Well, I thought I would wrap things up here, make sure there is some good closure. This past week was great! Nothing too dramatic or crazy, but I am a-okay with that. I talked it out with many other people, mainly missionaries, that I didn't want to have a sprint to the end or anything out of the ordinary. I need to maintain a good pace rather than go home and crash. I felt as though I had done well at giving of myself throughout the past twenty three months and didn't feel the need to give a little more. Maybe that was a sin of complacency, but what is done is done, and I feel happy.
Thursday we got to go to Queens! We went down to Grand Central and took the 7 train over to have a combined Mission Leadership Council with the New York New York South Mission. It was a blast- I enjoyed interacting with and feeling the enthusiasm of the South mission. I feel like a lot of time we were so isolated in our own little mission, so getting exposed to them and their culture was great! That experience reminded me of how much I like to meet new people and interact with them, not having any pretenses of who they are or what they are like. I look forward to doing that at school!
There were a lot of goodbyes said over the course of the weekend. I was grateful how smooth it went, though. I feel like in a Spanish ward or branch when you say you are leaving everybody wants to do something big or special for you, but here it was nice in that people were more like "Good luck!" or "See you around!" I guess I just don't like the special attention or whatever, so it was good.
Monday was a great day! Zone meeting was executed well. We felt good about it at least. Later as we were heading to the church for the ward family night, a young man approached us at a bus stop and just asked us about our beliefs. We talked with him and kept talking all along the bus ride. Somewhere along the lines we invited him to come along with us to the family and he said sure! Having him agree to come on the spot like that was awesome! I don't think I have ever seen someone spontaneously decide to come to an activity or church or anything like that. Just a testimony that asking a thousand strangers to come to church is worth it for the one that says yes. An unrelated tender mercy from that night was that Elder Jensen, one of my best missionary friends, called us to give us a referral after we had planned. I was able to talk with him and say a good see you later. I know that wasn't coincidence and that Heavenly Father often blesses us with the little things to let us know that He loves us.
Tuesday was one of the most stressful days of my life. I had many things to do- transfer stuff from my iPad, mail some packages, finish cleaning and packing, write some last minute notes, etc. all before the cut off of about 4:15 P.M. when the assistants would be picking me up. We planned it out so that the timing of everything would work out well. Then real life started happening. Everything from us not having the right keys to get into the clerk's office to my iPad not wanting to transfer pictures to the train running express to the end of the line and so on happened and caused me to be super stressed by the end of it all. Of course the end of it all was essentially a complete relief of that stress and much more stress that I had felt over the past two years, so that kept me going. But anyways, I vocalized my stress with my roommates, Elder Schneider and Elder Christensen and they helped me to walk through it and see that there was something to learn. Practically all of my stress was related to getting to places and getting stuff done on my time scale. The two of them talked about how when things were hectic like that, it was usually because things were on God's time scale and He always gets us to where we need to be when we need to be there. I realized that in stressing out so much, I was holding on to my will and not submitting to His. I wasn't trusting that He was in control and that all would pan out. Stress isn't bad, but that day it had turned into distress. Stress should be enough to motivate us to do what we can with what we control, but when we get anxious over things that we can't control it is an unnecessary emotional burden, and for me in this case it was a lack of faith. Those experiences helped me to internalize things I had been learning over the course of the mission. I am just super grateful for the opportunity I had to learn until the very end. I hope to do the same with life- endure to the end learning, everyday.
The assistants came and picked me up and took me to the mission home. There we had a great time! We relaxed and socialized for a bit, ate some dinner, had a great testimony meeting and then just had a good time with one another- one of the most fun nights of my life. The next day we woke up and headed to the airport. I was anxious to get to the next step- get on the plane, then get in the air, then touch down, then get on the next plane, then have that one touch down, then have the train get to the right concourse, then have the escalators get to the top. I was a little frustrated that I had to have a connecting flight in Boston- how does that make any sense? Heavenly Father, however, showed me at least part of the reason why that happened. As we were taking off to go to Boston, I had a strong desire to see the New York City skyline. Everybody does, right? So I looked out and didn't see anything. I said a small prayer and then I thought I caught a small glance across the way out of the other side's window. I was going to be content with that, when all of a sudden, we come to the end of our turn and headed directly towards Boston. I saw the city perfectly. I worked my way from south to north. I could distinctly see downtown and midtown, central park, and then I looked up to the Bronx and I could see where the botanical gardens are and the bronx zoo, Pelham Parkway, Van Courtland Park and so on. I started to visual where the people I had come to know and love lived. As we moved further along, I looked up the Hudson to where I imagined Newburgh would be. Saying goodbye become that much more of an emotional experience as I left all of that behind. I teared up a little (and I am not one to cry) as the city faded away. I think that is when it hit me that my time was done.
I am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve. I am going to close with my mission experience in the next post. Thank you for reading this- I hope that I have done some good for you. I am going to start up a new blog wherein I continue to talk about what is going on with me and what I am learning so please do follow me at: