As I've entered this transfer, the thought that Sister P. will be
my final mission companion has crossed my mind. This has caused me to reflect on all the companions I've had on my mission.
But let me start with my thesis. If anybody out there has read "Bright Side" by a woman whose name escapes me, I love you. It's a book that perhaps didn't change my life but made it a whole lot easier. It's essentially an essay opposing optimism but essentially is all about being honest. If I had to sum up her book in one sentence, which I have to because I only have ninety minutes here, I would write: "It's okay to not be okay." Yes optimism is essential for happy living but you don't have to lie just to maintain your happy camper status.
I realize I haven't written the most positive emails home. I haven't been okay many a time throughout my mission, and I believe that was okay. But I hope the idea that my mission is the most positive experience I've ever had comes across in my emails.
Yes there are hard bits, yes there are rough patches, horrendous things can happen on missions but God in all His mercy and grace turns every single one of those moments and turns them on their head. Good comes out of every second of a mission.
A good example that I am not the center of is my family. My dad is number five of six boys. Every single one of them served missions in all sorts of places. Now, years later, they're all on different paths. While they might not be the same person when they were representatives of Jesus Christ, even though they might not now agree with the doctrine they taught others, never once have I heard them say the words: "I regret serving a mission." I don't think they ever will.
This being said, I want to add that the positive effects of negative things is never immediate. A lot of my emails have been sad because they were in the moment. But I can look back on every minute of my mission and rattle off a list of positive impacts it's had on me.
Cue the companions.
Sister P: She reminded me that there still are die hard, grappling onto the American Dream for dear life positive thinkers in the world. I'm obviously more of an Arthur Miller than I am Sister P, but she helps me see the good in a lot. She never gives up, never lets loose. If I'm tired and I'm laying on the floor trying to find the desire to even floss my teeth let alone go out the door, she's transferring my load from the washer to the dryer or making a meal for me or doing whatever she can to help me. Then and only then I find the motivation to get up, and hope in a better day.
Sister K: She helped me not take myself so seriously. Yes laughing in the face of adversity is still not my strong point but Sister K. helped me loosen up a little by laughing and joking for me.
Sister S: We only had a week together but she taught me more than just Portuguese. She reminded me how vitally important it is to be obedient, graceful, and polite. I wish I had more time to apply what she taught me in that week.
Sister J: She has taught me more than she'll ever know. She taught me a lot about humility. She's been surrounded by missionaries that were younger than her but she's always been the junior companion. It wasn't until we were companions that she had the experience of being a co senior companion. And even then she was willing to hear everything I had to say, and gladly accepted my help when it came to learning the language. She never treated anyone like a nineteen-year-old, everyone is her friend and equal.
Sister M: She trained me a second time. She threw my listening skills into a crucible and molted my diligence. I think the theme that I learned was: "The opposite of love is lazy, so quit being lazy Sister Goldsberry." Now, not even four months later, I have a blazing hot perseverance that could cook rice.
Sister M: She showed me what real missionary work was. It isn't doing THE best, talking to the most people, or riding your bike the farthest, but doing YOUR best. And your best still pays off. As proved by our friend that was found and baptized in the last two and a half weeks of our time together.
Sister G: This sister goes around telling the mission I taught her how to be bold but I'll tell you that her goals every week were the boldest of the bold. She memorized scriptures in Spanish for crying out loud. She made goals to improve our already tight companionship. She taught me to make goals to improve already good things so that they could become great things.
Sister D: She was the humblest missionary. She was so humble it rubbed off on you. Whenever I made a mistake or forgot something she would just say: "It's okay. It's a miracle in the making!" I've never been more honest with a companion than with Sister D because she was so humble I knew she would never judge me but rather, be honest with me too. She taught me how to be virtuous.
Sister O: Man it's so weird to be the same transfer my trainer was when she trained me. She is more diligent than I realized back then! I could not do all she did. She put in her all every day, never thought about herself for a second, and is my role model to this day.
These are my companions. These are my sisters. I am no longer the only girl in my family. I have ten sisters! (I forgot my MTC companion Sister B but I'll save that for another day.) I love them all.
Make room at our house for ten more daughters, Mama!
I am grateful to Jesus Christ every day for accomplishing the Atonement, restoring His church through Joseph Smith, and crossing all of our paths as we represent Him in Japan.
They were both SBO's at the same time for their respective high schools (Murray and Hillcres) and even recognized each other from an SBO conference they attended, and now they're companions in Tokyo Japan.