Halfway through my email time, I get called downstairs by the doctor. I go down into his office and he starts telling me how the treatment for what I have will take months, we live in a third world country with horrible medical care, and that I can't really live a missionary schedule because of it. Reality sets in and he tells me there are three options. Either I choose to go home to get better and rest up before I start school in the fall, or I stay here for two weeks and they can't figure out whats wrong with me and they send me home, or they send me back to the field and I just go on feeling the same way I do now except it will probably get worse. I was in tears. I never realized it could or would go this far. But at the end of the day, I know that I'm not well enough to be a full-time regular missionary. I feel sick when I go outside. I'm sick. I can't work like a missionary should because I'm physically unable. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. He told me to pray about it and get back to him.
I left his office by myself to walk back upstairs and Elder K, a senior missionary in charge of the MRC, sees me crying and stops me. He pulls me into his office and has me tell him everything the doctor said. I keep crying. He tells me the same thing and tries to comfort me but I'm just in turmoil. He tells me I need to pray about it. But I did. The night before, Sister Delgado and I sang hymns, and I prayed the hardest I've ever prayed in my whole life. I felt something, but I was too stubborn to admit it. I denied it and went on thinking I'm going back to Legazpi. I straight up lied to Sister Delgado when she asked me how I felt after the prayer. I fought it SO hard. I was a nuisance. But the Spirit softened my heart in the meeting with Elder K and I was kind of gripping things.
I can't deny the peace and comfort I had felt the night before when I asked our Father in Heaven what His will was for me. I finally told Elder K of that experience and we talked through it and I decided that I'm going home. The decision to go home is harder to make than the decision to stay. I would've never wanted this. I wanted to serve for 18 months, but the thing is, this isn't my mission. It's the Lord's. He's only asking one year from me. I will never be able to deny the feelings and the comfort I felt as I prayed to Him and as things have come together.
But even with such a spiritual influence, I got scared and doubted myself. President Guanzon called me and we talked. I asked him if I could come back and finish my mission and maybe work in the office or something if I had to. He said we could figure something out. I go back to my email thinking I'm going back to Legazpi. Then Elder K comes up to me with an email from President Guanzon that says I'm going home. I cry again and I'm freaking out. Elder K simply said something along the lines of how I can't keep going back and forth and I need to make a decision. That's when I asked for a priesthood blessing.
We go into Elder K's office and he gives me a blessing. The first thing he says in my blessing is how my Father in Heaven and Savior love me. The Spirit filled the room. He goes on speaking and says that my answer will be found in my patriarchal blessing. He gives one of the most beautiful blessings I've ever received and closes. Of course I immediately run to my room and pray again and read my patriarchal blessing. I have never cried so hard in my whole life. Sister Delgado walks into our room and asks me what is going on. I tell her through sobs and we both look at my patriarchal blessing just laying on my bed. I already know my answer. I had read about halfway through my blessing at this point, but I already knew what the answer was. My answer is found at the end of my blessing. I quoted it to Sister Delgado without even reading it and I felt the strongest peace in my heart. The Spirit was so strong. At that point, I just submitted. I know this is God's will. You can't fight His will.
I'm sick of being afraid of what people will think when I go home. I'm sick of caring what other people think at all. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have given everything I have to my mission. The Lord is proud of me. I have served and completed the mission that the Lord wanted me to serve here in the Philippines. Now, I'll just go home and I'll never stop being a disciple of Jesus Christ and I'll never stop sharing the Gospel because I have been truly converted in the past year. I'm never leaving. God has a plan. I know, for one reason or another, I need to be home now. This is just my new mission call.
The MRC has been a blessing in that I've been able to get a grips more and be able to understand what's actually going to happen. I've been able to do a few sessions in the temple and spend a lot of time in the scriptures. General Conference was the icing on the cake. Everything is just giving me peace since that day I decided. I know this is God's plan. I'm ready to just submit my will to His and focus on just that.
At this point we're just waiting for the country to release my visa and passport so that I can fly home.
Thank you to everyone for your love and support throughout my mission. I've absolutely loved my time in the Philippines and all of the things I've learned here. I've fallen in love with these people and I've changed so much here. I love my Savior and my Father in Heaven and I'm beyond grateful that I did get a year to be a missionary for Them.
My life is completely different since I last emailed. So much has changed.
It started out on Tuesday morning getting a text from Sister Guanzon telling me to pack everything and that they were sending me to the MRC. The MRC is in Manila, the "Missionary Recovery Center" and it's the only one in the world. Basically when missionaries are sick here in the Philippines, they get sent to the MRC to do testing and treatment to help them (ya know, because the medical care here is less than satisfactory). So I packed. And waited. I didn't here anything else until I bugged the AP's and they told me they were bringing Sister Delgado to my apartment that night and that we would be going to the MRC together. She has some medical problems going on right now as well. When Sister Delgado got to our apartment, she told me our flight was scheduled for Thursday morning.
So Wednesday I went on exchanges with Sister Haag. She's from California and she's one of the best missionaries I've ever met. She was very patient with my sickness and my inability to work very much. We talked a lot and it was an incredible exchange. She taught me a lot of things that I needed to hear at that time.
We got picked up early Thursday morning by the office elders and went to the airport. Worst airport experience ever. We go through security and everything and are just waiting, when they announce over the speaker that our flight has been cancelled. Due to weather. So everyone is freaking out and we wade through a sea of Filipinos to get to the desk to reschedule our flight. It was insane. We somehow managed to get them to allow Elder Dalit to come in and fix our flight even though they're typically not allowed to come in. Sister Delgado may or may not have pretended she couldn't speak Tagalog to get that to happen... haha. So, after LOTS of waiting, we finally get a flight booked for Friday afternoon. We spend the rest of the day in the air conditioning in the mission office and sleeping in the Daraga sisters' apartment.
Friday we get to the airport and guess what... our flight is delayed. The 2:25 flight became a 5:15 flight. Welcome to the Philippines. But, we met a family of members in the airport. They are from South Jordan I believe and the dad works in Manila in the embassy and it was so cool to meet them and actually speak in English for once. It was such a good conversation talking about all of the culture differences and quirks of the Philippines. Finally we landed in Manila and we ate at COLDSTONE. Yeah. I am deprived. Our driver, Pilo, was very grumpy during the drive to the MRC so that was no fun. We got to the MRC at about 9:30 and we meet all of the missionaries there. Elder and Sister Kasteler are the senior couple running the place. Right when we get there, Sister K sits us down and gives us a muffin. I'm just thinking "I like this place" haha. not much else happened, I just had culture shock from being in civilization, and we slept.
Saturday we got to go to the temple to do service. We folded laundry in the basement for about two hours, went back to the MRC and ate chili, then went back to the temple to do an endowment session. It's been almost a year and it was the greatest thing of my whole life. I. love. the. temple. I never realized how blessed I was to have a temple 20 minutes from my house all throughout growing up.
Sunday we went to church in a ward under Quezon City Mission. It was the most spiritual sacrament meeting ever. There were incredible testimonies and I was bawling through the whole thing. The members were so kind and sweet even though they didn't even know us. We got to watch a little part of General Conference later that day and it was INCREDIBLE. President Eyering's opening talk was absolutely incredible and I definitely receive lots of answers to questions.
The MRC is an incredibly spiritual experience in itself. I've learned so much and I've met some incredible people. We're just trying to figure out my migraines and letting me rest. I'm very grateful to be here, it's definitely part of God's plan for me. I love the Philippines and I love being a missionary. I have complete trust in God that it will all work out. I've been given some incredible priesthood blessings and some amazing counsel. I'm grateful for this trial, because I've learned so much and grown so much. I'm incredibly blessed to have Sister Delgado here with me experiencing all of this. That's definitely a tender mercy.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Never forget that God is in charge, and everything will work out!