Here's Nicole's LAST email home! As in,
SHE'S COMING HOME NEXT WEEK!!
When Nicole gets home, I'm sure she'll want to post one last blog entry.
This week she reflected on things she's learned on her mission.
Check them out below:
I left my camera at home, so there will be no pictures this week, despite the many I took....sorry!!!!
I can't believe it's been 18 months already. This time next week I'll be on an airplane... I wanted to take the time today to share 18 lessons I've learned the past 18 months. As I pondered and wrote all these down in advance, I was amazed at how naturally and fast they came to me. I am so grateful for all that I've learned and will be forever thankful to my Heavenly Father for teaching me so much. This will probably be super long, but it's what I felt prompted to share, so her it goes!!! Please excuse any spelling errors, I'm typing through tear-filled eyes :')
- God's plan is always perfect. Always...no ands, ifs, buts, ors about it. His plan is perfect....even all the trials we go through are perfectly placed for our benefit.
- I can do hard things. We really can do "all things through Christ which strengthens [us]". Nothing is too hard to handle with Him.
- The Atonement covers EVERYTHING!! There is absolutely nothing that Christ can't fit. All that is wrong is righted in Him. I could talk for forever on this precious gift!
- Love. He loves us infinitely and we can never be taken from that love. He loves each of us and I'm so grateful I've been able to feel of His love for other people...that's the greatest thing...to feel God's love for someone else.
- Patience....it's a virtue...a very hard virtue sometimes! Patience helps us to better understand others and, as a result, helps us to become more like Christ. We need to be patient with everyone, us included, because God is so patient with us despite all of our weaknesses.
- Perspective is vital!!! If we will but open our eyes to see the bigger picture, we can make it through anything. Having an eternal perspective brings peace, comfort, hope, joy, etc.
- Doing the small things (Church, Pray, Read- CPR) are SO IMPORTANT!!! Another topic I could talk about for forever on!!! These really are the tools we need to stay spiritually alive. We can't live in Christ without doing them.
- Missionary work is a calling to everyone...not just missionaries. Members play a VITAL role!!!
- Being a child of God means so much more than it ever has before. Knowing who we are (LITERAL children of God) helps us know who we can become with His help. It helps us better understand His commandments, His plan, and the experiences we go through. We are destined to become something greater than we could ever know (Romans 8:16-17)
- Humility is so important. I am useless without Him and will always be. I need Him so desperately every moment of my life....we all need Him. The sooner we figure that out, the better off we'll be.....I still have a long ways to go before I'm where I want to be when it comes to being humble, but I'm a lot closer than when I started.
- The Holy Ghost is our greatest friend. He has taught me SO much, especially lately. All the miracles we've seen lately have been results of promptings from the Spirit. He tells us and shows us what we need to do. We are never alone if we're listening to Him. He helps us on our way and that has been a huge blessing!! I'm so thankful for His guidance!!!
- Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. He calls imperfect people to do His work...He always has and He always will. Even though we may feel so inadequate, He helps us see we are more than capable of doing great things. Again, His plan is perfect.
- Gratitude. There is so much we have to be grateful for. Oh my heck, I had no idea how blessed I was until I left my Frisco bubble. We have so much to thank our Heavenly Father for and I will always be thankful for Him and His many blessings He gives to us. Don't take anything for granted!
- Joy. I now understand what the people in the Book of Mormon were talking about when they said their joy is full. I can't think of a more joyful moment in my entire life than my mission.
- Temples!!!! We went to the Temple this past week and it was amazing!!! They are the House of God and we learn so much about His perfect plan while in the Temples!!! I love them more than words can tell!
- Everyone needs the Gospel, whether they know it or not. The Gospel meets every need possible and it's the only source of never ending peace, joy, hope, etc.We all need it....period.
- The organization of Christ's church is so important. We need a prophet and 12 apostles and other church leaders.We need their guidance and their love and their prayers, etc. We have them as a benefit to us!
- Finally, after all has been said and done, I am my most important convert. I've been more converted to the Gospel than I think anyone else I've taught. I came out to help convert others, never imagining that my life would have done a complete 180 in the process. I'm so thankful for the changes Heavenly Father has made in me to help me become more like Him.
It will be very bittersweet to leave my home for the past 18 months, but I know that it's all part of God's plan. I love being a missionary. I love these people. And, I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Hope everyone has a wonderful week!!
"Sister Lake had a photo on her camera!! This was from
our Sacrament Meeting with all the cadets yesterday.....
Love them way too much!!! :)"