Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why do I want to go back on my Mission?

                I would like to let you know why I would like to return on my mission. As you may know, my whole life I’ve desired to serve a mission. I prayed often asking God to allow me to serve ‘now.’ As Soon as President Monson announced Sisters could serve at age 19, I was on the phone with Bishop Reading before President Monson had the chance to sit back down.
                I received my mission call December 2012 to Sao Paulo Brazil. I reported to the MTC May 22, 2013 learning Portuguese and the mission ways for six weeks. I then served in Biloxi, MS while I waited for my visa. As known, my back was acting up to the point where I was strongly considering going home. I went on my apartment porch; and for two hours searched the scriptures while continuously writing down questions and praying. I finally asked, “Do you want me to go home?” I then opened to Alma 10 and read the verse, “Return to thine own house.” I wanted to show the Lord I would follow his will even though I longed to stay on my mission.
                I came home September 25th, 2013. I had served for 4 months and now was home to heal my back. Throughout the year I was home, my back and neck seemed to just keeping getting worse; but I noticed miracles along the way. I gained a stronger relationship with my family (especially my mom and sister). I went out with the missionaries often and strengthened my skill in teaching the gospel. I got to help the Sisters teach and baptize Autumn Graves as we befriended her. I got to do missionary work online ending up baptizing Phillip Nielson who is now one of my close friends. I could go on and on about the miracles I’ve seen.
                 I’ve always wondered why God kept me home for so long; but every time I wondered, He showed me another miracle. Ask and ye shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
                My testimony has done nothing but grown immensely over this past year! There have been times I felt in limbo for I wasn’t dating or going to school or my mission. There were times I wondered if I wanted to return on my mission. I prayed nonstop and sporadically throughout the year gotten the same answer that I should return. Towards the end of March as I was praying I felt August would be when I would return. The spirit was very strong when my parents and I were talking about healing. End of July rolled around and the spirit then led me to hope for September. Time seemed to just keep pushing my re
turning date further back. A week ago I came to find out my friend had to go through chemo therapy for brain cancer. I then realized Heavenly Father kept me home a little longer so I could help him through the beginning stages, for he has very limited LDS friends, and would still need the spirit in the friendship.
                I have now received the “OK” from my doctor saying I can return on my mission. As soon as I got home I started seeing an Osteopath who I had been seeing before I had left for my mission May 2013.He continued to do manipulations on my neck, spine and hip. He also gave me two injections in my hip, one was a nerve block into my hip joint and the other was into my muscle to help with the tightness. After working on me for a few months and seeing some progress he sent me to physical therapy hoping to see more progress in getting my muscles to loosen up and build strength. Also I had woke up one morning in the beginning of November with a sharp electrical nerve pain in my left arm. They worked with me from November 2013– February 2014. During this time, I also began seeing a neurologist who did many nerve tests. From examinations and the results of these tests they felt that there was nothing seriously wrong but that a nerve was being aggravated by the tight muscles. Through Physical Therapy we saw improvement in my lower back and hip and also added strength; but I wasn’t improving as fast as they would have expected me to with the nerve pain and tight muscles in my upper back and neck. Eventually I was sent to a Pain Management foundation where I worked with a Doctor and Massage Therapist from February 2014 – May 2014 who did manipulations and deep tissue massage. There was much improvement, but still not completely healed with their technique. They recommended Trigger Point Injections. I went to a new Pain Management doctor who gave me these injections in three different areas of my neck and shoulder. I was then referred to a Physical Therapist in his Pain Management office who worked on my neck and upper body strength. He gave me home exercises, 30 minutes of the Tens Unit and a 10 minute massage. Later, he recommended that I have one more set Trigger Point Injections. I asked if I would need another Trigger Point injection down the road, but to my relief he told me I wouldn’t. After receiving these injections and more physical therapy I began to notice a huge change. The results are that my muscles will always be slightly tight, but as long as I keep up my stretching exercises it won’t limit my daily activities. I’m feeling stronger, healthier and my pain level has practically disappeared; and when those small glimpses of pain appear, I’m able to adjust them away just as quickly as they appeared.
Looking back on this year at home I feel extremely blessed. Yes, there have been times I felt in limbo, but so much good has been done. Sure, I have been released as a full time missionary, but my mission has never stopped. Heavenly Father once told me in a blessing that he considered this time home part of my full time mission. Ever since then I’ve done my best to have His perspective.
                The question still stands, why do I want to return on my mission?
I would love to serve the Lord full time again wherever He needs me. When people ask me, “Why would you spend 18 months of your life with no movies, dating, school, Facebook, etc” I would always reply, “Because there are so many people in the world like my mom who don’t have the Gospel in their lives until someone shares it with them; and I’ve seen how much it means to my mom in her life. Because someone loved the Lord enough to share the gospel with my mom, she was sealed in the temple with my dad and we have been raised in the Gospel and learning to love our Savior. I want others to have the ordinances they need to return to live with Heavenly Father. I want others to have a strong Testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement. Christ lived His life for us and without Him, we cannot return to live with our Heavenly Father. These are our brothers and sisters, close friends and loved ones out there who are depending on us to help them return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I want to do my part in helping them feel what I feel and know what I know. I want them to not fear but have faith. t. We are all here for a purpose and to learn different things, but our ultimate goal is to become like them; and how can we be like them if we don’t know them? That’s why I want to share. The few months I was out on my mission, and my mission since I’ve been home has already taught me more than I could have imagined: Patience, long suffering (endurance), how to recognize and act upon the promptings of the spirit, how the atonement really works in our lives, the importance of families, the importance of the priesthood and so much more! I know that this Gospel is true and when you have something that is so dear to you, why wouldn’t you want to share it? It’s like you’re holding your favorite candy bar and you see your friend come up who’s never tried it or it’s been years since they’ve tasted it. You know how good it tastes so you want to give them some so they can enjoy it with you. There are less actives who haven’t tasted the candy bar in a long time or others who have never tasted it at all. We need to offer them the chance to taste that candy bar and give them the opportunity to have the whole thing.
 As my Ward Missionary Leader once challenged, “How Many No’s can we get?!” Receiving a No isn’t failing; it’s success in trying. All we have to do is do our part and ask. That’s why I want to serve an 18 month mission; because I want others to enjoy the candy bar with me.”
                I love seeing and feeling the joy of others when they come to recognize the truth of the Gospel. It has been such a blessing in my life to be an instrument in God’s hands; and it makes me so happy to know that He still wants me out there to serve Him full time. The spirit that I had when I was called as a full time missionary was very strong and powerful and I was able to touch other people’s lives more often and a lot stronger.
                I am ready to continue the rest of my mission. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true and Restored Gospel. I know Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson were and are true prophets of God!
                Thank you for helping and supporting me in this opportunity. I don’t know if God will send me to my original calling of Brazil, but I know wherever I go I will serve diligently and proudly.
Thank you,
Sierra Thomas

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