Monday, October 3, 2016

Wake me up when September Ends

Well, ladies and gents. I'm sitting here staring at my computer screen, not really quite sure what to say, seeing as I'll be seeing a large majority of you in four days, unless you don't love me enough to be at the airport at 11:15pm (; Haha just teasing. 
So I've decided that I couldn't put it into words any better than the great Billie Joe Armstrong already did, "Wake me up when September ends." 
September's over, and I'll be home Friday night. 
Obviously, I still have a few days left to be a stellar missionary, and that's just what I plan to do, amidst all the packing and crying and saying goodbye. 
But instead of going through my week, play-by-play, I've decided that I'll share with you what I learned the most from my mission, along with a few really neat highlights from this week and probably a bazillion photos. Depending on if the can handle that. 
Here goes!

During my exit interview with President Miles, I was a little.... well, distraught might be too strong of a word, but it fits. We'd just gotten out of a lesson with an inactive member who'd told us basically every point of doctrine that caused her to leave the Church. We literally left her house and walked straight into my interview, so I was little shaken up. I felt like all the security I'd gained in my testimony was slipping away in the few days I have left as a full-time missionary, and I openly expressed that concern to President. 
He gave me some of the greatest advice I think I've received my whole mission. 
That if I go home, and I look for reasons to leave the Church, I'll find them. 
But if I go home, and I maintain the habits I've gained on my mission, focusing my attention to the basic and true doctrines and principles of the gospel, my testimony will strengthen and be able to withstand the blows of the adversary. 
I basically cried the whole interview, which is saying something because that's not my thing, to cry a lot, especially in front of people. 
But I just want you all to know how much my mission has meant to me. 
I came on a mission, not really sure why I was here. I knew that I needed to go, but I wasn't sure what the reason was. My testimony was okay, but it wasn't much. Over the past 18 months, however, it's been stretched, pulled, pushed, squished, stepped on, shot down, built up, tested, all of those adjectives that imply opposition. And I look at it now, and I think, "Dang. I'm nowhere near the person I was when I left." And then I think, that's exactly what happens to us every single time we're faced with opposition in life. When we're being pushed or pulled, we're growing. It's like when your sister borrows and stretches out your shirt. Except you want to grow, unlike your shirt... you don't really want that to grow... okay, bad example, but you get what I'm tryin' to say. 
I've had so many experiences where I've had the opportunity to testify of Christ. My trainer just emailed me and reminded me about a time that President said we should speak of Christ everyday, and then shared an experience where she did just that in class the other day and the Spirit it brought. I know that to be true. We can be great at paying our tithing, or living the word of wisdom, or even doing our home/visiting teaching. But if we're not centered on Christ as we do each of those things, there's no point in doing it. Christ is the reason, as cliche as that sounds. He really is. This is His gospel. Relying on Him is what will get us through everything, and I've definitely seen that thus far. 

I'd planned on telling you some neat things from this week, but I'm running out of time so I'll give you a brief synopsis. 
We got a new investigator this week! Her name is Karen. Hehehe. She was a referral the other sisters got and passed off to us because she's in our area. We contacted her and shared the first part of the Restoration, leaving her with a copy of the Book of Mormon. She has had some crazy life trials in the last few years, and as we talked about Christ and the relief He can give her, her eyes filled with tears. See? As we speak of Christ, the Spirit is there. So amazing. 

Conference was amazing, including the General Women's Broadcast and the Priesthood Session. Cool story, John Larson that President Monson told the story about in the Priesthood Session is Sister Romney's grandpa! I was sitting next to her watching it and next thing I know, she smacks my arm and goes, "Shut up, THAT'S MY GRANDPA!!" And then she cried. So that was neat. 
But I just loved the spiritual uplifting we were able to receive this weekend. It was amazing to me that every single talk, I felt could be applied to me, or to someone we're teaching. Crazy how the Spirit works. 

Last night, some of my favorite members threw a surprise going away party for me, and I was able to see some of my other favorites that came down from Airdrie and Lethbridge! So sweet. Along with being able to teach and testify of Christ, I've made some amazing, lifelong friends and saying goodbye to them is brutal. But it makes me love them that much more(:

Well, folks. I sure do love ya! (that's a Canada Calgary Mission joke because President literally says that every single time he says that in his Utahn accent)
Thank you for all you do. Honestly, there has been so much support to me and my family and I know the Lord will bless you all for your loves and support and service. 
Love you!

<3 Sister Pipkin 

1) a photo I took of my nametag in Waterton last week
2) WARNING: trunky photo -- I expire before my milk does... hehehe 
3) Brother and Sister Geddes made us these amazing blankets! 
4) during conference, I cuddled with the Nickle's cat... even though I hate cats. This one was nice, though. 

5) Sister Brignone and I have a mouse in our kitchen, so this is me on the counter and her on a chair as we tried to set up traps to catch it... no luck yet, any advice on how to catch this smart little fart head will be greatly appreciated 

18 months

My Plan is dumb