I have been home 8 months. 8 months of working and going to school and homework and dating. 8 months of trying to figure out my life and what God needs me to do. It has been a roller coaster! I transferred schools, changed my major, got a job, started working at the temple, and took it day by day. In the midst of all of that, I forgot the mission. I forgot that I spent a part of my life in a foreign country. I forgot that I had loads of friends 'just across the pond'. I forgot that I spoke a different language for a third of the mission; one that I didn't learn in the MTC. But the most important thing that I forgot was how to stay close to the Lord. I became the typical 'me' again. I fell right back into the routine. I became focused on me, myself, and I instead of everyone else. I cared more about getting physically fit than staying spiritually fit. The scriptures were put on the shelf and they stayed there for quite a while. Preach My Gospel became the cool new place for all the dust to collect, and I'm pretty sure my journal disappeared completely. Sometimes I came home so late and was so tired that I forgot to even pray before bed. On the mission we taught that doing the small and simple things brought happiness. It's truth! Truth I obviously forgot....and to tell you some more truth, I wasn't happy. Every time I thought about the mission I would start to feel guilty. I began to forget all the great things that happened in England and could suddenly only remember the things I hadn't done right-the things I regretted. I asked to go out with the sister missionaries all the time and never got a call. I applied for a Mission Ready camp and again never got a call. I thought they must have also known the truth about me. These thoughts slowly became a weight that I held on my shoulders. Now and again I would see people I served around or with and it made me hate myself even more. Satan is good at what he does. He uses our weaknesses to destroy us. He twists things and wants us to believe we aren't good enough. But if we put our faith in the Lord, Satan can have no power over us.
I'm not sure what changed to get me back to where I am now. A lot of things have happened in the last little while that have been really good. My friend Alice Maynard who served in my hometown went back to England because her mission was over. She talked about how she wished she could stay in Arizona and how much she would miss it. Then my little brother got home from his mission. I woke up to him reading his scriptures and studying the Ensign. I found my mission journal again, and I read the entire thing. And last night I met a girl who served in the Czech Republic and she shared her story of when their mission received the first ever Slovakian Book of Mormons. It reminded me of when we got our first Slovakian Book of Mormons in England and how amazing that day was. After that I just started remembering everything else from the mission...everything good from the mission. There will probably always be a few things I regret, or things I wish I would've done better...but missionaries aren't perfect. And I didn't do my best every single day, but when do we ever do our best every single day? It's important to remember to keep moving forward. To keep your faith strong and trust in the Lord. He has a plan for each of us, and He will help us every step of the way as long as we allow Him to.
Looking back, England was a great part of my life. It has forever changed who I am as a person and will always be my second home. My family is there, the people I love are there, and I miss it everyday. Before I left on my mission I had a countdown until I left for England. I think I felt more nervous each time that thing had one less day on it! But now I am going restart that countdown and instead of being nervous I am going to be excited every time it goes down another day. 304 days until I return to England!! I.cannot.wait.