A lot of people have recently requested that I write another "weekly email" for the blog. I enjoy writing, but I haven't written hardly anything down the past two weeks because things have been so crazy! I want to write about my last week in the field, where my thoughts were at, and the amazing things I experienced.
The last week of my mission went by so. incredibly. fast. Every journal entry from that week begins with "Wow. Where did the day go?" Or something similar. We were running everywhere! We had tons of appointments, and so many people to say goodbye to. It never really hit me that I was saying goodbye to Missoula and the people there until my very final day in Missoula as a missionary. And then the tears started....and they didn't stop...it was pretty bad. That Thursday was the most stressful day of my life! Sister Crosland and I were in charge of the housing and travel arrangements for five sisters going home from our section of the mission. At four in the afternoon, plans changed and we had ANOTHER sister needing to drive down. Long story short, all of the plans changed , and it was absolute insanity from that time forward. It all worked out in the end though! #sistercroslandisachamp
Friday morning the four of us staying at the Hendersons woke up at 4:30 to get ready and finish packing up. We needed to meet the other two sisters and be in the car and on the road by 5:45. All was going soooo smoothly until I walked outside with Sister E. King to load up the trucks unbeknownst to us, a blizzard had come through during the night, and all of Missoula was absolutely covered in snow. Perfect. It was way below zero and my hands were totally numb! For some reason I had packed every single pair of gloves. 🤦🏼♀️ We ended up getting on the road around 6:15am after defrosting the cars and getting all the bikes on the back. Picture this. Two trucks. Six sisters all bundled up. Six bikes. 18 suitcases. And a whole lot of snow.
We made it to Helena in one piece with only a few scary moments that I will not disclose at this time. In Helena we met up with a few other missionaries and all of us sisters hopped in the transfer van with Elder Baird the "car tzar" of the mission. Of course, I called shotgun. We had a long road ahead of us and I needed to glean as much wisdom as I could from Elder Baird. It's a tradition for everyone to share a miracle they have seen in their area in the last week. I think almost the entire drive the six of us sisters shared miracle after miracle. It was amazing. It was also really hard the closer we got to Billings. Reality hit when I saw those rims again. So many memories flooded back and the realization that I was in fact leaving Montana the next day- needless to say, I was reduced to a puddle of tears.
The mission office was a buzz of activity when we arrived. There were 18 missionaries flying home this transfer, it was a pretty massive group! We had pizza, we laughed, we cried. Just your typical day in the MBM. I had my departing interview with president. That was tough. Again, lots of laughter and lots of tears. He's my fav.
We had a testimony meeting that night. It was so cool to see how each missionary I've served with has grown. At the beginning of my mission I can remember sitting in a similar testimony meeting, just wondering what it was going to be like 18 months from that moment. I sat in the exact same spot somehow. But everything was completely different. Listening to everyone else, and recognizing the growth in each and every person, it was a moment I'll never forget. The senior missionaries all shared advice with us and bore their testimonies. Again we cried and we laughed and we cried some more. After the meeting ended, no one wanted to leave. 10:00pm passed by, and then 11:00pm. All of us just holding on so tightly to these last moments together. Oh man, it was rough. Eventually, we all split off to the separate places we were sleeping at. Sister Hodgson and I somehow lucked out and got to have one last missionary sleepover together. We had 7 months of stories to catch up on! I think we fell asleep around 1:30 4:30 in the morning came much too quickly. (Yes. 2 nights in a row with 3 hours of sleep.)
We spent the morning at the temple. What a sweet way to end a mission. It was amazing to look around and see my sisters and best friends all dressed in white in the celestial room of the temple. We all saw each other at our best. Lots of hugs, and many more tears. After the temple we headed back to the mission office to make breakfast for everyone. President claims to be the pancake king, and he definitely proved that to be true! Haha it was so fun :) The excitement of seeing my family started to set in being there and seeing Sister Pearson and Sister E. King each reunite with their families. The knot in my stomach just kept getting bigger and bigger.
So at this point, I should probably confess something. About 3 months ago I devised a plan. If President wasn't going to let me extend, I would simply pray a blizzard would come so I could be a missionary for just a little bit longer. So selfish, I know, but that's what I did! So, when the snow starts falling as I'm leaving Missoula I'm thinking, "President is going to kill me" Hahahaha Saturday morning, it's a full on blizzard. And now everyone knows it's my fault. So we get in the 12 passenger van. President is driving and I'm sitting shotgun, and the rest of the car is absolutely full. As we are winding up the road to the airport (we are LATE and the roads are VERY icy) I turn to president and say, "yknow...maybe it wasn't the best idea to pray for a blizzard" to which he responds "Ya think?!" Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
Everything is such a blur from that moment forward. All 18 of us got our boarding passes and checked all 34 bags of luggage in. And then, the worst goodbye of my life. I'm simply not going to write about it because it's still a soft spot and tears are already coming as I type. There were lots of tears, not so much laughter in that moment. My heart just sank with every step I took. Our plane couldn't take off for another half hour or so. I sat next to Sister Hodgson, Elder Syrett, and Elder Hatton on the plane and once we started thinking of the exciting things ahead of us, we had a great time :) It was the most surreal experience stepping off the place in SLC. It felt like my feet were not even hitting the floor. My stomach was in my throat and the tears would not stop coming. At this point I don't think I even know if they were happy tears or sad tears.
When I saw my family, I finally realized just how much I missed them. I all of the sudden realized just how long 18 months is. Everyone was bawling. Kelsey was at least a foot taller. That was kinda freaky. Quinn was so confused as to what was happening. Ciara and Aubrey looked the exact same. Mom and Dad too. The whole airport was absolute chaos with the 10(?) of us missionaries reuniting with our families all at the same time. It was such a cool moment. Man oh man I'VE MISSED MY FAMILY!
"The hardest thing I've ever loved to do was getting on this plane, and coming home to you. In a million ways completely torn apart as a land so far away (well, pretty close in my case ;)) still owns my heart." Oh how I miss the Montana Billings Mission :) But oh how wonderful it is to be with my family again :)
Sister Fletcher ;)
Prayed for blizzard