Friday, February 7, 2014


Every so often I get in a really nostalgic mood. I start reminiscing about past moments, places and people. Last night I was in one of those moods. I started in Chile and quickly made my way to Argentina. My memories were filled with people. Amazing Amazing AMAZING people that I feel so so SO blessed to have had the opportunity to meet. 

Today I want to write about my mission companions. These girls saw me in "the best of times" and "the worst of times." They saw it all. Last night I was thinking about how the heck these girls could stand living with me for months on end...and as I thought about each one of them I thought about the lessons that I learned from each of them. 

Here are just a few of those lessons:

Hermana Cataldo: Obedience
Hermana Cataldo was living proof of what it meant to be exactly obedient in all things. One day we came home from a long hot day of work and realized that our keys were locked inside of the apartment. We spent a good bit of time trying to figure out what to do before we headed over to the other Hermana's area next to ours. We got there late, sweaty from head to toe without any of our stuff, slept on the floor, the electricity went out so none of us had fans, it was a llloooong night. The alarm went off at 6:30am and I laid on the floor dead. In my mind, we had the perfect excuse to not get up, Heavenly Father would surely understand all that we had been through. I roll over and see Hermana Cataldo sitting up doing her morning stretches on her makeshift bed on the floor. That moment taught me so much about obedience and love for the work that Heavenly Father had entrusted us to do. There are no excuses when it comes to being exactly obedient. You just do it. 

Hermana Galvez: Confidence
Although we were only companions for three weeks, it was an inspired three weeks. Hermana Galvez helped me learn that I was called by a Heavenly Father who trusted me, who had confidence in my talents and abilities. I learned that it was selfish of me to sit quietly in lessons because my native companions could explain things better than me. She was patient with me as I cried in the middle of the street after leaving a lesson because I felt like I hadn't taught well or understood much. Thanks to her humble example I slowly started to learn what it meant to "forget myself" and focus on others. I learned to have confidence in my mission call and I trusted in the trust that Heavenly Father had in me. 

Hermana Byrne: Testify and Work
Hermana Byrne was fulfilling a 20+ year dream of being a missionary. She didn't let an opportunity to testify of our message pass her by. I'll always remember getting into the taxi to go to the clinic because her knee was hurting her. As she got in the car she hit her other knee. I could see her holding back tears from the pain she was in. She was upset at herself for injuring her other knee, making walking an even more difficult feat than it already was. While sitting helpless in the back of the car wishing that I could help my companion I hear her say, "Did you know that you can live with your family forever?" In spite of the excruciating pain she felt she wouldn't let the opportunity to talk to the taxi driver go. I remember sitting in the back with a grateful smile on my face, grateful for the strength that my companion had to continue our work no matter the circumstances. Her knees never stopped her from working. She pushed through pain that I can't comprehend to help take away spiritual and temporal pain from those surrounding her.

Hermana Beers: Progression and Improvement
Hermana Beers helped me understand the Plan of Salvation better. She helped me understand better what our purpose in life is, of course I was stubborn and didn't let myself internalize her lessons until we were no longer companions (sorry bout that Jessica). She was such a great example to me of continual learning and progression. She was always looking for ways to be a better missionary, to better her teaching skills, to better her Spanish and to understand her investigators better. She wouldn't let herself plateau. I remember countless times walking back to the apartment with her by my side analyzing the lesson, talking about what we could have done differently and how we should approach the next lesson. I remember thinking, "the lessons done. Over. We can't change it now. It doesn't matter." (I'm so embarrassed to admit that I thought those things). I have since applied the teachings of Hermana Beers and try to always find ways to be better, to work harder, to try new things and see if they analyze :). 

Hermana Suarez: Believe
When Hermana Suarez prayed, there was no doubt that she was having real communication with Heavenly Father. When she taught there was no doubt that she believed 100% every word of what she was teaching and testifying. She was on a mission to change lives and teach people to believe. She treated every single person that we taught in such a kind and loving manner. No matter who they were, no matter their situation she was able to connect with them and I know that it was her belief that made her that way. There were countless lessons where I sat in awe as my companion taught because there was no denying that what she taught was true. She knew why she was on a mission and she lived each day doing just what she had come to do, to help others believe and understand the things that she believes and knows to be true.

Hermana Borchert: Perserverance and Trust
Can we just say that Hermana Borchert came exactly when I needed her. I found this in my journal from a few days after she got there, "I really really love my comp. She is so sweet. I have laughed, like actually laughed to the point of almost peeing my pants. It's been awhile since that has happened." She had a rough first few transfers in the mission. We were rejected, ALWAYS. I had never been rejected so much before, and it was always because we were Americans which was also really weird because that had never happened to me either. People trash talked our homeland EVERY.DAY. Our apartment flooded and we were constantly caught in the rain, she got bronchitis, our water and electricity went out just about every other day and we had to wash ourselves using water bottles we had stored up. She was such a trooper through it all. I also learned a lot from Hermana Borchert because she was so willing to help me improve. She always offered suggestions about things that I could do better in the most loving way and then helped me see them through. She taught me how to trust her and others. I can't even begin to articulate how much I learned from our conversation about trust. A LOT. Seriously, life changing conversation right there. (Unfortunately Darin had to have it with me too. Man, who knew that trusting other people was such a weakness of mine).

Hermana Runyan: Smile
Hermana Runyan taught me that there are times when a sincere smile means more than spoken words. This girl has a contagious smile, you can't see her smile and not want to smile back. It is a smile full of charity and desire. She worked so hard to learn Spanish but there were times where it was still hard to understand and although I know it was hard for her it didn't show. She was always positive, always happy. I might have seen her sad once, maybe, and even though she was sad she still had a smile on her face. She really taught me to enjoy every moment of life. I'll never forget walking down a red dirt street in the middle of no where and hearing her shout, "I love this! I love the dirt! I love the pigs! This is a dream!" She always found the good in everything and never stopped smiling. She also saw the good in people and never gave up on them even when I was ready to move on. Thanks to her we went back to the Gonzalez's house after a missed appointment and they were baptized as a family not much later. Same with a mother and son that I was ready to stop teaching right before going home that ended up being baptized after I left. She taught me to believe in people and see that they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Wow, writing all this out makes me miss my mission a lot. I really am so blessed for the opportunity that I had to serve and for these wonderful women who tolerated me and taught me so much about life. I use their lessons on a daily basis and continue to be surprised by lessons I am learning from experiences and people from my mission.

I love you Hermanas!

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