December 10, 2016
Dear family and friends,
Well this could come as a surprise to some, and to others not so much, but I am currently on my way back home to Alaska.
I have been really sick and my health has been deteriorating by the week, so after counseling with the Lord, my parents and my mission president, we decided that it would be best for me end my missionary service here in Oregon and return home. It was not an easy decision because I have loved every minute of my mission, and I am grateful for being able to serve a whole 7 months and dedicate that time to the Lord.
I do not in any way feel like what I am doing is wrong, I know I have served the time that the Lord had predetermined that I serve, and I know that I have touched the hearts of those that I needed to.
I have learned and grown so much these last 7 months, and I am grateful for those whom I have served with and for those I have met, my life will forever be changed because of you.
|Hermana Rodriguez, Hermana Barnes|
This last week and a half with Hermana Rodriguez has been both the hardest, but I have also grown the most in this last week and a half. Hermana Rodriguez has taught me what it means to be truly and genuinely happy, loving and caring, no matter what you are going through. To always turn outward instead of inward. From the moment I met her, I could feel of her love for me, and it's because of her love and strength that I was able to make this decision to return home, and she has supported me every step of the way, and I am grateful for that.
While here on my mission I have learned more about the enabling power of the Atonement and how the sacrifice that Christ made for us, when He suffered for our sins, pains, sickness and afflictions of every kind, are extremely powerful, and that it is real. As I have been sick I have learned to rely more on my Savior and my Heavenly Father, and to turn to him in prayer, and as I have done so I have received the strength and faith that I have needed to finish the time here that God planned for me.
My mission has been the best, and most life changing thing that I have been privileged to do, and I am grateful for that. I know a lot of people think or say that a mission isn't for you, that it's only for the people, but I know that is not true. I truly believe my mission was more for me than for anyone else I have taught or met, because I am the one that has changed and benefited the most.
Thank you again to all those who have supported me in any way and have prayed and fasted for me, I promise they were not in vain, they have given me more support and strength than I would have normally had.
Now I am moving on to the next chapter of my life. I don't know quite yet what all that will entail, but I know I will still go forth sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ because I have seen how much it has blessed my life, my families lives, and now the lives of so many others.
I love you all so much! Thanks again for everything!
Hermana Rebecca Barnes