This will be my last post on this blog! I am ending it here! Making this the final entry to say.
I AM HOME! I made it all the way back to my family. Despite trial, despite joy. Everyone says it, but really a mission goes by in the blink of an eye. Somedays it felt like my weeks were never going to end and were endlessly dragging on and never going to come to a close. Somedays felt like my time was FLYING and I felt almost cheated out of my time in the mission.
Overall I can say that my mission was the best 18 months of my life SO FAR.
I recently read somewhere that we shouldn't think of going home from missions as "dying" like so many missionaries do. It's not the end of the only good times in our lives. I read that we should remember that it is just a springboard that is there to help us continue doing what we are supposed to be doing.
I learned so much on mission. More than I could ever write in one post. More than I could ever really express. But I hope to always remember these things. Because I feel like I came home a different person. So even though I cannot really express it all, I'll share a list of 7 things I have learned, and how it applied in mission life and how I think it applies now that I am done.
1. Just because it is different, does not mean it is wrong.If your family sees something in a different way, that doesn't mean they are wrong. Or your friends, or your missionary companion. My companions often saw things differently from me. I wanted to go left, they wanted to straight. Then we both decide to choose the right ;-) In all seriousness, I learned that I don't always HAVE to be right. I learned that my way is not the only way. Other people see things in the context of their own understanding and experience and it takes a mature companion to see that, respect that and allow others the chance to make decisions. Another persons ideas are not incorrect or dumb to them. So if I disagreed, I still wanted to listen. Because their idea makes sense to them, even if it doesn't to me.
2. Learning to be a good leader is learning to be a good follower.This goes along with the first thing I learned. Let your companion make some decisions day to day sometimes- and don't complain and THEN follow them. Just do it happily. Same thing goes with family, spouse and friends. It's just about being humble. This principle helped me to avoid a lot of potential fights or contention with my companions. Oh, and don't boss people around. If your companion refuses to follow you, then pray and choose the better part. Choose to seek help from your leaders, and talk it out.
3. There is better help found in my scriptures than on Google.If I have a question or seriously need help, I felt better when I SERIOUSLY searched the scriptures. Looking on the internet for lasting happiness and peace (like those 21 Ways to Be Happier! blog posts) was never a lasting thing for me. Searching my scriptures gave me a LOT more comfort and it lasted a LOT longer.
4. Kneeling prayers are better.Sitting or laying down in bed lacks power. Its a simple act, but saying a simple prayer while kneeling next to your bed helped me a)stay awake and b)feel the Spirit.
5. Don't think you know everything, because you actually know nothing.I entered the mission field thinking 'ay man I got this! This is easy!' The MTC helps a lot guys but it does not at all prepare you for most of what you'll experience because your mission experience is unique to YOU and YOUR trainer. Be thou humble and the Lord will lead you... ;-)
That was my experience. And it was very humbling. I know that will definately help me a lot in the future- I realize now how much I need to rely on the Lord in situations where I am completely new or struggling.
6. Speak up, speak out, share how you feel.
I learned how to communicate better. Especially from my last companion in the mission field. She taught me how to better speak my heart. I learned that keeping problems bottled up inside and not sharing things that bothered me, or personal growth struggles, or contention or whatever IS NOT HEALTHY and WILL NOT GO AWAY. The best possible feeling in the world is when you open up to your companion and share everything calmly, lovingly, and with the Spirit. The Holy Ghost will guide your words and help you to fix every problem.
7. Happiness really is a choice.
Depression is a real thing, but for people who are not affect by the clinical form of this, happiness is a choice. Latter-day Saints have the best reasons to smile every. day. And so I learned on my mission that even on days when it was HOT and people yelled at us or threw stuff at us or shut us out of their homes and neighborhoods, I could still smile. I could still be happy.
Even when I lived with people I did not enjoy, I could still be happy. Heavenly Father blesses us with joy when we desire it.
I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It is the only way to be happy.
I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living Church of Christ. I know it and believe it with all my heart. This is Christ's church.
My life will never be the same. I can never go back to who I was and what I used to do because I have changed into someone better. That is the purpose in our lives after all, to grow and change and become better.
Thank you for reading my blog and sending my emails! I appreciated it so much. I loved sharing my journey and life with you here. I enjoyed writing this email to home each week to share. I wish all of you the very best always!
Love you all always!
Sister Teal Zimmerman
I have started a NEW BLOG that I will update regularly as a new returned missionary "RM".
Check it out guys!
Life After the Mission
It says Cavite RM Zimmerman ;-)