I have tears in my eyes just from writing the subject of my email this week. This has truly been the greatest year of my life. I can't believe that it has been one year since the announcement was made regarding missionary work. ONE YEAR. It has been the fastest year of my life, but also the greatest year of my life. All day Saturday, I kept thinking about how I felt this time last year. I remember watching conference by myself in my bed, and then hearing President Monson say that girls could serve at 19. I immediately burst into tears because I knew I had to go. I had so many doubts and feelings of inadequacy, but inside, I knew that I had to do it. Mom called me and we just sobbed on the phone together, because she knew I had to go. I called Bishop and asked him if I could meet with him to talk about this, and of course he set up an appointment for later that night. I went over to Ashley's house, and I was SUCH a mess all day long. I'm so grateful I have such an amazing best friend to let me cry to her. (Love you Ash!) But I remember talking with Bishop that night, him pretty much telling me that he felt I needed to go, him advising me to read Alma 32, and giving me a blessing. I read Alma 32 every night. I prayed harder than I ever have in my life. A mission consumed my every thought. That next Tuesday, when I woke up, I heard the words, "Jazz, you are going to serve a mission," in my head. There was no doubt about it. Even though I wasn't the most qualified girl in the world, I knew that I had my faith in my Savior and my Heavenly Father, and with them, I would be able to do this.
Since then, I have learned more than I can even explain. This past year has been a whirlwind, and I can't believe that I've already been serving for six months of it. Waiting for six months with my mission call was absolute torture, but the past six months I've had here have made every minute of waiting worth it. Starting to tear up again... But my mission has changed my life. Already. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve. Just over a year ago, a mission hadn't really crossed my mind, but when I had the chance, I heeded the counsel of the prophet and went. I will forever be grateful for this time I have to serve the Lord. This experience has already blessed my life in more ways than I can describe. I'm so grateful to be here.
But honestly, how incredible was General Conference? I loved every word of it. Every single talk applied to me, our companionship, or our investigators and less-active members. I've really been studying how to receive revelation the past few days, and let me tell you, I was receiving revelation! Haha. So many new thoughts popped into my head, and I know it was entirely from the Lord. I'm so thrilled for what's going to happen this week. Sister Jensen and I were just on fire when we left the chapel yesterday, ready to get to work. I love how we're all pumped and ready to get going, and then one of us is getting transferred this weekend... What a shame! But you know, it's all going to work out how it needs to!
On a very unrelated note, we celebrated our six month anniversary this past week. Six months, can you believe it? I cried all day because of the fact that we only have a year left. It honestly was a very hard day for me, because I never want to stop being a missionary. It gives me the desire to keep working hard and make the most out of this experience though. We had such a great day Thursday though. We went over to the Quinlan's house (a family in our ward) and had a little fiesta to celebrate, complete with Mexican food and fake mustaches. It seriously was so much fun. The people in the ward are so beyond kind to us, always doing their best to make sure we are doing well. I am so grateful to be here with them. What an amazing six months it has been. I have learned so many things and grown so much. I was reading through my journal and it is amazing to see the difference that has taken place in me. I owe that entirely to the Lord and to my mission.
Our teaching pool is growing unmanageable again. It's so awesome. We invited Rebecca's mom, Patricia, to baptism last week and she wasn't sure how she felt about it. However, this week, "it's been nagging" at her all week and she is "99.99% sure" that she is going to get baptized. There are still a lot of things that she needs to change, but she is making incredible progress. She knows this church is true and she is ready to take that next step. Keep Patricia Walters in your prayers. She has the most amazing faith in the world! I have learned so much from her and I know that she will be baptized soon.
Here's a cool story. We were tracting, looking for service, and we came across a lady named Annie Bell Taylor who was raking her yard. So of course, we started to help. She wanted nothing to do with Mormons, but said we could help her, as long as we didn't talk about religion. So we agreed and got to work. We helped her for about 30 minutes, then went inside. She was beyond grateful for our help and even asked us, "So say I was someone that you were going to teach about Mormons. What would you teach me?" Hahaha she was TOTALLY interested. So we ended up teaching her the first discussion and even set up a time to come back and see her. If that's not a total change of heart, I don't know what is. SERVICE IS AMAZING. It does so much. I am so grateful President Hanks has been asking us to focus on service lately!
This email has been a little different than all my other ones, but I just want you all to know how beyond grateful I am to be serving a mission. This time that the Lord has given me to serve has been the greatest blessing in my life. I know that this is exactly where I need to be. Time is going by far too quickly, but I am doing my best to make the most of it. I love every single day of my mission. I really do. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned in patience, humility, diligence, obedience, charity, and faith. The Lord has taught me so many things over the past year, and I could never express my gratitude for that. I feel like I'm just rambling, but I love this church. I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father. I love my family. I love this gospel. I love being a missionary.
Thank you for your love and support. I'm so grateful for you all. Thank you thank you thank you. I'll see you this time next year (definitely mixed feelings on that one!!!) LOVES.