Missionary

Visit my other blog  HERE to see more about my life from March 2, 2016 - September 2, 2017.  I am serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission, and hope to do my best to bring people unto the Lord.  The gospel has blessed my life so tremendously that I hope to bestow upon others this same joy. 





Here are the rough notes from my farewell talk:

I wanted to start my talk with a story about a man named Daniel Garn.  Daniel wa born in a German colony in Pennsylvania in 1802.  He was baptized by Hyrum Smith and was the 33rd member of the church.  At one point Daniel Garn served as bodyguard to the prophet Joseph Smith.... and one an interesting side note - he - along with a man named Josiah Arnold - saved the life of the prophet during an assassination attempt in Missouri.  Josiah Arnold happens to be the great great great grandfather of John Arnold in 3rd Ward!  Anyway.....  Daniel Garn was later called to be the first mission President in Germany.  He also helped translate the Book of Mormon into German and helped the first German converts immigrate to the US.  This amazing man helped pave the way for me to serve in this beautiful area..... and in more ways than one..... Daniel Garn is my great-great-great grandpa.  I feel so much gratitude that this was the mission I was called to.  Also, perhaps it's no wonder the Lundgreens and the Arnolds are such good friends!


About the same time that I left for college, a lot of my friends left on missions.  Not only were we thousands of miles apart, but now our only form of communication was a weekly email.  Now it’s my turn to say goodbye to those I love.  But why would we do it?  Why would we young and naive eighteen and nineteen-year-olds leave behind our families and friends, our schools, our hobbies and our music for so long to go a brand new place where people will slam the door in our faces? Why would we try to learn a new language or deal with weird foods and dangerous, unsanitary situations when so often the very thing we have come to preach will be mocked?
I will never forget the testimony meeting at my second year of girls camp when Lydia said, “We have the gospel.  I don’t want to go to the afterlife and have my acquaintances say ‘Why didn’t you share it with me?!’
Fast forward a couple years.  At seventeen years old I was going through a bit of a hard time, and I remember being frustrated because I wanted to do something important but didn’t know how.  One day I was driving and it suddenly hit me-- one of the greatest things I could do to help other people is to give them God’s truth.  
Because no matter how many people slam the doors in my face, to give just one person the chance to know of God’s love and of their value makes all the hardship worth it for me.  


Learning about the Plan of Salvation has helped me both in getting ready for my mission but also in understanding life itself.   This gospel helps us to understand that life is not a fluke, but in a premortal existence we specifically chose God’s plan where we would have the agency to make our own decisions.  We chose to come to earth, and we understood that we would have hardships.  Life is not hard because God is cruel or because God is nonexistent, but because by hardship we can grow and be prepared for the next life.  Nephi taught that their must be opposition in all things, and it is by sadness that we can truly know joy.  Even going away to college has helped me to understand this plan and essentially prepare me for my mission.  My parents are excellent teachers, but there are things I couldn’t learn by staying in the comfort zone of my home where they would be there to forever take care of me.  I had to fly from the nest, go 3000 miles away to the middle of the Pacific where I knew not a soul and suddenly had to fend for myself.  I’m sure my parents weren’t exactly thrilled when I called and informed them that Hawaii was getting tsunami or hurricane warnings, or that I had been out snorkeling and saw a shark, or that I was planning on jumping out of a plane, and I’m sure they would have loved to continue making my decisions to make sure I stayed on the path of both physical and spiritual safety.  Similarly, I’m sure as our Heavenly Father it would have been so much easier to keep us under His wing in the premortal life rather than sending us to earth where many of us follow the road of self destruction.... but if He had done that, we would have remained like children.   Our purpose is to learn and progress and become like Him.
 The stake president asked me something hard that I’ve had to overcome.  I feel like my life has been filled with many blessings that I’m so grateful for.... but many of you have known me since I was a kid, and I grew up being extremely shy.  I was very quiet, very reserved and perhaps timid, not because I didn’t want to be social but just because it was hard for me.  As a writer I had plenty of ideas, but I had absolutely no idea how to vocalize these same words.  As a funny note, I didn’t know until last night that apparently the reason my family got into theatre is because my mom was trying to get my out of my shell!  This is a struggle that I’ve had to really work on over the years. It made me really nervous thinking about going on a mission, where I would have to approach people and try to share something that’s really personal to me.  But it’s amazing the way God placed specific people in our lives at the precise time when we need them most, to help overcome our challenges.


A friend of mine who served in my same mission commented that many people have turned their back on God because they think He turned their back on them.  The horrors of World War II and its aftermath to their country were too much to bear, and many weren’t willing to listen to the words of a young American girl who had never experienced such devastation.    But I hope to convey to them the love I have for the gospel in a way that they can understand the blessings that can be brought forth. That families can be together forever.
In an answer to that question of how have I prepared to serve a mission, I’ve done all the normal things-- reading all the standard works, attending several religion classes, taking mission prep, and I feel like I’ve gained a testimony and developed a sincere love for my Heavenly Father, but... I’ve also worked my entire life to overcome my shyness, so that one day perhaps I can be that right person at the right time, a dynamic speaker who can soften the hearts of those who need to hear the gospel. I will forever be grateful for those missionaries who shared the gospel with my grandma when she was my age, because the impact that made in the lives of not only her, but my mother and myself and siblings and cousins is tremendous.


In closing, I’m going to share a little blurb that I wrote on my blog a few weeks ago:


I don't know how I'm going to be as a missionary, thrown into a world where the language is so different and the responsibility is great and those people like myself who are trying selflessly to share their gospel AKA the most valuable thing they have to offer, are often rejected.  What if my companion doesn't like me?  What if my shyness makes me awkward when I'm trying to talk to people?


I cannot wait to discover a totally new part of the world.  I may be leaving the incredible island of Oahu and saying goodbye to those I care about, but now I head on a new journey in the land of my ancestors where I will meet new friends, see beautiful sights, hear and speak a lovely language, taste delicious foods, and dive into a culture far different than my own. I might be scared and exhausted, and people will reject me, but I will still be sharing with those who listen a wonderful message which will change their lives forever.  When I return, we will all be wiser and filled with stories to tell, our reunion sweet and filled with the love of those whose absence made them appreciate each other that much more. This is an incredible opportunity I have been given and I hope to make it the best year-and-a-half.  

Red Rock

 Earlier this week, my siblings ditched school so that we could spend the day in Sedona.  It's become a casual tradition that we absolutely love, and it was so precious making memories up in these gorgeous mountains where the red rock is surely so different than what I'll find in the Alps.  It was hilarious how insane we all went at Walmart when my dad offered to buy each of us a snack for the car {and of course Rachel was not thrilled when Sophie chose a jellybean dispenser in the form of a plastic, chirping chick}.  We reminisced of our West Coast Roadtrip by listening to the same Bastille and Panic at the Disco soundtracks, and of course we sang.  In Sedona, we hiked down to a stream where the kids hopped from rock to rock {and even though I myself was barefoot and wading in the water, it took them slipping in to realize that perhaps wearing their tennis shoes was a bad idea}.  We milled around the trendy streets, watched a great dane bark insanely at a revolving statue, and even ventured into a ghost town.

  





Boy has the past week-and-a-half been wild.  Between shopping, packing, trying to soak up my last Arizona time and everything in between, I'm for the most part extremely excited... but I'll admit I've had my breakdown moments.  It's stressful, once again trying to squeeze my whole life into a suitcase while trying to figure out what I'll need as a missionary in Europe.  I haven't written a single sentence of my novel in over a month and my siblings are complaining they didn't get to do as many fun things with me as they wanted and meanwhile I'm just wondering where all the time has gone.  But I'm happy.  I've worked as hard as I can to fill my short schedule efficiently, and the honest truth is I'll be back next year!  Really though, this is going to be amazing.  

Hooked at the Hip/ster

Although it's strange coming home and having all my high school friends in Provo/Europe/on missions and my college friends of course still in Hawaii... there is nothing like getting to chill with the family {and those people who may as well be family}.  Sophie asks me to do basically everything with her from sleeping in the same room, to sitting next to each other in the backseat of the Excursion, to sharing hot chocolate when it's way too hot but her offers are too cute to refuse.  She made an incredibly impressive cutout castle with detailed dragons, and she agreed enthusiastically to let me give her some art lessons before I leave.  Olivia, Rachel, and I got signed up for a little modest modeling gig, and Eric was ever the talented baker when I asked him to help me make cookies.  That little eleven-year-old stud just asked a girl out!  Rachel, who compared herself to Wednesday Addams right when I was about to say the same thing, just got accepted into BYU.  Adam meanwhile has started driving with a permit, and I'll admit I'm slightly uncomfortable when he starts squealing my precious convertible around the parking lot, but I am still proud.  I have also loved reuniting with his buddies-- oh how I missed Kale's humor!   
















El Fin


It was but one short year ago that I was at Applebee's with Dallin, Adyson, Adam, Kale, and a few of our other friends after the Masquerade Ball, when I received an email announcing my acceptance into BYU-Hawaii. With squeals of excitement, I thought of the opportunities ahead.  Now, I have been home for a little over 24 hours, and that island adventure I so craved is officially over.  
I couldn't have asked for a better freshman year of college.  Within the next few weeks I shall be receiving the certificate awarding me my Associate's Degree, and though my schooling is far from finished, that first experience away from home is.  I'll admit I shed a lot of tears saying goodbye on Tuesday, because I realized that I might not see my friends ever again.  It's crazy to think I've known some of them for less than four months, and the rest for only seven! We've shared so many incredible memories in such a short amount of time, and that will forever mean the world to me.
The past few weeks of adventure have included the boys telling me to get on top of the car and then lifting it off the ground... a dance up in Honolulu followed by a middle-of-the-night run to IHOP {and my first-ever Monster-- boy was I PSYCHO}... snorkeling... finding a wild, empty beach and watching the bros surf... too much Taco Bell and the boys' favorite Baja Blast... a rooftop sunrise... tempera sushi in Haleiwa... a Valentine's night in a beach-parked car... continuing to tell stories after security has yelled at us five times for curfew... laying in the sand jamming to music from junior high... trying to find alternative ways of throwing insults rather than flipping each other off... playing games that make our cheeks ache... running around getting soaked in the rain.., Oh gosh, the fun felt like it would never end.
Even the island itself taught me so much.  Beyond offering so much nature and beauty, there were people from all over the globe.  I loved having my Korean roommate Yeonkyung AKA Ana, who would laugh at the crazy white-girl ways of Allison and I {apparently we said "like" too much}.  It was amazing hearing three different languages from my table in the cafeteria.  Of course, it was so eye-opening to learn about the Hawaiian culture and history, and it made me appreciate my own that much more.  
I hope that I can be as heart-broken to leave the people and places of my mission as I was to leave Hawaii.  



BACK: Kaleo, Tyler, Makenna, Myrinda, Aaron, Ole, Trevor, Stuart, MIDDLE: Rachel, Noelle, me, Courtney, McKenzie, Chance, FRONT: Benson, Tyler







My Highland gal Rachel!








Jaws

There is nothing like tearing down the highway in the back with your friends, like late nights on the beach listening to scary stories, like exploring old ruins.  There is no wonder like snorkeling far out in the ocean, where hundreds of fish and turtles feed off a reef, where giant manmade structures blast you backwards in a whirl of warm water, where suddenly you see a little shark and then a minute later you are completely surrounded by dozens of dolphins, some of which jump up and spin in the air.





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