I feel like this email needs to be posted in its original entirety, so here you go.
HOLY COW, I CAN’T BELIEVE I ONLY HAVE A WEEK LEFT. I’m flying out next Tuesday. It’s so hard to believe that this has come to an end. I thought that somehow my mission would last for forever. But it has gone by so fast, and I will soon have to take the nametag off and be just a normal civilian again. It’s terrifying but exciting all at the same time!
This week has been rough. But as always, there’s something good that happens every week, no matter how bad it is.
Monday, I had breakfast with Sister Jarnagin and her kids from my first area! It was so good to see them! Oh my goodness, the kids have gotten so big since I last saw them. But Sister Jarnagin has always been one of my favorites. She said when I get married she’s going to send me a nerf gun because “sometimes you just need to shoot your husband!” Ha! After that we drove up to Idaho City, which is in the farthest reaches of the mission (It’s 40 miles away) because we had miles we needed to burn. It was pretty cool, it’s the only place in the mission that I haven’t been to, so it was fun seeing it! The population of that town is 400. It’s funny.
On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the STL’s. I had a ton of fun! I was with Sister Pahulu. I love that girl to death! She’s Tongan, so she’s a ton of fun. We had a lot of fun together and it was fun seeing her area. But Sister Francies had a bad day because one of our less-actives in one of our wards told her that she was a bad missionary and that she should just go home. I’m glad I wasn’t there because I probably would have flipped out and destroyed something. No one messes with my companions! But she hit rock bottom for a few days and was scaring me a little bit.
Wednesday… yeah. We didn’t go out for most of the day because Sister Francies was having a mental breakdown. But we made it to our lesson with Sheri! We taught her the Gospel of Jesus, and she loved it. She’s read so much of the Book of Mormon already! She’s in Mosiah now, and it’s only been a month since we gave her the Book of Mormon. She is so amazing! I also just realized that Wednesday was my 18 month mark! So I’ve officially served for 18 months.
On Thursday I ended up going to the urgent care. I found out that I have an infection, which explains why I’ve had a high fever for the past 3 weeks. They gave me antibiotics, and I’ve already started feeling better. But we contacted some referrals later.
Editor’s note: how LaPriel manages to get sick all the time without realizing it, I don’t know. She was like that in high school too. She must be, like, Superwoman or something.
Friday we had Zone Meeting. It was a good meeting! It made me sad though, since it was my last zone meeting. Then we had to go to the mission office because Sister Francies had to talk to President. Then we visited Dixie, then had dinner with a cute little Japanese lady from one of our wards. She made us curry and it was soooo good!
Saturday was Independence Day festivities! The stake put on a pancake breakfast, and it was really fun. Then we had lunch with some members in the Shamrock ward. Sister Francies accidentally ate something with Nutella in it , so she ended up having an allergic reaction, so we stayed home the rest of the day. Yep. Sister Francies has had a rough week.
Sunday was busy, as usual. We had a really good lesson in Relief Society in the Meadow Lark ward about fasting. It was honestly the best lesson I’ve ever heard in church! Then we had dinner with Dixie, and then visited the Smith’s. Brother Smith is less active, but his wife is very active. Brother Smith is from Louisiana, and is so funny! I’m sad that I’m not going to be able to get to know him better.
Since this could be my last email, I wanted to share my testimony with you all.
I want you to know that I know without a doubt that this gospel and church is true! I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and that they love us unconditionally. Jesus Christ knows each of us perfectly because He suffered for us and died for us. He’s felt every pain, heartache, and illness we’ve ever felt. Because of that He is our best friend and loves us with a perfect love. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did indeed appear to the boy Joseph Smith and called him as a prophet to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ in it’s perfect fullness. I know that the priesthood was restored through Joseph Smith and that we can all be blessed because of it. We can be together forever as families because of the priesthood. I have been healed through the priesthood and have seen many miracles because of the priesthood. I know that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God, and I know that the Book of Mormon truly testifies of Jesus Christ. You can indeed come closer to the Savior by reading the Book of Mormon! I love this church and the gospel so much. I know that they are true without a doubt! If it weren’t true, I wouldn’t have wasted a year and a half of my life preaching falsehoods. I don’t know who I would be without the gospel, but I know that my life would be dark and meaningless without it. I have worked so hard to bring everyone I can to the knowledge of the restored gospel and to the knowledge of their Savior. And how great has been my joy! Yes, I have experienced many trials and have cried myself to sleep a lot, but I still feel so much joy and am so grateful that I’ve been able to devote this time to the Lord and to serving His children. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything else!
I would challenge you to pray to know if the gospel is true. And if you already know, pray again! And for those of you who are not of my faith, I challenge you to learn more about it. This is such a precious thing to me, and I want everyone to know about it! Visit mormon.org, ask me questions, or even talk to the missionaries if you want to! You can never have too much of the gospel. We should be constantly be rediscovering it and learning about it. The gospel is about learning and progressing. We should be constantly doing so. There’s always something new to learn!
Thank you so much for all of the love and support you’ve all given me on my mission. It’s made the road a lot easier, knowing that so many people have got my back. It’s seriously made all of the difference!
I love you all so much and can’t wait to see you again!
Love, Sister Bawden