(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. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

First Names, Old and New Friends AND... Adjusting to Post-Mission Life

Dear Mission Friends,

(I'm not trying to be stingy by sending a group email... I just feel like this is a way that leaves it open for you to not feel obligated to respond to an email if it's sent to everyone...make sense?)

Well, you can officially call me by my first name now.  But it's sort of awkward, so it would be okay to just call me Sister Garvin still. 
Over the course of the last almost 2 weeks of being home I've seen several mission friends, and I kind of choke over first names.  So taking the advice of Sister Jasperson, just avoid first names. :)

I hope that your weeks are going well, and that you are gearing up for the Social Media exchange.  I really want to do something from here that will help with spreading the word on all the good deeds that y'all are doing. If you have any suggestions on how I can be a proactive supporter I'm open! :)

I gave my homecoming reports yesterday.  I would have invited you all, but it's a pretty long flight, and probably not exactly obedient.  Plus, President and Sister Baker would have missed your valiant selves in the mission. :)

Anyway, I will send copies of what I talked on generally; for your reading pleasure.  Not that you have much time for that since it is Monday, and there is limited computer time, and sometimes if costs money to print pages.  Well, you at least have the opportunity to be a part of it. :)

I still feel like I'm living one giant preparation day.  So I'll probably miss the mission more the longer I am away from it.  I wasn't super torn up about it until reality hit, and I was asked to remove my name tag. 

Here are some miracles that have happened since I returned home:
-During my interview with the Stake President asked if he could invite my family in and then offer me a Priesthood blessing.  I was pretty happy about that because I had wanted a blessing for several weeks.  My brother was there, and had just been ordained an elder the week before.  The Stake President asked him to give me the blessing and instructed him in the ways of proper structure, etc... It was a powerful experience for my family and I. It confirmed to us that my brother is prepared to serve a mission.
-The day after I returned, my brother received his mission call.... (Wait What?!?!  How is this already happening?!)
He's going to the best mission in the world.... Nampa Idaho!  It will be the best for him, and we are all super excited.  Blessedly, he is as well. (Tender Mercy!)
-I've seen all 3 of the new temple movies, and was able to do some family names for Sister Jasperson's family.  That was neat.
-Had my deferment over-ridden for BYU-Idaho, and will be utilizing the "Returning Missionary Program" to start school on my off-track.... Meaning that I'll be going back in January (Yeah, I know that I said I didn't think that I'd go back, but President Baker told me that if it made me happy then I should re-consider, and then it was the only thing that I was excited about since being home, and I found out that one of my favorite High School teachers transferred there, and it teaching in my currently selected major, and it felt pretty right, so I decided to go back.... That happened quick...)
-After a week long procrastination, I finally wrote in my journal about all the things that had happened over the course of the returning home situation, and I realized that I actually had done some things with my unplanned life.

It's an interesting experience to not have a plan for every minute of the day.
I thought that I was really converted, and had an unshakable resolve to commit to specific things I would do.  I really have to work hard to make sure that I have morning and evening prayers, and that I have daily, meaningful personal scripture study.  It's a lot more difficult then it was on the mission because there are a lot more distractions. So that's been a struggle of my life.  I have a lot more understanding of why it really is hard for members.  Not that it's an excuse to be busy, but there are a lot more things that are pulling for your attention as a member.  As a missionary there is one purpose.  So when you teach members about having daily personal scripture study, make it a firm commitment, and teach them that what you choose to fill your life with is what will consume your thoughts. To have a life centered on Christ we have to be thinking of him.  So you can fill you life with the words of the prophets contained in the scriptures, or you can fill it with facebook, pinterest, Frozen, cool apps, and music.  It's a pretty clear choice that we have to make.  And we have to make it every single day.

Now you know my life.

I hope that as you each willingly serve in your current capacities you feel the presence of the Holy Ghost in your lives.  I know that your actions when guided by the Spirit are recorded in Heaven.  Although they may be "small and simple" the contribute to greatness.

You are each GREAT!


Sister Amber Garvin
(I can still call myself Sister Garvin because p.176 of PMG in 'How To Begin Teaching' states that "we are all brothers and sisters, therefore, we would like to refer to you as brothers and sisters.")