Monday, January 26, 2015

The End

Here it is!  Sydney's final letter!  Thank you to all of you who have been her support and have continued to read about Sydney's adventures in Korea.  If you would like to hear her homecoming talk, she will be speaking on Feb 15th at 10 am in our church.  Let me know if you want an address.  Thanks to all of you who sent kind and encouraging words to Sydney throughout her journey as a missionary!  We are so happy to be having her come home!  5 more days!

Am I sad it's over? 
Am I also happy it's over?

I'm sad because ending my mission means leaving these people and this country that I've come to love so much. 

I'm happy because ending my mission means I can take naps again. And I really need a nap.

To further illustrate my whirlpool of emotions, I gave a talk in church yesterday and I cried/laughed through the whole thing. Can you imagine it? Please don't. It was ridiculous. was ridiculous. So many feelings! And in Korean, no less!

There's just so many things that I'm going to miss here! I'll miss heated floors and eating on the floor and taking off my shoes in restaurants. I'll miss the "French" bakeries and the hipster cafes. 
I'll miss Daiso.(this is a store)
 I'll miss the grandmas that you meet on the street, the ones that hold your hand and call you pretty and walk with you a while. I'll miss the rolling mountains and the wide rivers and the peace of Buddhist temples. 
I'll miss talking to Korean children. I'll miss Jellanamdo accents. 
I'll even miss kimchi.
I'll miss being 아바 자매.

But I've learned what I was supposed to learn. Now I think it's time for me to come home.

I came on a mission because I wanted to help others--I wanted to bring them the gospel I loved so much and show them the way to eternal happiness and eternal life. In essence I came with the intent to save, if not the entire world, then at least the Korean part of it. I constantly said to myself: "This is not about me. This will never be about me."

But I was wrong.

When I got here (remember?^^) I couldn't speak! I couldn't understand! I was like a mute doll being dragged about by my trainer and I certainly didn't feel very helpful to anyone. But eventually I learned; unbelievably, I started to figure this mission thing out. And now it's over

Even now, a year and a half later, I'm still not sure I really helped any of the people I tried to. Whether it was language or unpreparedness or fear I feel like I was never quite as helpful as I wanted to be. And maybe I wasn't. Maybe my mission didn't make much of a difference to anyone here, but it doesn't matter--my mission has made all the difference to me. In the end, my mission was about me. It was always about me. Heavenly Father didn't need me here for the Koreans, He needed me here for me. I know now that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

So maybe this is what I learned on my mission--I learned that Heavenly Father loves us so much that He will give each one of us personal and specific opportunities to find and strengthen our testimonies. He truly has a plan by which each of us can be saved.

"To be strong in living the gospel, there is nothing more important than receiving and strengthening our own testimony. We must be able to declare, as Alma did, 'I know these things of myself. I know of myself that they are true.'"

I have come to know on my mission that these things are true:

I know that Heavenly Father loves us. 
I know that He sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to live and die for us.
I know that they restored their Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that this is the only true and living Church.
I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's living prophet today.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It's so true!
I know that Heavenly Father gives us commandments because He loves us and that if we keep His commandments joyfully and endure to the end, we will have eternal life. We will be glorious.

And I know one last thing too. I know that "God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in." I know He loves His children in Korea. He loves this country so much. And I love it so much too.

"And now it came to pass that [I came to know all this in the land of Korea, near the beautiful rivers of Korea, and in the rolling mountains of Korea, and among the people of Korea. And oh how beautiful is this country to the eyes of me, Abba Jameh, who here came to the knowledge of my Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are the people who dwell here for I shall praise their names forever.]"

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

This is where I leave you. I love you. I'll see you soon. 
아바 자매, over and out.

1 comment:

  1. I have loved Sydney's letters and I'm sad to see them stop. But I am happy that she's had such a wonderful experience and can now go home to her sweet family! Well done!