Wednesday, December 9, 2015

El Fin

Here I come!

Buenos Dias Familia!!!!

I'm not talking about going home til the end of this letter or else I'll just cry.  I'll tell all the happy stuff first. Not that going home isn't happy.....i'ts both!!!!  Depends on the moment for me :)

Leaving Show Low was SUPER hard, but being with Sister Ferre has been a tender mercy and hilarious! We have not been able to keep our mouths shut, the first night we were back together we were up past midnight!!!

Sister Chloe Ferre
We have been going down memory lane and it's our first day together... when we first got on our bikes to ride to dinner and as we are riding down the street she is screaming at the top of her lungs, "I love being a missionary!" ha ha ha Then her last prayer with Ernie and Jairo, when she said "gracias por el tenedor de navidad" (the Christmas fork).   Also when they set up their living room outside so we could teach them in comfort and when she taped a lemon to her nose during weekly planning because it smelled nice, and when she ripped her favorite skirt trying to ride her bike with a full bag of lemons. Then there are the times when I would wrestle her to the ground or when I would scream in her ear to wake her up from her much needed lunchtime naps and apparently one of her favorites is when she would walk by and see me kiss and admire my muscles in the bathroom mirror.... I was doing it to make her laugh-- I promise!!!!  Really the list goes on for too long... it blows my mind that it has been a year and we are just as close.  The fun thing is that we both got to visit Show Low this week and visit people we both knew, plus this Sunday we get to go back to Camelback and see everyone together!!!  We are in heaven :)

On a more difficult note, if it weren't for Sister Ferre and President trying to sweeten the blow, I would be pretty miserable here.  Everyone wants to know where Sister Ferre's companion went, then they ask how long I've been out and realize that I'm only a "short" timer.  Yes, they think that joke is hilarious every time.  So I can't even
get to know anyone very well, I don't know what their needs are or what to do with them, so I basically just follow Sister Ferre and teach when I feel like I understand what is going on!  Plus we were only in our area, maybe 2 full days last week, and 2 this week.

Last week, I got hereon Monday and had a full day with Sister Ferre on Tuesday. Then, her lovely Sister Training leaders needed to do an exchange with Sister Ferre for the transfer, so I got shipped off to be with Sister Grooms for the day. That was weird!! We were back in Sister Grooms old ward, just like what we were doing 17 months ago.  Deja vu for sure!!!  I finally was back with Sister Ferre on Thursday, but we spent several hours at the mission home for my exit interview. Friday was weekly planning for half the day,  Saturday was pretty normal, but we spent most of the evening in Mesa at the Temple's Christmas lights with some investigators and less-actives. Sunday after church we met at the mission home, got food, then car pooled up to Show Low.

Mesa Temple lights

That night for some reason Sister Ferre got sent to Taylor to sleep, and I got sent to Show Low. The same thing happened with Sister Erekson and her companion :)  So Sister Erekson and I were back together in Show Low for a night!!!!  Another tender mercy....and another flash back. We stayed up til 1 a.m. that night because one story would end, and another would start. 

Monday we were exhausted, but it was worth it!!!  All the other missionaries had MLC that morning, but since I was only up there to play the hymns for the afternoon conference, Sister Ferre and I got to make visits in Show Low all morning! First Edith took us to Dennys for breakfast, then we visited Brother Phil. Afterwards we went to help Sister Durrant with the lunch for all the missionaries. She texted her daughter Drew who brought Bailey Gardner over to visit. Bailey started crying as soon as she saw me and Sister Erekson. hahaha I was getting so many flash backs it was ridiculous!!!  But do you see why I feel so unsettled all the time now?  Nothing seems to stay the same and I keep seeing everyone I thought I said goodbye to!  Oh is fun :)

Brother Phil
Breakfast at Denny's with Edith

Sister Durrant & daughter Drew

Bailey Gardner

Monday afternoon was our Mission Tour in the mountains with Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the presidency of the Seventy.  He spoke for about 3 hours on parenting and finding. He was a great speaker!!  We drove
home at about 6:30 that night.

Missionaries serving in Mountain area of Arizona Scottsdale mission
Yesterday, we had lunch at the Valley Mission Tour, but didn't stay for the training because we had heard it in the mountains so President suggested we just come for lunch.  Sister Sweeney said I could be in the mountain and valley picture since its presidents fault I'm all confused :).  President laughed when he saw me :)

Missionaries serving in Valley area of Arizona Scottsdale mission

This morning we got up at 4:45 a.m. to hike Camelback.  It was so steep they had to add railings and a fence to it....I only fell once. I thought I broke my shin it hurt so bad, but it looks fine now :)  We climbed up in the dark and we were able to see the sunrise.  I love that view of the whole Phoenix valley!!! Oh also....I didn't see in the
dark that the wall I needed to lean on was a cactus. My poor hand....hahahaha

My last sunrise hike!

Last hike up Camelback mountain!

Sister Ferre

Sister Ereckson

My exit interview with President Sweeney was really good. It was about 45 minutes and he covered a lot of subjects!! I think the funniest part was that I hinted at my detest for exercising and he then talked to me for what felt like 20 minutes about why I need to keep exercising every day.  ha ha ha!  He is kind of crazy about working
out :)  He talked a bit about dating, school, and spiritual goals. He asked about my converts and encouraged us to go to lunch with Ernie and talk to him about the Sabbath Day since he tends to work a lot....we are going tonight:)   It was surreal to be at the point where I was even in that interview.....where did time go??

Hermana Linford, Ferre & Ereckson = Favorite companions .... missing Sister Clark
I cannot even express how much love I have for the last 18 months of my life.  They have literally changed me.  I have met so many of my best friends, been welcomed with open arms into so many families, and have felt Heavenly Father in my life more than ever before.  I could not have made any better choice than to come here and serve.  I cannot believe that it is over. I want to end with my final testimony as a missionary.  As you read this, I hope you can feel my love for you and how incredibly grateful I am for the support you have given me.  My
mission would have been drastically different without you.

I believe the best testimony I can bear today is that Jesus Christ is our Savior and God is a loving Heavenly Father. I know that this is His work and His kingdom on the earth. As a missionary, I have experienced a lot of things I probably would have never seen had I not served. I can recall sitting in many humble homes filled with humble people who just wanted to see some sort of change in their lives.  Through teaching them, my testimony of the power in living gospel principles has dramatically increased. I learned quickly that the gospel applies to everyone, no matter the stage or condition of their life, and my love for the gift of repentance grew as I saw the hope and the relief in the faces of those who so badly wanted to be forgiven.

I know that the Savior loves each of his children. Biking down the streets of Phoenix, it was sometimes hard to imagine the love that God and His son have for each of the people we passed, but I learned to see people in a different light. Not as they were, but who they could become.

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know the church was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, I feel the power in that knowledge every time I teach it. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and I know that reading it daily brings spiritual strength.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet today and that by following him, and trusting in his power and authority, we are kept safe from the evils of the world.

I am eternally grateful for my missionary experience here in Arizona.  I have learned and changed in more ways than I had even hoped for.  Again, I know this is God's work, he is in it every day.  I bear testimony that He lives.

I will see you soon.  I love you :) I Love You :) I LOVE YOU :)

Love Forever,
Hermana Short

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