Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'll Always Be Сестра Ашби

Yesterday marks 4 years since I entered the MTC to begin my full-time mission in Moscow, Russia for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The first okrug
It's funny to see how the passing of time changes my perspective. As I marked the day, I realized that while I still missed my mission so much and while I will always treasure that time of my life, I didn't necessarily want to go back. I realized that I am where I need to be and that I am on the precipice of many more great and wonderful things in my life. But despite that knowledge, I am always, continually thinking about and reflecting on my mission.

Sometimes, I think back on my mission, and I guiltily think about all the things I could have done better and all my many imperfections as a missionary. I should have talked to more people. I should have been more diligent in helping other missionaries be obedient. I should have had more courage I should have set a better example. I should have been more obedient myself (not that I was disobedient, but if you've been on a mission you know what I mean). I should have had more faith. I should have been a better missionary in so many ways. Often, I wonder if I had been a better missionary if I would have seen more visible success.

But then I think about Ksusha, and my companions, and the Elders I served with, and all my areas, and all the people that I still (and always will) love with my entire heart, and the miracles I did see, and the fun times, and the times that were so hard but I treasure them with all my heart. I think about putting my nametag on and passing out Kniga after Kniga after Kniga and really connecting with people individually. I think about bearing my testimony time and time again. I think of my heart breaking and the times I cried on the street because someone rejected the message. I think of the joy I felt seeing people I didn't even know (and especially those I did!) enter the waters of baptism and receive the Holy Ghost and just progress in the Gospel--even if it didn't lead to baptism right then. And mostly, I think of the changes for the better and the blessings I am still experiencing in my life as a result of those wonderful 19 months. I left my mission knowing that no matter how much I touched people's lives there, my mission was a success because I let the Lord and the people of Russia touch my life and my heart.
I love this book and this place and this language and all the people I gave one of these to
So, yes, I should have been a better missionary. There were days when I probably COULD have been a better missionary. But when I came home and was being released, I had a very sacred moment with my stake president. Because of its personal sacredness to me, I won't share the experience itself, but this was the resulting revelation:

No matter how "perfect" of a missionary I was, God knew that my heart was always fully committed to my mission and trying to do my best to serve him. And He accepted and loved my offering, my mission, and me. 

Even with the mornings I physically could not get up and then freaked out when I realized I had slept in, even with all the people I was too shy and scared to talk to, even with all my imperfections--He accepted what I could and did bring and sanctified it and somehow turned it into something worthwhile that I hope touched others even half as much as it touched me.
I will always miss this.

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