Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 16 How many times can I get sent home before they won't let me go out anymore? That is the question!

Hey there my family and friends!

Yep. The title says it all. I got sent home... again... But have no fear, I'm not done yet with the mission! 

We had a little district activity. It started out with plans to go bowling then when we got there, we found out that the bowling place did not open until later, so we bought pizza instead! For not being in North America, it was actually pretty good. Later, after writing the families, we taught our recent convert how to make banana bread (actually I taught, Hrma. Molinar watched along with everyone else).

Pizza from Dominoes! It was fun to hang out as a district!
We had an appointment for Hrma. Molinar in Quito today. Her ankle has not be getting better, actually, it is the exact opposite. We totally packed a lunch since Hrma. Cheves, our mamita for Tuesdays, is still in La Costa. We kicked it back to elementary days of PBJ sandwiches, animal crackers, apples, and chocolate milk. Best. Lunch. Ever. We got to the appointment early, so he saw us early. He said that the only thing she could do was take medicine, do exercises, ice, and wear braces (all of which she has been doing). The doctor was not going to have her do anything else for her ankle but Hrma. Pemberton, the mission nurse, talked him into doing an MRI on her ankle to see if there is something else wrong. Unfortunately we could not get the appointment until next week.
Sack lunching it! PBJs and chocolate milk is the way to go when you don't have a mamita!
So, two weeks ago, I received a phone call from President Richardson. He talked to Hrma. Molinar about her ankles and then he wanted to talk to me about my knee. The doctor had apparently been hounding Presidente about my knee and saying that I really shouldn't put off surgery. I prayed, meditated, and lost quite a bit of sleep over it because I had fought so hard to come back out on the mission and I did not want to give it up for anything. The more I thought about it, the more I thought back to how I felt the first time I was sent home and how much it hurt. I was scared (and am still a little scared). Finally, last Friday when we had our specialized training in Quito, I decided to tell Pres. Richardson that I would willingly go home. He said he was glad to hear that I had finally made the decision because he knew I would be really upset if he had to make it for me. He said he would start the paperwork but that it would take some time (Yeah did not take that long and I knew it would not). I won't lie, I cried on the way home from Quito that night. Throughout the weekend and into the week, I lost even more sleep and my knee was constantly on my mind. When would I go home? Wednesday morning while in personal study, I broke down. I had been lying to the members the whole time about my knee, telling them not to worry, that I would be fine. But the stress of all this and worrying about being sent home overtook me. 
Out in El Vergel visiting Jenifer! Right afterwards, I was bit by her German Shepherd!
I had a meltdown and Hrma. Molinar did not know what to do, so she called Presidente. He said that he was planning on calling us later that night but that I would be going home tomorrow night. It was a rush of relief and a burst of sadness all at once. I would be going home tomorrow night. With this new information, Hrma. Molinar decided to rearrange our schedule so that I could say goodbye to as many people as I could without disturbing our appointments with investigators. As we went through the day, appointments were falling and we just happened to run into a bunch of the members that I really wanted to say goodbye to. Everytime I told them I was going home, they would laugh and say it was a lie. Then they would get upset because I handed them a picture with a little note on the back (all the members know this means that a missionary is leaving). 
It was a sad evening. We went to go visit our less active, Jenifer, and I got bit... Yep, I got bit by her dog. It was a pretty bad bite and I would take a picture but it is a little high up on the thigh. BUT just so you know, it was a pretty gnarly bite! Have no fear, I survived!
Isabel made us breakfast! Hot chocolate and bolos verdes! Best. Breakfast. Ever.
I had basically packed everything up the day before, so it was just last minute things that had to be taken care of. I made some banana bread for my district and some caramel popcorn for Hrma. Molinar. Marta, our recent convert, asked if she could make us breakfast before we left for Quito. It was so good! It was sad to say goodbye because she and Isabel cried. Marta walked us to the bus and sat and waited for us to get on the bus. Two buses passed before finally someone helped with my suitcases.Thankfully we waited because the elders were able to help take my suitcases to the chapel. After our meeting, the zone leaders made me bear my testimony and I had to laugh because I almost made it through the whole thing without crying but broke down at the end. One sister told me that no one expected me to make it through the whole thing without crying but was proud of me of how far I got without crying (haha). 
Marta, Abuelita, and Isabel, goodbyes are always the hardest!
I love this crazy goober! I always called her Abuelita and she would always get the biggest smile! She's 92 years old and still going strong (and she still walks really fast)!
Note: Every night that I had to call the district leader and he asked if there was anything that he could do for us, I always would tell him that we needed chocolate and he said one day he would bring it to us. I told him the night before it was his last chance but he said he couldn't. After we had closed our meeting, the district and zone leaders came in with a cake and a huge card with a bar of chocolate in it and little notes from everyone in the zone! They are seriously the best zone ever! 
Hrma. Maynez and I have to keep saying goodbye in the worse way possible: me going home!
After all the goodbyes and hugs, Hrma. Molinar and I headed to the mission offices. We grabbed lunch, she met with Presidente, and then she left with her new companion. I was to fly home with Hrma. Doxey. As I said goodbye to Presidente, I told him that I would see him in a few weeks and he chuckled. I meant it. Getting to the airport was quite the adventure because we were given a ride from a member in the ward where the secretaries of the mission are serving. Yeah... My suitcases were tied to the roof of this little car with a really small string. By some miracle, my suitcases did not fall off. We made our flights and soon found ourselves in the states again after having our suitcases search in front of us.
My suitcases were half hanging on the car. It is a miracle that they did not fall off on our way to the airport.
While waiting for our flight to Salt Lake City from Atlanta, a woman offered to buy us Jamba Juice and talked about how her daughter had been sent home after only being able to serve a couple months and severely rolling her ankle. I made it back to Meridian around 3 in the afternoon. I was released as a missionary the following afternoon because my stake president was out of town and the counselor was with the youth of the stake for an activity. 
Best. Chocolate. Milk. Ever.
I have learned quite a lot from this experience: things do not always go according to our plans. They go according to the plans of Heavenly Father. He wants us to be the best people we can be and to do so, he has a plan to make us into the Gods and Goddesses that we can become. Unfortunately, we cannot see the end of this plan. If we could see the end, then we would not be able to act in faith and thus we would not profit from this life. An hermana that I served with sent me this quote and I think this describes this situation perfectly. 

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." -CS Lewis

Plans: I have a doctor's appointment with my knee surgeon this Wednesday. From what I have been told, I have slightly torn my meniscus and that I could possibly go back out to the field in as little as the next transfer! And of course, this is my goal! They can't get rid of me that easily, come dog bites or high water! I promise that I will keep you guys updated better about my knee this time.

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

PS More pictures are up on the blog from all my adventures in Ecuador!
The Yaruqui Clan! I loved working in this branch with these amazing missionaries!
I only knew Hrma. Contreras this transfer but I feel like we have been best friends for forever!
Mi mejor amiga de Mexico! Hrma. Mortera is a total sweetheart!
These were the missionaries (Hrma. Diaz, Hrma. Mortera, and El. Rojo) I had the privilege of crashing their CCM group when we all got to the mission to have orientation and I have loved the privilege I have had to serve with them.

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