Translation: A year and a half is little time to serve the Lord… therefore we will keep serving.
I can’t believe I’m writing this e-mail but I will say that I feel better writing it now than I did when I first came home. As of this past week I have been home from my mission for 6 months.
Well as you can tell, I’ve been wanting to write this e-mail for a while. I started writing it last year, in January, and again in April. Tonight it just felt right. It’s 1 :30 AM here in Provo and I can’t sleep. Next week, on October 14th, marks the year anniversary of when I left everything I had come to know and love. I left my beloved Brasil, my new found family, and a rewarding lifestyle that can only be understood by those who have experienced it. I left something that my soul had yearned for with a strength and desire I have scarcely yet to experience again. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will feel anything else like it.
After reading some of my last e-mails as a missionary, I don’t necessarily have anything new to say. Honestly it was refreshing to go back and feel of the vigor and love I had. Sometimes in the day to day it gets lost. My first purpose of this e-mail, a year after my mission, was to say thank you. Thank you to those who prayed for me and with me. Thank you to those who cried for me and with me. Thank you for those who let me leave so that I could find those who would let me in. Thank you to those who helped pave, pay, and plan the way for my mission. Thank you for those who sent e-mails, letters, thoughts, good vibes, and who took time to read what I was sharing. You all have seen parts of my soul. I mean that in every sense of the word. I try not to exaggerate.
The next purpose of this e-mail is that a year after my mission, I’m doing ok and that I’m still me. Although it took a while. The first three months of being home was HARD. I will not lie. It was better and worse than I expected. God continued to care for me, I still saw His hand every day and for that the transition of home was easy. It was hard relearning English, relearning how to interact with people in a non-gospel way, relearning my name and what it sounded like (Wolfgramm for Brasilians is NOT an easy name to say), hard being by myself, hard eating boring food, hard being away from those I love, hard not walking everywhere, and hard relearning my place in my family. It was HARD. As January approached I left home with more fear than I realized and headed out West to continue back at school. That transition was easier. In the months that followed I used the lessons learned from my mission to motivate me, help me focus, excel in school, and caught glimpses of my purpose. Six months came and I continued experiencing the feelings of life. I had my heart broken by those closest to me. I cried, I laughed, I knocked down my own walls of insecurity and fear, I learned, I developed friendships, I struggled, I overcame.
Now I sit in October. I have found the balance, although I don’t always carry it out in full. God and Jesus helped me take the girl I was, the girl I’ve always been, and merge her with the woman I saw in myself on the mission. They continue helping me see the vision of who I want to be. Sometimes I lose that vision or don’t trust in it enough but They still help me. And while I wish I could return to the places that have become holy in my heart, I know I’m where I need to be. Even while I sit tonight crying as I reread e-mails of my time in Iowa and Brasil, as I sit crying about the injustices, joys, and pains of life, I feel peace. Yes, I am happy with where I am. Yes, for the most part, I am happy with who I am.
Jesus said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”
He also said in the book of John “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
The thought came to me this weekend that while we do live in perilous times, we also live in the fullness of times. We will experience the full range of human emotions. We will experience the full range of trials, tribulations, tests, and tears. We will experience the full range of happiness, hope, help, and healing.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
How grateful I am that my life didn’t end once I returned home from my mission. Some say it has just begun, but I disagree. It is just a new season of life. Just like the season of my mission, just like the season before my mission. It is truly a great time to be alive.