1) What did you have to speak on today? How did it go?
2) When do you get to visit with the mission president?
3) Do you get to say goodbye to everyone you want to before coming home?
4) Any suggestions for anything you want us to do to prepare for you? Dad told me not to ask you anything about home.
5) What has been the best lesson you've learned from your companions?
- I spoke about missionary work, specifically the Ward fast we're having next Sunday, based on Alma 6:6--we're fasting for "the welfare of the souls who know not God". I had typed it all up by Saturday (and translated it for my companion) and then we had some experiences Saturday that made me want to change some things so I ended up changing a few parts Sunday morning, and then before I spoke, Sis R spoke about love and service and it was just so powerful that I ended up saying some things I hadn't planned on originally, but it was really good. I could feel the Spirit guiding my words and I know that the Spirit was able to touch the hearts of many in the congregation. There truly is no greater feeling than knowing that the Lord has been able to use you for the benefit of His other children.
- I actually had my departing interview on Friday--the assistants called us during weekly planning on Thursday and we went in to the mission office on Friday. I just love President Griffin so much. We realized that it's kind of like the prophet: we all love President Monson so so much, even though we've never personally met him. I remember hearing in general conference at some point that the love we feel for the prophet is a testament from the Lord to us that that man truly is His prophet. And I believe it's the same with my mission president; I may not know him super well, but man do I love that man! I know that he is truly called of God to preside over this mission at this time.
- We took LOTS of pictures yesterday....trust me, we said many goodbyes. I love the people here--and everywhere I've served. It's always hard to say goodbye, but I know that everyone here will be fine and I'll be fine. Maybe I'm insensitive or something, but I know I'll see them again because I'll be back in Illinois at some point in my life, probably in the next year or so when some of the people I helped teach go to the temple (I will find a way to be there...haha). But yes, we did say many goodbyes.
- I really have no idea. I've never returned from a mission before....I know I'm going to want to sleep for probably a day (but I'll probably just sleep in a bit for a couple days because sleeping all day would be SO unproductive). But that's about it.... I've got some projects to do and I'm hoping you'll have some projects for me, and we should definitely spend some time together but that's about as far as I can see....haha sorry. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.
- President Griffin actually asked me a similar question in my interview, and I think it would have to be when I truly learned to focus. It was my second area and I was struggling with lots of things, but my sweet companion was always there for me and was such a good example of focus. I learned so much from her and it was right when I needed to learn to focus. I really feel that because I learned to focus then, that set the tone for the entire rest of my mission. I am eternally grateful for having learned that from her.
Well, I'm really not sure what to say.
This week was kind of rough--we knocked more doors and taught fewer lessons than we have since I got to Sycamore-Dekalb. But I know that we worked hard and sought the Spirit, and I know that Heavenly Father is pleased with what we did, even if we don't have numbers to back us up. Because numbers don't really matter. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ care about "the one"; they work on a very individual basis. And so we, as Christ's representatives, do the same. And sometimes, those "one's" don't really want to listen to us, or don't want to change. But I know that as we do our very best (remember: there is no try, only do), Heavenly Father will be pleased and we will know that He is pleased because He will pour out His Spirit upon us. In whatever calling or assignment we are given, He doesn't expect us to be perfect today, or tomorrow, or next week--or ever during out life on earth. But He does expect us to do our best. So while there are things during my mission that I look back on and wish I would've done differently, I know that I can't change the past but I can learn from it. And as I look toward the future, I know that I am, slowly but surely, becoming the person that Heavenly Father intended me to become. I am today someone so different from who I was 18 months ago. And that is a glorious thought. I know that missionary service changes hearts--not only those who are being taught, but those who do the teaching. Because all of us are children of God, and all of us are being refined during our mortal lives. I truly have been sanctified through missionary service, and I know with surety that any person may become sanctified and consecrated through missionary service as well--after all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel (Joseph Smith). Not only because we have brothers and sisters who are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it (D&C 123:12) but because we have been commanded to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ are perfect (Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48). We will not reach that wholeness and completeness indicated by the word "perfect" until after the resurrection, but we may improve and progress throughout this life as we utilize the Savior's atoning sacrifice for us. Not only has He paid the price for our sins and mistakes, but He has taken upon Himself our pains and afflictions and infirmities and weaknesses. And as we come to feel the powerful effects of that great gift actively working in our lives, we will feel so inclined to share it that we cannot be silent. We will feel as Lehi did, as Paul did, as Alma did, as Ammon and Aaron did, that we will actively participate in the work of salvation, so that our brothers and sisters may taste of the great joys of the restored Gospel. It has been such a privilege and a pleasure to do so, full-time, for the past 18 months. I was called of God through His prophet to serve here in the Illinois Chicago West mission, in Bloomington-Normal, in Bloomingdale, in Rochelle, and in Sycamore-Dekalb. And now, through the same inspiration, it is time for my release as a full-time missionary. It is time for the beginning of the rest of my life as a dedicated, consecrated disciple of Christ. I have been taught from on high the past 18 months about how to fulfill my purpose as a daughter of God so that I may bring souls unto Him. And what a joy it has been. And what a joy it will be.
Love, Hermana DeBuck
1. Us with Sister Mary Low, a sister in the Sycamore Ward. She wanted to take us out for lunch before I left, so here we are at the China House--she even dressed for the occasion.
2. Us with our investigator Pablo, at the restaurant we teach him at frequently. He is so excited to be baptized! He's taught me a lot about Christlike attributes. (The woman who took our photo was probably really confused...haha)
3. The Rockford South zone: back row (E. Campbell, Hibbard, Jones, McNatt, Hastings, Hahn, Weigel, Trappett) front row (H. Osborne, Beuhner, S. Smith, Allowitz, Havey, Shephard, me, H. Albrechtsen, Webb, Nogueira)
4. Us and the Rochelle Hermanas (Webb and Nogueira). Funnily enough, Hermana Webb is coming here and they're combining the Rochelle and Sycamore Spanish areas again. So they'll be EXTRA busy....but I know they can do it as they seek revelation from the Lord about how to care for the part of His vineyard they've been given.
5. Sunday evening at the McConkie Family home with two of our investigators, Samuel & Imelda; the kids were commissioned to put on a play based on one of Christ's parables, and they chose the Prodigal Son. It was absolutely splendid. (This may be the best method I've yet seen for kids to keep the Sabbath day holy.) We had a blast.
6. Bro & Sis Bingham, from Sycamore Ward. They are just the most charitable, Christlike people of all time--I would bet money on that if I were a betting sort of woman. I love these two so much.
7. Kelli and us. She's basically the third member of our companionship.
8. Saul, Francisca and Diego--our golden recent converts. They live above a Chinese restaurant and are such good disciples of Christ. They're honestly better missionaries than we are, for real.
11. Us and the Dekalb Ward Relief Society
13. Us and Sister Cadmium Bound. She's about to put her papers in and she goes out with the missionaries all the time. She is amazing.
14. The Henricksen family: Sister Henricksen, Tegan, Molly, Hermana Albrechtssen, me, Andrew, Nyssa.
15. Us and Gonzalo's kids, Gonzalito and Michele. (Gonzalo was up at the sacrament table so he wasn't able to be in the photo....but he blessed the sacrament so that's way better!)
16. Us and Brother Hill, who is also like the third member of our companionship. He served his mission in Mexico City, same mission as [cousin] Taylor. So that was cool when we figured that out. (The world is already small but when you're a member of the Church, I'm pretty sure it becomes minute....)
17. The Briscoe family (Sis Briscoe, Lizzie--reports to the MTC this Wednesday for Spanish speaking Carlsbad California mission--Sophie, Elijah, Ben, Bro Briscoe). They're also amazing. (I may say that a lot about members but it's always true)