Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Week 79 in the Field/Home: Week 24 in Zurich/Utah - Welcome Home

(One last blog post to wrap things up:)) 
I would like to write one last letter for my mission blog to sum up my mission. I am going to miss writing a weekly update full of my missionary experiences. 
Would you like to hear a bit about my CRAZY last week?? 
As I said last week, we had to close our area in Zurich due to not enough missionaries coming in to cover the number going home. We spent the days cleaning and packing when we didn't have appointments. It was really sad knowing I was leaving this place and knowing that no one was coming back. It was especially hard for Sister Smith; I can't imagine what it's like closing your golden area!! 
We said lots of goodbyes, bore lots of testimony, and we enjoyed all the "lasts" we were having. 
Transfer day: Thursday. Wow! We had 6 bags in tow because we were closing. The Luzern sisters helped us :) it was nice snapping photos and saying our last goodbyes. There are so many good friends that I left behind. They are going to be amazing :) 
I left with about 20 other missionaries from Switzerland. We took the train the Munich. It was nice to have a chat with good friends :) it was weird to know I was going to be home the next day. The ride was 3 hours long. Lots of German. Loved it :) 
We arrived in Munich, and I was approached by a woman who wanted to know what it was that we did, gathering together in HB every 6 weeks. I got to explain to her. She approached me in English, but I don't explain these things in English, so I asked if we could talk German.. Super funny how that works :) she said she needed to go before she started disagreeing with us. She said she saw things differently than us, but thought what we did as missionaries was a very good thing. That was nice to do some missionary work :) 
We then went to the church. There we bore our last testimonies together, ate something, payed our debts, handed in our cards, and did interviews, and had the chance to go contacting one last time. 
I went out with the presidents  daughter, which was so good!! Everyone we talked to gave us their number and we set up an appointment for the elders and got a referral for Swiss missionaries :) that was really good to see one last time, that God gives us things when we go out with a willing heart and the attitude of faith :) 
My interview was short, but sweet :) president blessed me, gave me a mission logo'd memory stick with all my letters to him, and other mission stuff (nice surprise) and sent me on my way. 
We then had dinner. Traditional German food and I loved it :) we then ended the night with a testimony meeting. It just went on about 2 hours ;) we had 32 missionaries leaving us, so you can imagine the time it took :) it was so nice to hear everyone's closing testimonies. I love those guys :) such good laughs and memories :)
We spent the night at the hostile. Meine Güte! It was so loud! We were woken up several times by our noisy 'American':) neighbors. One sister kept waking up thinking it was time to shower, but it was only 4, and then 5, and then finally we could shower ;) it was a rough night. 
We then headed off to the airport. It still hadn't quite sunk in that we were leaving! But you could tell we were all ready to go :) we checked in, said goodbyes, gave hugs and went. 
I was able to get through customs really easily because of my EU pass, so I waited for the elders on the other side... Alone ;) we got ready to board. Lots of security. 
This plane ride was soooooo long-9hours. I sat next to a woman who only spoke Turkish, so that was hard. I wrote a lot, studied a lot, read my whole Journal, then went to sit with the elders. It was an eternity! 
Finally arrived in Chicago and ended up waiting for a delayed flight, 2.5 hrs on top of a 4 hr layover:(. We chatted with this great family in English and in German. They were great! They like us a lot :) it was nice to speak again. I felt guilty for speaking so much English ;) I ran into a family who used to be in my home ward, that was picking their son up from his mission in the Ukraine and who were on my flight to slc, who let me use their phone to update my family..they were tracking my mile-by-mile progress too:).
With Mom and Dad
Together Again:) Loved the banner:)
This flight was such a pain. So many delays. I was soooo tired...never to be forgotten Too many hours of travel. We finally got in to SLC at 12.30am mdt and got home at 2pm after waiting for bags? Family!!! That was a strange moment! I was so so nervous I hid from them for a few minutes ;) they weren't nearly as scary as I thought when I saw them :) the only scary person was me ;) 
When I left home we took a picture so we had to get one of me arriving home
It is so nice to be home! My sisters and I stayed up really late just talking. We had a big sleepover in the basement family room:). 

 I've been released, reported to the stake high council, and given my homecoming talk, dressed in my dirndl and everything. Lots of family and friends came to support and welcome me home-so grateful, love em all!!  THANKYOU.  
There were tears, and realizations that I wasn't wearing a name tag and that I was normal again. The spirit was strong, which was good since that was my topic. It's a special way to wave to your mission as it really enters the past. And I smile every time I think about it :) 

I've now been home for a few days now. Oh and how I miss my time on a mission. 
Stay on the path, okay? Read your scriptures, say your prayers, go to church, and find your new purpose statement. Our purpose as RM's is no longer to invite others to come unto Christ, or rather, it's not our full time job. So write your purpose!! Ask yourself what you want to be when you're 35 years old? What goals do you need to make to make you anxious to get up and attack your day??
Our calling as missionaries never ends, friends :) Learn to share the gospel in your own without-a-tag way and embrace it. 
But never fall away, okay?
I promise you I won't. I hope you promise right back. 
All my love, heart, and thanks for the last 18 months of shaping, growing, and serving, 
Just Chloe


Monday, 6 April 2015

Week 78 in the Field: Week 23 in Zurich: LAST AND FINAL WORDS," I know He'll continue to carry me, even when I'm not wearing my name tag" xx

I can't believe that it has come time to write my last email. Where has the time gone?! Really, though. 

We got transfer calls on Saturday, and our area is being closed :( Sister Smith and I are very sad about it, and now have even more to do that we thought. SISTER SMITH will be going to Burgdorf to work with Sister Oswald, her third American companion ;) 

General Conference is always the best thing on a mission. God answered MANY of my prayers, and it always amazes me how specific He is. I got answers that were so specific that they were given to me in the form of quotes. God is so good :) I felt a deep, overwhelming, and powerful love the whole time. Not only did we have Conference, but it was also Easter. What a special day. I will never forget it :) the weekend was just amazing. We were all at the church, but it was mostly just us missionaries. just my district and one other elder companionship. we listened to all the sessions except for the last one.
That talk on RM's and YSA's was a huge answer to a prayer for me. it was very specific and sister smith and I just looked at each other and started laughing because we both knew god was speaking to me. It was awesome :) I didn't hear anything from Priesthood meeting. I will also do that when I'm home.

Norma, Denise and Ashley, two families
We started that day off with a Brunch with our South American Crew :) We ate amazing food, and were all convinced we were never going to be able to stand again. They were so sad when we had to tell them the news that there will be no more Sisters here. They didn't believe us for a while. But sadly, it's the truth. There are going to be a lot of people that won't be visited as much because there are so many women in the ward. The Lord will watch over them, though. xxxx

We had exchanges again this week. I went to Luzern with Sister Page, and Sister Flickinger came here with Sister Smith. We were caught in the middle of a huge storm. The storm even got a name, "Niklas". It broke my umbrella. It was NOT a funny April Fools joke. It was snowing, and raining, and the boats were all rocking on the waters, and then we got delayed and ended up missing our bus and got stranded in the middle of nowhere for an hour, only to find out the appointment got cancelled :) It was quite the experience. 

I love Sister Page. I feel a bit friendless here sometimes, I'm sure we have all had those feelings at times, out here and at home. It was comforting to know I had her. We think too similarly. I love her :) We had a very good exchange, full of goals, and getting pumped about the work. It's nice to know that you've helped someone. I will miss these Sisters :) 

The days have just been a blur. The only thing that is in my head are the feelings I've had over the last couple of days. I wish that I could put them all into words, but my time is so short, and my words just don't justify the things in my heart. xxxxxx

I guess I just want you to know how much I have loved this time. I have had lots of time to reflect on the last 18 months, and I've asked myself often if I've done what the Lord wanted me to do: did I reach my potential? For this moment in my life, I would have to say yes. It wasn't until last week that I felt like I became the missionary I wanted to be. It wasn't until that exchange, actually, that I realized the progress I had made and how much I had grown. I have such a strong testimony of so many things. I have so much to KEEP doing, though, too :) That's the exciting part... it never stops :) 

The Savior lives and He loves us. He loves me. He is aware of me. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is more real than anything I know. I know it is through the Atonement that I'm going to be able to handle this new transfer ;) He's carried me through so much already, I know He'll continue to carry me, even when I'm not wearing my name tag. I will miss that black piece of plastic. 

Our calling as missionaries is so holy, so sacred. He called us here to teach the Gospel of Salvation. This is such an important message, and that He trusted ME to do that? Wow. I will miss the Spirit of Missionary Work. There is a special spirit that we have here on a mission. You know when you are living in Switzerland, and when you are serving a mission. Having that Spirit of Missionary work is what I will miss; knowing that all I do is for Him. I have a very specific purpose here, and I have found myself in it. It's time to start a new mission :) It's a good thing I've learned to listen to the Spirit while I've been here.. I'm going to need to listen really well :) 

I'm scared to leave my mission. I'm sad to leave my mission. But I know He has so much waiting for me. I will always be His missionary, just doing the work in a different way :) And I know life is also nice in Utah ;) 

I have come to love the members here! I love the friends I have made and have taught the Gospel to. I have come to love the missionaries- they are very special people. 
We had the chance to talk with Will, a good friend of ours. He thanked me for helping him find the Book of Mormon. He said I helped change his life. It was hard having to say good-bye. Sister Smith is also finding it hard. The poor thing is having to close her first area. She'll be great :) xxxxxxx  I have full confidence in her and in her capabilities. More importantly, I know she is in tune with the Spirit. She has become my closest friend, my sister. I will miss her so much :) My companions have all become my sisters.  I look forward to following her throughout the remainder of her mission.

I'll try my best to keep my head on my shoulders this week. It's a bit crazy. But it will be good :) 

I need my hair done, and my nails but before that on Saturday I'll need a companion for morning sport.. I'll do a quick run that morning probably. then I'll do personal study for an hour, and then we can go GET RELEASED. I won't have time for comp study. That's something I would love to keep doing. I've made study goals, and all I'll need is someone to be accountable to. 
I'll see you soon :) I apologize in advance for the mess that I will be :) It's to be expected, though, right? ;) I will be exhausted. I can promise you that:) 

Love you to the moon and back :) 

P.s. yeah... I'm really not excited to come back to America, if I'm being 100% honest. I'm really scared. I love it here, everything about it. i feel like this is my home, it has been for 18months. one month and we'll all be back and you'll see what i'm talking about.

See you... really soon

Sister Gilmour

Part 2:

From Sister Chloe Gilmour, home in a few:)

This is for all you future missionaries who are wondering what on earth to bring with you out here. You've heard all the common answers, but let me tell you something....


I was shocked when I came out here! No one told me about the Personal Touches we write people! No one told me we had to get older and have birthdays on missions and that they were still celebrated!
So I will spill out all of the things I wish I had known to bring with, and hope that it helps someone searching for answers to this hard question: What do I bring with me on my mission?
1. Small crafty things; stickers, paper, pencils, markers, etc., but not a ton! Just a small supply (Also handy for marking scriptures, making notes, and staying organized)

2. Cheap, easy, and fast ideas for birthday gifts. Trust me, that's something I wish I had known about.

3. Bring a WHITE mesh bag for your G's. It makes Monday washing so much easier. Not having to sort through your companions stuff to try and find your clothes. It's super hard since they all look the same.

4. Think back on aaaaall the many years of YW/YM, Seminary, Youth Conferences, FHE, etc on all object lessons you saw. They will come in handy when we you need to teach a District Meeting assignment, or a Zone Training, or a family at an eating appointment. Get ready to share 1,000's of Spiritual Thoughts. It's nice to have a head start. 

5. That brings me to my next point: think about Spiritual Thoughts you can give. You may not have any idea what that is. It's like a mini lesson that you share with Members. It's a bit more relaxed than a lesson, but still teaches a Gospel Principle. The cooler and more creative they are, the more involved the family gets. 

6. Bring EASY and FAST recipes. Conversion charts are really handy, too. 

7. Sticky notes are a must. Even if you're saying, "I am not a sticky note kind of person", trust me, you will be as a missionary. If you want to be organized, you will be. 

8. Maybe not something you want to BRING with you, but something you'll want is folders. I have a few different ones: music folder, picture folder, letter folder, etc.. 

9. Sisters, nail polish. Life gets dull sometimes and it's fun to mix things up with a bit of color (conservative color, that is)

10. Pencil bags. They make transporting your desk easier when Transfers come along.

I hope these things are helpful to all of you who have decided to serve the Lord. You will be so blessed for your service and you will LOVE the missionsmile emoticon It is much different than anything you can imagine, but go out and work hard, rely on the Lord, and you will be just fine smile emoticon
This Church is true and the missionaries are the lucky ones that get to declare that to the world smile emoticon
Sister Chloe Gilmour