Needless to say.... I am already crying. Here I am not believing at all that this is my last email home.
My mission has been everything to me. I will NEVER regret the eighteen month service I have given to the Lord.Yeah, it's been freaking hard sometimes. There were moments when I felt so alone, there were moments when I wanted to be. There were moments when I wasn't sure that what I was preaching was even true. There were days that I felt like the pillsbury dough boy. There were moments when my companions were pushing for miracles and I would have rather be at home sitting on the beach with a boyfriend and a good book. There were days when it was so cold and rainy that I thought we would freeze in the corner of some sketchy road and our bodies would never be found. There were moments that I was convinced that it is impossible for French people to believe in anything, there were weeks, literally weeks, at the beginning of my mission where we did not teach more than 2 lessons. There were moments when I felt like the people were rejecting me. There were days that I would beat myself up for not being as good as I could be, or not being as good as the other missionaries.But, you know what...I know that all of those things happened, I remember them, but I do not remember how they felt. All of that pain and sadness has been swept away.However,My stomach still flips every time I think about walking off of the plane in Paris and meeting President for the first time. When I think about the first lady, Patricia, who I ever contacted. I can still remember the JOY I felt the day of Joycely's baptism, the spirit I felt at every baptism. I still laugh when I think about all of the members and the crazy adventures we have had with them. I remember clearly the feelings I had each and every time our amis walked into church. I can remember the moments when my companions and I literally could not stop laughing long enough to say a prayer to get out the door. I still feel the moments that the spirit has witnessed to me that Jesus Christ is my SAVIOR and that this is his church. I cherish the moments when my personal testimony has been strengthened in zone conferences and district meetings. I still cry thinking about the moments when our amis have opened up to Christ and let him heal them, or when I have seen in-actives find again their testimony of the gospel as restored by Joseph Smith. I feel what I felt every time our amis have made 180 degree turns in their progression and started to act. I can still feel the joy that has come from every time that I have served someone, even in the littlest way.And this is how I KNOW that Christ is in the work. That this IS Christ's work. He through His infinite mercy and grace has taken away the pain and left me the beautiful. I can only look back on my mission and laugh and cry tears of joy and smile.Where would I be without this mission? Is the the scariest question in the world to me. Yeah, I was a good person before, but I was ignorant to SO MANY THINGS. I can never look at a stranger on the street the same after this, I will never ever look at missionary work the same after this, I will never be scared to open up my mouth again and share who I am.This mission has given me so much, it almost doesn't feel right. I was supposed to be the one who was giving!!! I feel like I am taking away so much more than I am leaving behind. This mission has given me more than testimony of the restored gospel, it has converted me. It has taught me who my Savior is and how to follow in his ways. It has taught me obedience. It has taught me how to do things when I do not want to do them. It has taught me how to take less than I give. It has taught me that the scriptures are true. I read all of those scriptures stories my entire life, but I never thought that anything like that could happen to me. Now I feel like I can relate to Paul and Alma and Ammon because I have been there. It has taught me that love conquers all. It has taught me the need to love and look out for the people who are closest to you. It has taught me that we are literally nothing without God. It has taught me the power of faith. It has taught me the power of prayer. It has taught me the worth of a no-stress attitude. It has taught me the reality of eternal families. More than anything, it has taught me that missionary work, WORKS!I owe so much of my mission to the wonderful people who have been in my sight and sound 24/7 for the past 18 months. Companions have been such a blessing. Each of them have had super powers and touched my life for the better. Soeur Judd taught me how to radiate joy. Soeur Grewar taught me the reality of forgiveness and the power of conversion. Soeur Garrett taught me how to love the people. Soeur Foster taught me how to give it all and them give some more. Soeur Hilton taught me that miracles come when we are happily going about doing good. Soeur Francis taught me how to apply preach my gospel. Soeur Hosking taught how to have faith to see miracles. Soeur Berge taught me how to be bold and laugh every day, and Soeur Mangum continues to teach me how to be diligent and pure-hearted.Thank GOODNESS this is not the end. I am still learning and I will continue to progress when I go home. I will NOT let these be the best 18 months of my life. I KNOW that Heavenly Father has more in store for me. I am so excited to discover it.Ah, my heart is full. I love you all so much. Thank you for your support, and letters, and prayers throughout. I have felt them. I am a better person because of every one of you. Holy smokeeesssss, I am so EXCITED to see y'all. But not until I give everything I've got to this last week of my mission. :)Until I see you, in the real,Soeur Johns