4 areas, 8 companions, 18 months. Quite the adventure.
The past 7 months have been spent in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where everyone owns a truck and people actually wear blue jeans, cowboy boots, bolos and cowboy hats to church. During the winter time you have to plug your truck in at night to keep the diesel lines from freezing up. The previous 7 months were spent in my beloved Cottonwood stake where I was tried and tested, where the people loved the church or hated it. It was a well-off stake that was as humble as they come. A short 6 weeks previously I spent in the East Millcreek stake. Although time was short, the people were kind and I learned a lot. And of course my first 3 months of being a missionary was spent in the Parleys stake. The highlight of that was my wonderful trainer and the wonderful people who welcomed us as we whitewashed in.
Sister Unrast, Sister Brown, Sister Talbert, Sister Britton, Sister Masih (twice!), Sister Carlson, Sister James and Sister Kennedy.
There aren't words adequate to explain these past 18 months. My mission was the hardest thing I've ever done. It's also the most unexplainable. It is also the best decision that I could have made for my future. My mission has changed everything about me. It has made me love myself! It has converted me to the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ! It has made me have an eternal perspective. It has given me so many life long friends. My mission has began my path of eternal discipleship. I finally feel like I am living my baptismal covenant to take Jesus' name upon me. I have learned that it is through obedience that I receive the choicest blessings and miracles. How can I ever thank my Mom, my Dad, Kamee, Elder Nathan Dodd or Nicole for supporting me? How can I ever thank my family and friends for supporting me, writing me and praying for me? How can I ever thank my Savior for his infinite sacrifice? How can I ever thank my Father in Heaven for supporting me in a decision I did not want to make? How did he know that I needed my mission? My convert, Mills, once had a dream that going on a mission saved my life...how did she know?
My dear brothers and sisters, my mission truly did save my life. I love my Heavenly Father and my Jesus. "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" (Alma 29:1). I came on my mission to cry repentance and I leave with no regrets. I know that my Savior suffered for me, died for me, and rose from the dead for me. This is the truth that I have shared for 18 months and that I will continue sharing for the rest of my life. The gospel is restored! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, once again established on the earth preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and contains the fullness of the gospel. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.