This will be the last email I will send on my full time mission.
Wow! I cannot believe it!
Well here we go!
My companion, Sister Godfrey, told me a great analogy that helped me understand the transition I am about to experience as I complete my full time mission and begin a new phase of my life following Christ. She said, "You know those little sea creatures like sea snails with little shells?... well you're kind of like that! Before your mission you grew and grew and believe it or not you outgrew the shell that you had built from your faith and spiritual experiences of the past. So... God asked you to take off that shell and build a new one... only this time it would be built in a new place with new people and you would feel vulnerable at first without your old shell. He asked you to leave your comforts behind and trust that He would provide a way... so you did and you served a mission where you had to build your spiritual shell layer by layer. Now you have grown so much spiritually that you need a new shell. There is nothing more God can teach you here. It's time to go home which is the only place He can help you grow even more. It will be uncomfortable and awkward just like when He asked you to serve a mission but you can only grow this way. He needs you to build a new shell!"
And so here we go! Whether I think it's a good idea or not it's time to go home and build myself a new shell! I promised the Lord a long time ago that I would do whatever He would ask of me and this assignment is almost finished. I know He has never led me astray. However dark the path, may seem before us there is a promise that He will light the way! I know that He will!
This week Sister Godfrey and I have been working on so hard to find more people to teach. In our travels we passed a lady walking on the street on a very rainy day. She was holding an umbrella over her head but it was closed and cinched tight. We both looked at her as we passed... looked at each other... and then said "what?"
This woman was soaking wet because she was not using her umbrella correctly. Now, perhaps there were some circumstances that we didn't understand that required her to keep the umbrella shut so we won't judge this sweet wet lady... There is clearly an analogy in this!
The gospel is the tool to protect us from the cold, sad, and dreary effects of sin...
The tools are in our hands but are we using them correctly?
Don't suffer more than you need to... take out your umbrella and open it up big and strong. Let the strength from the spirit shield you from temptation. Let the warmth and light of the Savior's love fill your heart. Don't give up just because the storm clouds never seem to part! There is always peace to be found! Sometimes we just have to hold on a little longer. Please be sure to use the tools that God has given us so that when the storms come we won't be afraid!
I heard someone say once "You guys send missionaries out to the most dangerous places". That is true. Missionaries are sent to remote places to share the good news of Christ with everyone. More than just to save people from physical danger Missionaries are sent by God to help those whose lives are in spiritual danger and who are spiritually starving. Many people I have talked with on my mission were in spiritual danger and needed to be rescued. They stood far from God and felt that they were drowning in guilt and emptiness. The good news of Christ is that they don't need to feel that way. Christ can take all of those feelings away because He is our Savior. He already suffered for our pains and afflictions and temptations so that we can have comfort. Lean on Him because He will never let you fall!
So I will be going home on Valentine's Day!!! What a wonderful day to be reunited with my family! Speaking of going home on an airplane... I thought of an analogy this week. When you travel on an airplane the stewardess gets on and tells you all the safety information which most of us disregard anyways... but in the safety rules we learn that in the case of an oxygen shortage we must use oxygen masks that fall from the ceiling in case of an emergency. You are to put your mask on first before helping others. Why do you think that is? I always thought that was a little weird because I would want to help someone else like my siblings so they could be calm before I help myself. Well there is a spiritual connection with this. You can't lift anyone higher than your own conversion. So if you are a missionary you need to be converted yourself before you try and help others be converted. Why? Because if you are not converted you have no way to help others. If I was in a hole and was trying to rescue someone even deeper that I, I can only lift as high as I am. So I want to be as high as a I can to lift others closer and closer to safety. Just like if we were in an airplane we need to have sufficient oxygen for ourselves before we can help others... otherwise we would run out of oxygen before we could help. In Luke 22:32 Jesus says:
"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
I know that secret to peace in this life is obedience which leads to conversion over time. Please do all that you can to be personally converted to the gospel. It starts with daily prayer and scripture study... then we attend church and fulfill all that God asks of us. God is good to those who love Him.
Hopefully that makes sense!
I couldn't finish this without sharing with you my personal testimony of all that I have been sharing with the beautiful people of Mesa, AZ.
I know that Jesus Christ lives! He is real! He knows our hearts. He is really good at forgiving His imperfect children. He knows your name. He is perfect. He gave us weaknesses as a gift to come closer to Him. His spirit comforts the uncomfortable and teaches us the truth. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and Joseph Smith restored the church to the earth. I have no doubts about these things! I know that there is a living prophet on the earth today. I know families are meant to be together forever. I feel so much gratitude to the Savior for all He has given me! I know I can never repay Him... that was not part of the plan... but I will do all I can to serve Him and show Him my appreciation. He lives!
I know that these things are true and I share them with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!
Catch ya on the flip side!D&C 123:13,17 HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!
My homecoming address will be..
Sunday, February 19th at 11:00 am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 901 East Whipp Road, Centerville, Ohio!
Sister Hailey Ellen ZimmermanP.S. Here is my email for when I will come home! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please keep in contact via this email or Facebook!