sister sadie leavitt,
you have hereby been called to serve
as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. you have been assigned to labor in the Missouri St. Louis Mission.
two years ago, (january 2, 2013) i started my journey as a missionary. i could never imagine the struggle, the growth, the blessings, the joy, the disconnection, the love, the awkwardness, the stretching, the contentment, the worry, the learning, the teaching, the leisure, the closeness, the frustration, or the peace that came with my special calling. i was naive. i had grown up in a bubble. i thought i knew what struggle was. i thought i knew what the Atonement was. i thought i knew what the Gospel was. i thought i knew what poverty was. i thought i knew so much...
i didn't know.
after i ripped off the band-aid and headed into the doors of the mtc, i walked down a hall, into a room where i was asked a bunch of questions and my black name tag was pinned to my dress. i wasn't sadie anymore. for the next 18 months my name would be sister leavitt-- a girl i didn't know. i was led into my classroom where i met my teacher, companion, and district. the people i would spend the next three weeks with.
i learned SO much at the mtc. i loved every bit of the mtc. except the food. i cried the sunday before we left for st. louis. but all good things must come to an end and the best things had to start. after our three weeks were over, we said goodbye to half of our district and headed to missouri to become "real missionaries."
over the next 17 months i had 11 more companions; 2 mission presidents; 6 areas; met hundreds of people that didn't want to hear about the gospel; met 12 people that did; made tons of new friends in other missionaries, members, investigators, and converts; went to tons of meetings; read tons of gospel related material trying to learn more about the principles of the gospel; and grew into sister leavitt.
|President and Sister Clark|
|while i was still a young kid missionary in my very first area.|
|one of my most favorite mission pictures of all time.|
|the departing missionaries the day i went home.|
|President and Sister Morgan|
being a missionary has definitely been my favorite calling thus far. i felt God's love more as a missionary than i ever have in my entire life. i learned to recognize the millions of tender mercies God gives each of us every day. i learned the importance of covenants. i learned how to truly repent. i learned to love. i learned how to do my own laundry. i learned to listen. i learned how to recognize the Spirit's subtle promptings. i prayed more earnestly than ever before. i learned the importance of leaders. i learned to love change. i saw myself change. i saw other people change. i witnessed conversion.
i love the gospel of Jesus Christ. i know Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. i know Joseph Smith was called as a prophet of God and that we have a living prophet today-- President Thomas S. Monson. i know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. i know that prayers are answered. i love my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.
needless to say, my mission was life changing for me. there isn't a day that i don't think about it in some way. coming home was one of the hardest but best things i've ever had to do. i had to leave the identity i grown to know and love to become a girl i didn't know anymore-- sadie. it has taken a while for me to figure out who the new sadie is (heck, i'm still figuring it out...). but i wouldn't trade my experiences for the world. i am truly grateful for the opportunity i had to be a missionary. but--
the best is yet to come.