This Morning I cried.
I cried thinking about leaving this place. I don't really even know how to explain how I feel. I guess the best way I could explain it is that this has been my home for the past 18 months. The people here are my people. They have seen me change, grow, cry, laugh, and seen my good days and bad. Southern California has seen me grow and change and become something that I never even imagined I could be.
Being a missionary has been the hardest, happiest 18 months that I have ever experienced. I sometimes think about what my life would be like without my mission. I can't even think about it. It hurts my heart too much. The people I have met, the things i have experienced, the person I have become and the changes I have made. I could never give that up for anything. I would choose it over again in a heartbeat. I love my mission with all of my heart.
When I decided to serve a mission I knew it would be hard. I knew I would face trials and have to learn to rely on God, but no amount of preparation could have truly prepared me for how hard it really was. I can recall so many instances when I would ask Heavenly Father, "Can't you just help me feel like I'm not drowning? For like 2 seconds?" I always felt like whenever I would get the hang of something, Heavenly Father would throw another weight on me and I would struggle to keep my head above water... again. It was a pattern I found throughout my mission. I would overcome (barely) a trial, and then I would face something new that was just as hard or sometimes even harder. I remember one experience specifically when I got called to be in leadership. I remember feeling so inadequate and very afraid. I would get on my knees and I would plead with God to help me. Those moments on my knees were sometimes the only times that I felt like I could even continue on. But those times gave me a testimony that prayer is real. They helped me understand that God is listening, that he hears our cries and acknowledges our pain. But just like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, sometimes we have to drink the bitter cup in order to fulfill our purpose here in this life.
God's work and His glory is for us to return to live with him. Everything that we experience is for that specific purpose. So Have faith! Have faith that when your mission and your life gets hard, it's all a part of the plan. Have faith that God will not forsake you and that all things are possible through Christ. (Philippians 4:13) Keep on Keepin' on my friends! Because this work is divine and we are entitled to His divine help. I love my Savior and I love this work.
God is so good. He takes us out of our comfort zones, and he changes the plans we have made for ourselves to what he knows will help us reach our potential. That is what he did with me. I didn't want to serve a mission, but I would never trade it. As we submit to God's will, he will always bless us 10 fold.
I am excited to see you/talk to you all in a week! But this week, I will make it count. I have one more week to be set apart from the world as a representative of Jesus Christ. I have one more week to change the world, one contact at a time. I have one more week to live it up and be the best missionary that I can be.
Pray for me this week! Pray that I can see miracles and feel the power of my calling stronger then ever!
I love you all so much! I will send off my last group email next week!
Love, Sister Bauer