Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Missionary Blog

If you'd like to keep up with Melissa while she's serving her mission, feel free to check out her mission blog here:!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ohhh hi! oh.

Oh look! I'm not on my mission yet! I've just been neglecting my blog....oopsieeee. Sorry friends :) But since I only have TEN DAYS until I'm set apart as a missionary and can't use a computer, I'll try and not neglect too badly.

I'm feeling better about my call to Kirtland now. Spending a month out of the country really helped a lot. I've come to terms with it and am just feeling better overall, although I can definitely improve. It's REALLY entertaining to see people's reaction to it...highly entertaining! It ranges from people genuinely excited for me and think Kirtland is the most amazing place, to people who are trying to make Ohio sound fantastic, but you know they're faking it. hehe Adapting the famous words of Rachel F. B: It's okay, you don't need to pretend Ohio is a cool place, because I totally know it's not. haha. (again, not that I won't love it, just sometimes you need to make jokes, ya know?) And then there are the people who react like the elderly temple worker at Palmyra, who gets a gold star for awesome response to my call: "tough break, but I guess someone's got to go there." hahaha yesss. Thank you Bro. Cusolito!

It's been funny to look back to this entire mission process/preparation. From the end of December when I started my mission papers, everything has not gone the way that I had anticipated, or the way it goes for most people. Yes, everything. (minus going to the temple. the only thing that has gone without a glitch). This goes from waiting almost a month for my call, to having the sister missionaries transferred out of my area the week I came home from Ghana so I couldn't go on splits with them. Plus the very obvious reassignment. When I got the letter from the MTC that said we could not go to the temple because the one in Provo would be closed from the day I enter the MTC until the day I leave, I could only laugh. When my mom said that was ironic, all I could say is that it wasn't ironic, because with irony you don't see it coming. hehe. But hey, I like these trials. It's the only way to grow, right? Plus, it forces you to find the positive things! For instance, when your call is switched, it's remarkably easy to re-write an acceptance letter! I refrained from taking my original letter, crossing out San Diego and putting Cleveland, but hey, copy and paste is pretty darn easy too! :)

that's right. word for word :)

As for other mission stuff, I report two weeks from today, and so far I'm feeling okay with the preparations. I've bought most of the stuff that I need. There are some more things I need to get, and I really should look at all my clothes and make sure I have real outfits, but I'm not stressing out. My stake president told me that I should spend this time cultivating relationships that I want to last throughout my mission and long after, so that's what I'm doing. Spending most of my time with my family and my friends.

Along those lines, let me introduce Abigail! Abby has been my best friend since we were in 6th grade and both super short. I've grown, she hasn't ;) just kidding. Abby's birthday was in May while I was in Ghana, so for her birthday I bought her a Ghanaian dress and we decided to sport those dresses on a night out on the town! Only....we went for lunch...which would make it more of an afternoon. You know, we live quite the party life. We took our daily hour long walk in the morning and then got all dolled up to head up to Saratoga, where we were going to Wheatfield's for lunch. I know. We're classy.
Just because I started curling my hair 45 minutes before her and we finished at the same time doesn't mean ANYTHING! sigh. the curse of thick hair.

We had a lot of fun at lunch, then walked up and down Broadway going into various (ridiculously expensive) boutiques, shopping for mission shoes (an epic failure), trying on classic Saratoga hats (a "must" when in town) and getting hot chocolate from Uncommon Grounds to warm us up in the FREEZING rain.

on that note, WHAT THE HECK NEW YORK?! Do you not realize that it is JUNE?! It's supposed to be warm. Not 40 something and raining. Some of us only brought two pairs of pants home, and would really like to wear something else! kthanksbye.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Palmyra Temple--June 2, 2010

Yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to go through the Palmyra Temple and receive my endowment in preparation of my mission (which I leave for in 2 1/2 weeks!). I was able to go to Palmyra with my mom and dad. Because my call has been switched to Historic Kirtland, we decided it would be a great idea to go to Historic Palmyra and go to the sites and talk to the sister missionaries who serve at the visitor centers there. It was great to talk to them and see the sites. It was one of the most BEAUTIFUL days I've seen in a long time, so that made everything even more perfect.

It was a really special thing, getting to go through the temple with my parents. As I was preparing to go through, I realized that going to the temple was something that I had been preparing for, practically my entire life. All through my days growing up in this church, I've been singing "I love to see the temple, I'm going there someday...". In young women's, I recited weekly that by following the Young Women values I "prepare to make and keep sacred covenants" and" receive the ordinances of the temple". I had been taught time after time about how to live my life in such a way that I would be worthy and ready when the day came for me to go to the temple. And now, that day has come. I am so glad that my parents, teachers, and other family members/friends have helped to raise me in such a way that I felt prepared and excited to go to the temple, making it one of the most amazing experiences of my lifetime. hands down.

on the top of Hill Cumorah

My mom and I realized once we had gotten home that we had not taken a picture with the two of us :(

This is my mission picture going on my plaque

But this was a close second ;)

Right after coming out.

beautiful flowers on such a BEAUTIFUL day!

p.s. as for my Africa pictures, I'll put them up once I can figure out how to describe my month-long life changing experience in just a few pictures! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You Know You're in Ghana When....

This weekend was a really good weekend! On Saturday, we went outside Koforidua (which is about 2 hours away) and went down to some twin waterfalls. It was absolutely beautiful, and very peaceful. And I feel the need to mention it was also much cooler at the waterfall, and that is always a treat :) but then we went on a 2 ½ hour hike through the rainforest and hiked up to this big boulder on a mountain that overlooked the valley. It was so green! At first all the green made me think about New York, but then you see all the African trees and that image is gone! Watch Lion King and you’ll know what Africa trees I’m talking about. Haha. It was quite a breath-taking view. I took pictures, but it just doesn’t do it justice. I guess you are all going to have to go to Koforidua and see it for yourself :) don’t worry, it
will be worth it.

This week was our last Sunday in the Abomosu branch. I’m not sure I can go back to a ward where they don’t say “good morning” back to the speaker or speak in two different languages or have conversations from the pulpit. American wards are so boring haha. Did I mention that we were singing in church? Alison and I rearranged a version of How Great Thou Art, taught it to a couple other girls and then sang it in
sacrament meeting. It turned out really well!! I switched the words in one of my solos, but no one noticed but me and everyone really like our arrangement. It was pretty funny because afterwards the district president stood up and from the pulpit asked me if it was true that we had arranged the song and when I said yes, he made me stand up and said “this girl knows all!” haha. He’s a good guy. But now he’s recruited us to sing it again this Wednesday night when our housekeeper, Gloria, is getting baptized. I’m excited for that baptism!

I can’t believe that we are leaving this week. It’s hard to believe that it has been a month, it’s gone by so fast! And since I report to the MTC in less than a month, I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing that time is going so fast. I’ve had such an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t change a thing. To sum up my trip, I thought I would send you a list of things I’ve learned from Ghana. Lindsay and I came
up with this list. Hope you like it!

You know you are in Ghana when….
1. You can buy tampons out your car window
2. You’re grateful to have water AND electricity!
3. You have an IV bag hung on your bedpost by a headband (side story: remember how Alison had malaria? Well she got even more sick with some other bug and she was so dehydrated that she needed IV fluids. When we came home from clinic one day, this is how we found her!)
4. Driving off the road is smoother than driving on it.
5. You answer to “obruni” before you answer to your own name.
6. Sweat, bug spray, and sun screen have become your new perfume
7. Mosquitos, millipedes, giant spiders, wiggly butt bugs and lizards become your roommates
8. You play cards for 4 hours and still haven’t repeated a game.
9. Five marriage proposals and 8 “I love you’s” from random strangers becomes a daily ritual
10. You learn roosters DON’T just crow when the sun rises (which is wayyy annoying)
11. You appreciate not having warm water
12. Small children run around carrying machetes on their heads
13. You have to iron your socks and underwear, electricity permitting (this is to kill the bugs that are in your clothes before they burrow in your skin)
14. Chicken, cabbage, bread, and fruit becomes the new food pyramid
15. You have to suck water out of a bag
16. Pineapple Fanta and Fan Ice are the most coveted items
17. Natives tell you not to chew, just swallow your food.
18. A woman can climb into a leaking canoe with a baby on her back and a tree on her head
19. Tires and branches act as traffic cones
20. Driving on your side of the road is optional
21. The first thing people want to know about you is what day of the week you were born
22. Every question you ask a native is answered with a “yes”
23. A street vendor running along a car gives a whole new meaning to fast food.

Maybe that list is only funny if you lived through it all haha.
Anyway, I'm off to the Abu's to have fufu for dinner! Love you all so much and see you in a week! (some of you...)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Art of Brushing Teeth

Etisane! It’s pretty crazy to think that we are over halfway done with our trip here to Ghana, and next Thursday we are leaving Abomosu for good. Where has the time gone!? But I have to say the time is pretty well spent. This past week has been really good for the most part. This week we started going into the schools and teaching hand washing and tooth brushing at the primary schools, and simple first aid, and “being healthy” at the junior highs (which is ages 13-16). I’ve taught all of these classes and I’d have to say that my favorite class to teach is definitely teeth brushing (tooth brushing? Where’s Eric and his innate grammar guide when I need him?).

Once we teach the children the basics of brushing their teeth, we sing the song “When you wake up in the morning and it’s quarter to one and you want to have a little fun you brush your teeth ch-ch-ch….”. Remember that annoyingly repetitive song? Well apparently it sticks! The children love to sing it and it’s a lot of fun to see them around the village or the market on other days and the say “Obrunee! Brush your teeth! Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch…” hahaha. Only they can’t say ‘th’ so it’s “Brush your teet.”

Apparently after we taught in the first school, all the littlec hildren went home and begged their parents for a toothbrush. Too bad we couldn’t bring some to donate. Oh well. At least now they are aware!

So Abby asked me what exactly we have been doing here, nursing wise, besides playing with the children . There’s actually a lot that we have been doing! A lot of our nursing interventions are education, like teaching in the schools. We also do health fairs on the weekends (this past weekend we went to Tema, about 45 minutes from Accra and taught a large stake there), and tomorrow we are doing a neonatal resuscitation training course for the midwives in the area.

They are really in need of education, especially since this health district that we are in, the Atiwa district has 100,000 people and one doctor. ONE DOCTOR!! We met him the other day, he’s a great guy who went to Cuba to get his education, but he’s a bit busy…I would be too! In the clinics, most of the diagnosing is done by someone called a medical assistant. They basically have a book and they look up your symptoms and then say what treatment you need, although they often don’t have the mediations necessary. Even I have more training than this medical
assistant. So clearly they welcome the education.

We also do a lot of BP screenings, and malaria testing, HIV testing, and triage (when they come to the clinic, we take their history/vitals etc and determine the order to be seen by the “medical assistant”). Last week, a couple of the girls helped with the delivery of two babies, one healthy and one who ended up dying on the way to the hospital from the clinic. I wasn’t in the clinic that day, because I was in a village called Asunafu where we were special guests at the kick off of Child Health Promotion Week. That included dancing with the children for 2 hours, and even getting to sit next to the Queen Mother and the Village Chief and had to go to the front and introduce ourselves . Yeah, I know. We’re cool.

I feel like that’s a huge part of what we do. Just make an appearance. We even were special guests at a motorcycle ceremony where they taught nurses to ride motorcycles so they can get to the outer parts of the villages. We also make a lot of donations, like backpacks with supplies to the motorcycle nurses, stethoscopes, BP cuffs, speculums, and even YW medallions for the branch here. That’s the gist of what we do. At least that’s all I can think of right now.

We have a student here with Malaria… :( The other girl from NY, Alison. She woke up way sick on Sunday morning. Not fun. She’s starting to get better, but this afternoon she also developed a sty too. Which is an infection that essentially shows up as a zit on the tip of your eyelid, even further infecting your eye. And she just got bit by a spider. She’s having a rough couple of days. I hope that bad luck is not contagious! Of course, none of this was helped by the fact that we have had NO power here since Thursday. That’s why no one has heard from me since what, Wednesday? Sorry fam. I’m still alive!

We finally got the power back on around 7 tonight. And there was much rejoicing. Of course, not surprisingly, around 6 tonight our water shut off. Haha. So the trend continues! Let me paint a picture for you: No water and no electricity/fans= 14 hot, smelly, sweaty girls with no relief from the heat or showers to clean off/cool down, meat that is defrosting and rotting, other rotting fruits and vegetables, dirty clothes unable to be washed lying around the rooms, and a sick girl who is constantly vomiting into a toilet that can’t flush. Can you imagine how wonderful our house smells right now!? ;)

Hope things are going well in the States, mostly I hope you are all enjoying the fresh, cool air around you! Haha.

Love you all lots!

p.s. We visited the Accra Temple this weekend! What a beautiful temple.

Friday, May 14, 2010

African Royalty

Things are good here in Ghana. The last two days have been RIDICULOUSLY hot, and even Brother Abu said that he can’t remember Abomosu ever being this hot, and he’s lived here for 70+ years! So I think I am totally justified in saying that I’m sweating the most that I have ever sweat in my life haha. I mean, if the AFRICANS are suffering, then it’s totally plausible that the AMERICANS would definitely be suffering!

It was especially hot though when 5 girls and I went to a village called Asunafu, where we were special guests attending child’s health week kick off. They sat us next to the Queen Mother and the village chief, and made us come up and introduce ourselves by name. Yes, we are celebrities. Hahaha.

But the best part was dancing with the children. There were so many kids that came out and danced with us in the middle of the square, and it was so fun! Best part was when I was dancing with three girls, and they were doing exactly what I was doing. Then all of a sudden every single child was dancing the same way as me! It was like 50 children! I felt like I was leading a jazzercise class, and it was definitely entertaining to the rest of the group haha.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Paradise on the Coast of Africa

So I mentioned to some of you that we went down to Cape Coast this weekend to do a health fair at the stake center there. It took about 4 ½ hours to get there (although it took SEVEN and a half to get back…ugh), but it was totally worth it. When we first pulled in to Cape Coast, we went straight to the slave castles right on the coast. When we got out of the van, it was still hot and humid but it was like BEACH hot and humid! That’s the kind of humidity that has a purpose, plus you get the sea breeze, which is marvelous. We took a tour of the Cape Coast slave castle, which is a large mansion that held the African slaves for 3 months before they were shipped to the Americas. It kind of made me want to cry. The things that these people went through… I don’t really have any problems that can compare to it...definitely an awesome eye opening experience. Besides the subject of the castle, it was really a beautiful place and I really liked it.
We all did.

From the slave castles, I went to paradise. No, literally. I thought I was in heaven. We stayed in a place called Alberta’s Palace. It was a little beach resort right on the water (hence the word “beach” ha) and it really reminded me of Chankanaab Mexico, in Cozumel, although the water wasn’t quite as turquoise. But here is where heaven came in. I got into a really comfortable bed next to my best friend, after taking a long cool shower, in an AIR CONDITIONED room, with my belly full of a gourmet cheeseburger, fries, and a pineapple Fanta, and having just sat on the beach while some of my good friends swimming in the warm Atlantic Ocean. Heaven. Did I mention the air conditioning!? It was definitely hard to come back to Abomosu. Hehe.

Early Saturday morning, we got up and went to the stake center to set up for the health fair for the RS sisters. They seemed to REALLY enjoy my presentation, and a lot of people claimed in was their favorite class. I can’t really take credit for it though. The ladies just liked the topic. Who knew that once they started talking about menopause, it would never, ever, EVER stop!! Haha. That’s probably enough on the subject for those who are weak-hearted :)

After the health fair, we drove to the rainforest and went on what was called the canopy walkway. Basically it was a one hour hike in the rainforest, which included walking over SEVEN swinging bridges!! These were bridges that were about a foot and a half wide that were way up,
looking over parts of the rainforest and were not exactly the most stable of bridges, hence the term “swinging bridges”. Don’t worry, it was heavily roped on both sides, and while I doubted it at some points, I survived :) Plus now I can say that I have hiked through the rainforest of Africa. No big deal. Haha.

Okay, I was going to stay up and write more about church today and a couple other things, but it’s past midnight now and I’m completely exhausted. It’s ridiculous how at home I can stay up til 2 no problem but come 7:15, It takes some serious effort to keep my eyes open! (sounds like a certain brother I have...cough cough Scott) Clearly it’s the same for everyone here, since I’ve been the only one awake for about 45 minutes now. Haha. So I'm off to bed.

Love you all!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hello from Africa!!

Greetings from Ghana!

First of all, I made it safely! We got in very early in the morning on Sunday and after a brief scare when everyone had their luggage for 15 minutes except for me (thankfully they had a second load of luggage to put on…scared me though!), we headed out into Accra! Accra was an
awesome city, but I am really glad that we are not staying there anymore. I don’t feel like I would have as much of the African experience as I am having here in Abomosu. And trust me, I am DEFINITELY having the African experience!

We are living in an ADORABLE house in this small village, down the street from both the elders, and an older missionary couple, the Terry’s. They have been life savers, they even took us down to the river this afternoon and in a canoe across to the gold mines. It was pretty fun. They’ve served a whole bunch of missions all over East and West Africa, but they have only been in Abomosu for 6 months. They love the place though, and we are definitely loving it too.

Jo Ann read us a quote this morning that says that you have to experience Africa in pieces, because it’s never fully together. I would have to say that is DEFINITELY true! We’ve decided that you can either have electricity, or water, but heaven forbid you get selfish and want BOTH! Haha. It’s rainy season here, so the first night that we were here, we experienced our first African thunderstorm, which was AMAZING. The sky was completely lit up pink and purple with the lightning. It was awesome. But apparently, the power company down here decides to turn off your power before a large storm to prevent damage later. Smart idea, but still annoying. So we had to spend our first night using flashlights trying to unpack and eat our meal in the dark…I felt like I was at girls camp. But it worked out okay, because we all were in bed at 7:30.

The sun is up from 6 to 6 during the entire year and we are so exhausted because of the heat and busyness that we are usually in bed early, but as I lay in bed Sunday night at 7:30, I had to laugh because I realized that my ward in Utah had only been in church for half an hour when I was already in bed! (There’s a 6 hour time change to UT, 4 to NY).

They turned the power back on the next morning, and it’s mostly been on since then, but they have turned the water off twice. And once, when I was in the shower, I looked down halfway through the shower and realized that the water was brown…yum!! Like I said, I’m definitely having the African Experience :) But have I mentioned that I am LOVING it?!

I’d have to say that my favorite thing is playing with the African children. I think that is everyone’s favorite part. Anytime we walk beyond our gate they are there waiting for us so that they can play with us and hold our hands and follow us wherever we go. Millie and I were discussing how we feel like celebrities because when we walk to the market everyone looks and waves and follows us and chants our names. Actually, they just chant “obrunee!” which means white person.

Haha. It’s pretty funny. We had a 2 ½ year old chant that as we walked by “oh-brew-knee. Oh-brew-knee”. She laughed hysterically when I said “Obibine!” which means black person :) props to David Byers for teaching me that one!

A few of us stayed in the village yesterday and played tag with the children. But what I mean when I say tag is that I chased the children around for 40 minutes (at noon I might add…hot!)
and the rest of the nursing girls stayed in the shade while the kids ran away from me. Haha. It was so fun, even though it practically killed me.

We started working in the clinics today. They are in DEFINITE need of help, but I have to admit, they do pretty well with the resources they have. Jo Ann said that we are going to be like a stone rolling down a mountain. We’re kind of off to a slow start, but hopefully once they
start to see what we can do and word spreads to the other villages, there will be a lot more that we can do and work will pick up.

Today I worked first with the midwife taking care of the five hundred thousand pregnant women in the village (maybe a slight exaggeration haha) but then went over and worked triage for most of the day. It was pretty interesting, but hopefully the work will pick up and we’ll find more to do. And I’m hoping that maybe someday I will get used to walking around in my scrub top, dark blue scrub pants, and socks and shoes. Ugh. I’m sweating just thinking about it. Orrrr maybe I’m just sweating because it’s still ridiculously hot and humid. Haha.

Well, it’s after 6, so almost bed time haha. We have two more days in the clinic here then I think we are going to Cape Coast this weekend. Should be fun! The internet here is pretty slow, so uploading anypictures is pretty much out of the question, but I can guarantee that
there will be PLENTLY to view when I get home :) hope all is well for everyone back home in the states! Love you all!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hermana --> Sister

I know that by now most people are aware of this, but it's not official til it's blogged, right? And again, it's one of those things where those that read my blog get the real story and the true feelings. Lucky you guys. Or unlucky as the case may be.

I will no longer be serving a mission in the California San Diego mission, particularly the Mormon Battalion Historical Site, leaving July 7, speaking Spanish. I have been reassigned to serve in the Cleveland Ohio Mission, Kirtland visitor's center, leaving June 23, speaking English.

I guess I should tell the story from the beginning. Last Thursday, I got a phone call from a friend who is also in the nursing program with me who had her papers in (there are 4 of us in our semester who are going on missions this summer). The second she called, I knew she was going to my mission. Sure enough, my friend Katelyn was called to serve in the San Diego Mormon Battalion mission, leaving July 7th and speaking Spanish. A-maz-ing. We talked about how exciting it was going to be that we could be companions and would be getting back at the same time, etc. Then I went to Arizona on Friday and didn't get on a computer until Sunday night, when I got onto Facebook and saw that Katelyn had been reassigned to serve in the Cleveland (Kirtland) Ohio Mission, leaving June 23rd. She had her call to San Diego for only a day. While I was on Facebook, I also saw that one of the sweetest girls I've ever met, Alicia, had also been called to Kirtland, leaving June 23rd. I thought to myself, "wow! That's crazy! Small world!". When I woke up early the next morning, I saw that I had gotten a text message from my bishop that said "When do you leave for Ghana? And when do you come home? How can I best get in touch with you?" Right away I knew that I had been reassigned, because I could think of no other reason why my bishop would wonder in the middle of the night what my flight schedule was. After I texted him, he called me minutes later and told me that the missionary department had reassigned me. Before he could even tell me where, I said, "Let me guess. Kirtland, leaving June 23rd?". He was amazed I knew, and confirmed that that was where I would be serving my mission. We talked for a few minutes, then I was left alone to think.

There's been a delay in announcing this change because I needed time to think, figure out my feelings, and absorb the change. Although I found out about 7 am Monday morning, I didn't really tell a mass amount of people until Wednesday afternoon (thank you Facebook) because I was tired of getting texts messages and questions about San Diego. It hurt too much and I needed people to know. And only now am I finally getting around to blogging about it, because I needed to figure out how I feel. So if you don't want to read a long emotional explanation, stop reading here. But if you are brave and daring, buckle up.

My emotions are everywhere. Truly. When the bishop and I hung up on the phone, I just sat in the room and started to cry. hard. In fact, I may or may not be tearing up just re-living it. I truly felt/feel like my world was kinda thrown up into the air. But you know what, I think it's okay to cry. It's okay for me to feel upset that what I had been planning for and getting excited for is not going to happen. For those who are not LDS, you should know that having a reassignment of a mission call is VERY rare. 98% of the people I talk to have never heard of anyone getting their call switched, especially after having a call for 3 1/2 weeks. It's not easy. You plan, you prepare, you purchase, and then you hit a wall. It's especially hard because of how different San Diego and Northeast Ohio are. San Diego is warm, sunny and beautiful year round. Kirtland will have ridiculously hot/humid summers and extremely cold and snowy winters, thanks to the lake effect. When you get your call originally to someplace so beautiful, you prepare for beautiful weather. You pack up your winter coat and all your winter clothing and put it into storage. You go to stores and buy lots and lots of short sleeve blouses and summery skirts. Now I find myself having to return some of these outfits, and figuring out when I can get to my aunt's house to unpack all that winter stuff. For 3 1/2 weeks, for most of the day every single day, I would think about San Diego and get excited. SO excited. Absolutely thrilled would probably be a better phrase. Now when I think about San Diego, it hurts a lot. It doesn't help when on a flight from SLC to Baltimore you sit next to a Hispanic women from southern California, right outside San Diego. Or from Baltimore to Albany you sit next to a man who pulls out a bag that has "SAN DIEGO" written in great big letters across it. I can't let myself think about where I was going, because it really does only make me sick to my stomach or cry. I also have to try and not think about no longer learning Spanish, a dream/goal of mine for a long time. I have to believe that sometime I will learn it and be able to reach out to any Spanish-speaking patient I will have, and perhaps someday fulfill my dream of becoming fluent in a language (understanding Spanish and a little French just doesn't cut it).

I'm going into the MTC two weeks earlier than originally assigned. I know it doesn't seem like much, but those two weeks are actually making a huge difference. First of all, I'll only have 3 weeks (possibly a little less) to gather everything together for my mission. Also, I will no longer enter the MTC with one of my best friends, April, who is going to Spain on July 7th. But more than that, I have to do this alone. June 23rd (my report date) is the day that my brother Scott graduates from high school, so my parents need to be home to celebrate his graduation, so they cannot come out to Utah with me when I enter the MTC. This also means that I will no longer see Scott graduate from High School. Craig will be in Arizona for research with an astronomy professor there, and the day before I enter the MTC, Eric is flying to Arizona to drive Craig from an astronomy camp to Flagstaff, where he will be conducting the research, so Eric and Craig will also be unavailable. This means no one in my immediate family can be with me when I go back to Utah hopefully a couple of days early, and then enter the MTC on June 23rd. It breaks my heart.

I need to be clear about something, my heart break is NOT about Kirtland itself. Had I been originally called to Kirtland, I would probably be excited. The pain comes from the switch, seeing what I had, feeling how perfect it was, and now observing the changes. I've been to Kirtland before and it is a great place. It's filled with lots of church history and I'm grateful for the opportunity that I'll have to learn that history and share it with those who come to the site. Kirtland also has absolutely beautiful spring and fall months, from what I've heard. I know that I am going to love Kirtland. I know that for whatever reason, it is the right place for me to serve my mission, and someday I will recognize the reason why, whether it's before I leave, sometime during, or even after. This is just one of the trials that I have been given. One of my best friends told me that the Lord would not change a call of someone unless He knew they had the faith to be okay with the switch. This is a test of my faith. This is my time to show the Lord that I truly will go wherever He wants me to go. This is my chance to throw my life into the Lord's hands and say "Thy will be done". I know that everything is going to be okay. I know I'm going to love Kirtland so much that I am never going to want to come home. It's just going to take time.

It's not about the location, it's about the purpose. I'm going to be a missionary!! Even if I will be sharing the gospel in my native tongue, I'm still sharing the gospel. Even if I'm only going to be a few hours away from my family, I'm still separating myself from worldly things and giving myself to the Lord full-time for 18 months. I still have to exercise faith, and learn to rely on the Spirit. I will still get to meet AMAZING people, and let them change my life, as much as I hope to change theirs.

I'm going to be okay. I'm going to love my mission. I'm going to give 110% of myself every single day for 18 months, with the Lord's supplication. I'm doing the right thing and I'm not turning back. No matter how hard it gets.

I could not possible show adequate appreciate to those who have shown such amazing love, concern, and support for me. Since Monday morning, I have had an overwhelming amount of support and advice coming in all different forms: text messages, emails, phone calls, facebook messages, facebook wall posts, person-to-person interaction, meaningful hugs, a shoulder to cry on, crying with me, and even staying in the car with me and talking until 4:45 in the morning. I am especially grateful for all the prayers. I feel so blessed to have such amazing support from all around, from all different people. It's all of you who are answering my own prayers and letting me know that I'm going to be okay.

This is hard, but this is right. This pain will become incredible joy. Kirtland will soon hold my heart.

Sorry for such an incredibly long, rambling post. There are just so many thoughts in my head...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh ambitions...

So I was telling someone about how appropriate it is that I was wearing my scrubs when I opened my call (long story short: we ended up leaving the hospital in Salt Lake wayyyy later than we were supposed to so I was running really late and didn't have time to do anything but grab my call and computer to start the skype session) because it brought together my life goals of serving a mission and being a nurse.

Being a nurse has been a goal of mine since I was 4 years old and going on a mission has been a dream since I was 6.
Put a ring on my finger and a baby in my belly and I'd have all my life goals in one place.
...Although I feel like there are some contradictions in that statement...