Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 75: Back to the Beginning

Well dear family and friends, we have arrived at my last email home. Can you believe it? I can't. I remember when I received Kelsey's (my cousin's) last email in April and I couldn't believe she was already done. But hey, now it's been another 8 months since then. Oh how time flies!

For today's email, I'll briefly tell you what happened in the last week, but then I want to focus on things that I have learned in my whole mission, because I feel that will be a good way to wrap everything up with a bow quite nicely. 

This week was really crazy, but the last few have been just the same haha. Especially because pday was on Tuesday, it barely felt like we had a full week. But here's what happened:
-Exchanges with Sister Meireles (another Brazilian :) ) on Wednesday. I love her! She was so patient as we...
-practiced for the Christmas Fireside, and we changed What Child is This (Dad will know what I'm talking about) to Away in a Manger as a cello trio with me on the piano. Whew! Much better. 
-Sister Bronovski felt really sick on Thursday, so we just weekly planned because she and Elder Rodrigues will need it (Elder Raymond is getting transferred, and they'll have a "verdinho" here!), and we stayed at home.
-So I packed. A lot. And I sent a box home that you should get tomorrow. It's full of books and stuff. It's heavy hahaha
-Last zone meeting on Friday. I had to bear my tearful testimony, but it was so good. I learned a lot from that meeting!
-We had some awesome lessons with Karine (who's name is Carina actually hahahahahahaha), Fabio and Leo (who will be baptized on Jan. 2), Soraia, Vania's family, and Jamila, who is just amazing. 
-I love missionary work
-I worked a lot on My Plan. I'll explain.
-Church! I didn't get to bear my testimony. But Elder Raymond did, because he is getting transferred and they remembered him but not me. I guess that's what happens when your last Sunday is the same as the Bishop's last Sunday. *sigh*
-1st Christmas Fireside! It was AWESOME.

And that's about it. 

So MyPlan is this really cool new program the Church created for departing missionaries. I don't know if Calvin would have done it because I just got it in my email a week or two ago. It's great though--it's a program full of videos and quotes from general authorities and other returned missionaries, and it makes you think about your life and how you will apply the things you learned on your mission to the rest of your life. So I've used it to record some life goals that I have, plans on how to continue my spiritual habits, my "one year vision" and things like that. Currently I'm working on the "Dating and Marriage" section. Watch out Dad, they tell us it's better to get married sooner rather than later (as long as it's to the right person and in the temple :) ). Enjoyyyy.

And the Christmas Fireside yesterday was really special, and the Spirit was really strong. I love being a part of it. Tonight there is one up in Cambridge (Revere actually if anyone knows anything about the Boston area), and so we're going up to Boston for my last pday just because we can :) We have some very talented people in our mission, by the way. Not including me.

This week will be just about as crazy as last week. Today is pday, tomorrow we will visit a lot of people one more time, Wednesday we have a few appointments and we'll pack and clean and go to transfer meeting. After that meeting, I'll stay at the mission home for 2 nights and go to the temple and stuff with all of the other departing missionaries, then I will fly home on Friday. Craziness. So I'll talk to you all more then :)

So here's the important stuff.

I can't possibly wrap my mission up in just a few words, but I want to talk about 18 things that I learned on my mission. Some are funny, some are spiritual, but I am still so grateful for each and every thing that I have learned. 18 things for 18 (almost) months, right? Sorry if they are kind of random, I never figured out a good order to do them.

Things I learned on my mission:
1. Portuguese and Cape Verdean Kriolo
2. ALL things are possible when we have God's help. Even learning a language spoken in only one tiny country of the world.
3. The Lord makes up all the difference, as long as we do our best. Then we will receive all of His help.
4. How to break into a house using a credit card (I only did that to get into our apartment or the staircase of 3 family houses, I promise)
5. Always lock your top bolt if you don't want people to break in.
6. How to cook Brazilian rice and beans, brigadeiro, etc....
7. The more questions we have, the more we can learn. That is why we encourage and should seek to have questions! But questions not to doubt, but to desire more knowledge.
8. I did not need to have a special calling like a Sister Training Leader or a trainer to fulfill my personal purpose as a missionary
9. Progression is up to us--if we want to be and do better, the Lord will help us to progress as we do our part!
10. Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles!
11. Everything about Cape Verde. Ask me the names of all 10 islands, I gotchu.
12. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven!!
13. Making goals shows God the faith we have in our abilities, and, more importantly, in HIS abilities! I used to hate making goals. But I love it now. It's a wonderful way to progress.
14. Listening with the intent to understand really is the key to understand!
15. Marshall's is just about the greatest store on the planet earth. And Alex and Ani make the best bracelets.
16. Life is happier when you focus outward.
17. Change is 100% possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I can testify of that from personal experience. He can make us better than we can make ourselves.
18. We are never done learning!

I am so beyond grateful for my mission and the things I have learned and the people I have met and the person I have become. I will never regret this time of my life, because it has been the greatest thing I have EVER done (so far). 

I love the Lord Jesus Christ and I am so grateful for Him and all that He has done for me and for all of us. I am especially grateful for Him at this time of Christmas, and I am grateful for the blessing I have to be with my family this Christmas too :)

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church upon the earth today. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord and he really restored the church in exactly the way Christ intended His church to be. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. We can grow closer to Him as we read it.

I know so many other things, but I cannot say or express them all here. Just know that this is my firm testimony, and I will not deny it. Like Mormon says in 3 Nephi 5, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. And I will continue to be one for the rest of my life. 

I love you all. I will talk to you all soon!!!
For the last time,
Sister Rachel Knutti

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