(Amber Garvin from Provo, Utah served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as 'Mormons') in the Richmond, Virginia area (Now called the "Virginia Chesapeake Mission"). 'Sister' Missionaries are able to serve at age 19 for a period of 18 months. They leave their homes, families and educational pursuits to love and serve their fellowman, and to teach about how families can be together forever. All are invited to follow her missionary experiences.)

*I have now returned home to Utah and will continue to share the experiences of being a returned missionary. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013 - Willliamsburg, Virginia

I didn't budget my time very well this week, so I apologize I am including an exerpt from a letter I sent back to my Bishop (Bishop Nyman) about the Book of Mormon and the talk he gave a few weeks ago.
"Our mission president has challenged us to re-read the Book of Mormon as a mission at a pace of about 7 pages per day to get through it in 12 weeks.  With this emphasis on the Book of Mormon I have learned so much pertaining to my personal growth, as well as how to help others grow.

"Abide With Me"  (AltusFineArt.com)
Since there are so many people in the "South" that are deeply religious and relate to the Bible it is sometimes difficult to talk about the Book of Mormon. I want to start with the Bible and then work towards the Book of Mormon.  But something that I am still learning, and love learning, is that the reason that I came on a mission is to share the Book of Mormon.  The world, and a vast amount of people already have the Bible, and the unique message that we share is centered on Jesus Christ and the other testament of His ministry in the Americas."

"It is amazing to see the miracles that come from the Book of Mormon, and the role that it plays in every persons' conversion.  Nobody can truly be converted without the Book of Mormon having a role in their lives."

I know that it is (for lack of better words) dumb to quote myself, but I just did. And I am satisfied with that decision.  :)

Now my letter is longer with just a copy and paste! ;)
I've got it all figured out. :)

I learned something important this week; about one of the reasons that Heavenly Father called me on a mission.  Not about why I chose to serve. (This is one of those lessons that you had no idea you would learn until after you are already deep into an experience---such as a mission.)

Like all the lessons I learn and share, this is the run-on story:

Remeber that one time when I was a teenager, and I had no idea who I was, or what I wanted, and if God cared about me?
Well, at some point, I learned really well how to hide from things: Myself, others, the World... Etc... Then I was not a happy person.
Then I realized how important it is to make Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ a central part of my life, and I got back on the right track and found out who I was, what I wanted, and that God absolutely cared about me.

That came with a life.  Which included going to college.
Which was truly WONDERFUL.
Then I came home and forgot what I wanted to do with my life.
Then I made a choice that would forever change me called "Coming on a mission". That choice fixed the flat tire of my life and I was able to get back on the road going about 2 million miles infinity.
Then I came on a mission, and Heavenly Father taught me that although I had found happiness, and joy, and was doing all the right things before--I was still hiding.
Then He taught me that it is safe not to hide.  And that it is okay to hurt.
Then I read a quote that said "if there were no sorrow in death, there could be no joy in life." (True to the Faith; Death)
Then I cried almost at least once a week because I discovered that when you aren't hiding you get all emotional and stuff. 

And this lesson could only be learned through this experience.

That's the story.

I am so grateful that when we are called on our own personal missions that we go into it with certain expectations, or goals, but that Heavenly Father always has other lessons for us to learn that we never expected.
It's great.

Now everyone knows my life, and some of life's greatest mysteries have been solved.

This letter is sort of a ramble.  But that is what I learned this week in force. :)

Also, I learned again that I love my family, and that time is precious.  I've already been out 4 months.

Take a moment for that to sink in..... I hope your jaw dropped.
It still hasn't really hit me.... But really, wow.

Time is a precious thing.

I'm glad that I will have time forever with the people that I love the most!

Love always,
Sister Amber Bennett Garvin