her experiences and reflect upon the difference the Gospel of Jesus Christ has made in my life. It has given me purpose, understanding and direction. So grateful for the light and knowledge that comes as we draw nearer to our Savior!

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Shawni March 9, 2022 - 9:34 pm

xoxo

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Chelsea March 8, 2022 - 8:17 am

I started reading your blog just as Max was coming home and my oldest was leaving on a mission. Then my 2nd son got called to see in Houston Texas and he left just a month before Grace. I love having a missionary out and all the blessings you see in their life and in your family back home. I can echo those feelings that at some point, in spite of seeing their face and talking to them every week, you forget what it’s like to hold them. So excited for you to have Grace back and hold her tight!

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Shawni March 9, 2022 - 9:35 pm

Thank you Chelsea, I am SO happy we’ll have her back, and so happy she got to have this experience. Happy for your son as well, hope he is doing well! Sending love on over!
xoxo

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