10 Days: “And I give unto them a commandment…”

“…that they shall go forth for a little season, and it shall be given by the power of the Spirit when they shall return” (Doctine and Covenants 42:5).

It is hard to explain how it feels to come home early from a mission. It makes you very sad, but you know it’s part of God’s plan. BUT YOU ARE STILL VERY SAD. It’s a mumble jumble of feelings that you never quite sort out. It’s like we threw all the feelings in my sketchy clothes drier that I had in the mission and turned it on. (In order to understand this reference, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88YwvRUapyY).

Here is a condensed list of assorted thoughts thrown into my “poderoso el chiquitin” translated into English to facilitate the reading process:

  • Why the heck are there so many people at church today? (I asked myself only to be informed by my mom that the chapel was especially empty.)
  • Would Sriracha sauce be good on this food item?
  • Can I really drive Sarah up to Ogden without dying after not driving for nine months?
  • Was I really supposed to come home early?
  • Wow my back hurts.
  • Why couldn’t I finish like all the other returned missionaries?
  • IF I SIT DOWN ANY LONGER MY SPINE IS GOING TO EXPLODE.
  • Did I really gain that much weight?
  • YES! Brandon comes home soon.
  • I can’t believe Gilmore Girls just ended like that.
  • What will my teenaged kids think of me when they find out I only served half a mission?
  • Wow. I feel guilty for being happy.
  • NO I WILL NOT WATCH STAR WARS ON SUNDAY, but I will watch NBA basketball. (They sung the National Anthem, which is in the hymnbook. It’s fine.)
  • Did I make a mistake?
  • I am really grateful for my mission.
  • WHY DIDN’T I JUST TRY HARDER?
  • I hate pants.
  • I think I shouldn’t try to go back out.
  • I NEVER WANT TO EAT PASTA AGAIN.
  • Did I fail God?
  • Did I fail God?
  • Did I fail God?

My first Sunday home my bishop asked me what I learned on my mission, and I told him that the most important thing I learned was that God’s plan is better than my plan. I learned to accept HIS WILL over MY WILL, and that has made all the difference (casual Robert Frost reference). For some reason in my first full week home, my mind has had a hard time remembering that my unanticipated, early return is part of that plan. Somedays I think that God is disappointed in me, and it makes me get all stressed that I did not do enough. That I should’ve just kept saying that I was okay when I was not. That I should’ve walked more blocks and contacted more people and carried more paperback Books of Mormon all through town.

So I keep coming back to one scripture:

“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:23)

When my mission president told me that I was coming home, I felt so much peace. In the week leading up to my flight, I still felt this profound, soul-filling (and soul-fixing) peace. In fact other missionaries would say to me that I seemed unusually peaceful considering my situation, and I smiled and replied, “God has a plan.” And now when the doubts come in and I start to feel like a big-fat failure, I go back to those moments of peace. Back to Victoria, my second area, during my first bedrest when I was laying in my bed, reading Jesus the Christ. Back to past-curfew chats with the sister training leaders about how it is okay to go home early. Back to the phone call at 6:37 PM in Norma’s house. And the magical thing is that I’ve started to have new moments of peace. Sitting in the Celestial Room of the Mount Timpanogos Temple asking God if I need to stay home or try to go back on a mission. Reading my hastily shrunk, laminated, and folded version of my Patriarchal Blessing in Sacrament Meeting. Hearing that I couldn’t go back to school as a normal student until winter semester (peace comes in mysterious ways). Talking to my best friend on his P-days. Taking a nap on my deck in the sun. Singing “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” at church. Deciding that I want to be happy about coming home rather than miserable.

So here’s to following God’s plan 100% even when (especially when) it isn’t your plan. Because let’s be real, His plan is infinitely better, because He is infinitely better (Isaiah 55:8-9). He loves me so much, and I know this for sure. I know He loves me, because He sent His Son to feel exactly what I’m feeling right now. I know He’s probably looking down at me like a proud, loving Father, because He has a perfect, infinite love for all of His children (despite their supposed failures). I am grateful that He knows what I need and sends blessings every day. I am grateful to know that He is cheering me on and hoping that I return to Him someday. I love Him with all that I am. 

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Week 39: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him….”

“…this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24). Well I have borne many testimonies of Him in the last nine months as a missionary, and starting on Friday I will continue testifying of Him back at home. Unfortunately my long battle against my back has come to an end, and I am heading home. That’s a sad sentence to write. I don’t really know what to say, except that my mission has been the best nine months (I hit my nine month mark on Wednesday right before I leave haha). It has been hard, but there really is no joy that compares to being a missionary. It is incredible.

I have been thinking a lot about a lot of things since I found out I was going home. On Wednesday I had a follow-up doctors appointment to see how much PT helped and what more we could do, but due to the fact that I had been in lots of pain for like two weeks, I knew when I woke up that day that I was going home. When we went to the doctor, he told me that I should keep going to PT. I called the elder here in charge of all the doctor stuff, and he said I had to call Presidente to ask for permission. And I knew at that point that I was headed home. Presidente told me that he was going to give me until June 13th (the end of the transfer), but then the next day in the afternoon we were visiting Norma (the menos activa who invited us to 2 asados) and learning how to knit, when Presidente called and told me that I was going home on Thursday the 25th. It was hard news to hear, but I felt a lot of peace. I truly feel like this is God’s will. I feel sadder than sad, but I also feel really good. I have thought a lot about all the things I have been able to do in my mission and all the changes I have seen in myself, and I really think that I have accomplished what He needed me to do.

It’s like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard in Matthew 20. Some people served the whole time and others only for a few hours, but they all received the same rewards. The householder was equally grateful for all of their service. I may not be able to serve for the full 18-months, but I was able to serve a full-time mission. I dedicated all of my short 9 months to Him. I strived every day to represent Jesus Christ. I truly feel like I have come to know Him while I have been out here in Argentina. I remember leaving on my mission feeling like I would be paying a bit of my debt to Him for all that He has done for me, but I have realized that in the last 9 months I have received more blessings than I have received in my whole life hahaha. I will never be able to repay Him, but I will always be able to serve Him. I was blessed to sing in General Conference, which accomplished one of my lifelong dreams. I had the most incredible companions-Hermana Barlow, Hermana Gallagher, Hermana Tinsley, Hermana Maidana, and Hermana Verdeja. I learned so much from them. I got to meet AMAZING people here in Argentina. The people here are just the best. Super humble and always wanting to serve. The members here are super loving and have the strongest testimonies. I can’t even list all the blessings I have received, because there have been so many. I AM SO HAPPY WITH MY MISSION. I don’t feel like a failure at all. I just feel so grateful. So so so grateful for all that my Heavenly Father and Savior have given me. I might be at the end of my mission, but I am not going to stop serving Them every day. I love this gospel so much.

Sé que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Sé que esta es SU obra. Sé que he estado representandole cada día por estos 9 meses, y nada me hace más feliz. Sé que Dios es Nuestro Padre Celestial. Sé que tiene un plan perfecto por cada uno de nosotros. Sé que Jesucristo vive y que gracias a Él y Su sacrificio podemos estar con nuestras familias para SIEMPRE. Tengo tanta fe y esperanza en mi Salvador y Padre Celestial que sé que todo va a estar bien! CONFIEN EN ELLOS. Han sido mi “fortaleza y mi canción.” No puedo hacer nada sin ellos. No sería nadie sin Su ayuda. Les agradeceré para siempre por mi misión y por el evangelio y todas las personas maravillosas aquí en Argentina. Sé que esta es Su iglesia. Sé que Thomas S. Monson es un profeta llamado por Él. Sé que el evangelio trae paz. Amo a mi Salvador. AMO A MI SALVADOR. AMO A MI SALVADOR. 

Thank you all for your continual support, prayers, and fasting. Coming home won’t be super easy, but I am happy. I love you all and I will see you real soon!

Hermana Elisyn Kay Hong

On mosquito-bitten,
Bruise-spotted,
Tired, swollen knees
She humbly offers
All she is
To her Master,
Who saved her.
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Week 38: “How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord….”

“Is laid for your faith in his excellent word! What more can he say than to you he hath said, Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior, Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?” (How Firm a Foundation) This week I have been focusing a lot on relying on Christ. The last few months have been hard for me. I feel like I haven’t been the missionary that I have wanted to be. I can’t do a lot of the things I want to do, because my back hurts jajaja. But this week I realized that I might not be the perfect missionary that I want to be, but God is helping me be the missionary (and the person) He wants me to be. So I am doing okay hahha.

This week we ate another asado with Norma Quiroga. And ooooooooooooooooooo it was so good hahahaha. Lots of good meat lol. Then we also had the surprise of our life lol. CARLOS READ TO 2 NEPHI 3 ON HIS OWN JUST BECAUSE HE WANTED TO!?!?!?! WHAT!?!?!?!? THAT IS CRAZY. We were pretty happy about that. The familia Meyer is progressing well. Every visit they are a bit closer to accepting a baptismal date, but the progress is a bit slow. They just need to go to church and really pray about everything lolol. They are really great, so we will see.

WE ALSO WENT TO ROSARIO THIS WEEK FOR TRAMITES. AND IN THE BUS RIDE HOME THERE WAS THIS GUY SNORING REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LOUD. LIKE NOTHING I HAVE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE. IT WAS LIKE A MONSTER IN THE BACK OF THE BUS. WE WERE DYING OF LAUGHTER. DYING. We had a good time though. Elder Orgill and Elder Pinkston are both new in the offices, but they are really cool.

OH AND I was looking for this Argentine pastry all week hahahaha. And I found it and I ate it! It is called a palmera, and here in Argentina they have dulce de leche inside and it is so goooooooood.
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It was really nice to talk with the fam yesterday! I only have one more call left hahaha. It is weird to think I am almost halfway through my mission! I have loved being a missionary! It is awesome!

ps i attached a pic of my favorite thing in my apartment… My new dryer hahaha.

 

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Trip to Walmart
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Bowling
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singing with the STLs, actually, I don’t know what they are doing… It looks like caroling.
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Lisi and her dryer. She says it spins the clothes so they are almost dry.

Week 37: “We are troubled on every side….”

“yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, 8-9). Welp my back is still being my back. Somedays it is a lot better and then other days it is the same as usual, but I am happy, because I am still here in the mission, and I still know who Christ is! I am also happy because we have been able to work ALL DAY again! Well I am still taking 30 minutes in the afternoon to lay down with my heating pad things, but other than that we are working like normal missionaries again, because we finished PT!

This week was a bit crazy. We started it out in a trio, which was fun. The Hermana Olaya is really cute, and we get along really well. We all went to the mall and ate at Subway and McDonalds like normal people. I also ate a really tasty popsicle hahahaha. It was fun. We are starting to take advantage of living in the city and we are doing fun things! Today we are going to go to Walmart and go bowling! YEET.

Our investigators are still being a bit hard. No one was able to go to church this weekend, and we even gave everyone TWO opportunities to go to church, because we had Stake Conference this week on Saturday and Sunday…. But oh well. For now we are just gaining the trust of all the people here. Like the Familia Meyer loves us now! We visited with them twice, and they are always so nice. And we are teaching Susana (I can’t remember if I talked about her already), and in her prayer on Saturday she said THANK YOU SO MUCH THAT THE MISIONARIES SURPRISED ME WITH A VISIT. I LOVE THEM A LOT. It was so cute.

We are seeing lots of little tender mercies out here. Like on Saturday we were walking to someone’s house and we ran into a less active sister whose grandson just got home from his mission, and the other one just left. And when she saw us she invited us to eat an asado with her and her family, so yesterday we ate asado hahaha. It was awesome.

Stake conference was really nice. I like what our stake president said. He said that if we keep ALL the commandments, EVERYTHING will be okay. I really liked that. Then the President of the Area here in Argentina spoke. He said that the most common way that we partake of the sacrament unworthily is when we don’t go to church and we don’t partake, because we are ignoring the importance of our Savior.

Well basically that was my week. I have started reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish again, because I finished like 10 days ago. This time around I am writing one thing that I learn about my Savior at the bottom of every page. It has been a really cool experience. I feel like I have grown a lot closer to Him, and now I know that the Book of Mormon really is ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST.

GO READ THE BOOK OF MORMON.

I LOVE YOU ALL AND I WILL TALK TO YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON.

 

Hermana Elisyn Kay Hong

On mosquito-bitten,
Bruise-spotted,
Tired, swollen knees
She humbly offers
All she is
To her Master,
Who saved her.

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Week 36: “I would that ye should come unto Christ…”

“…who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and OFFER YOUR WHOLE SOULSas an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (Omni 1:25). I’m starting a new transfer this week! WOOOOOOT. We are both staying here in Costanera yesssssssssssssssssssssss. This area is the best. This transfer I want to give my all to this work. My last two transfers have been hard with my back, but I am hoping this transfer I will be able to work like a normal missionary again :).

This week was crazy. Every week has been crazy out here in the Costanera hahaha. But what can you do?

First of all the STLs moved in with us on Monday and then moved back out on Thursday, and it was crazy!!!!!!!

messy apartment
This is what greeted us when we got home Monday night.

My district leader and his companion had to carry all the stuff up the stairs to our apartment by themselves, and then they had to take it all out on Thursday. It has been crazy.

outside apartment
This is what we got home to Thursday when we came home for lunch hahahaha.
But the good news is that the STLs don’t live with us anymore! Yay!  We love them so much, but it was definitely a bit crowded.

Bueno. We also started teaching A FAMILY this week. The dad is menos activo, and then he has a wife and 3 kids who aren’t baptized. They have potencial so we will see where that goes. We also taught a girl who is 8 years old, and she is having lots of family problems, and really really wants to find the true church. She is really cute. Her name is Luz. We also visited Liliana, a recent convert, a lot this week. She is the best! We watched a bunch of General Conference with her. Other than that we did A LOT of contacting. We are searching for new people to teach hahahaha. Hopefully this week we will be able to work like normal missionaries and see some success 🙂

Physical therapy is going well. Today I am going to go to my last session. YAY! But I think it helped to go, so we will see what happens 🙂 We had a lot of fun in therapy. My therapist’s name is Franco, and he likes to go to raves and do drugs hahaha but we are going to give him a Libro de Mormón today and it is going to change his life 🙂 All the people who go at the same time as us love us hahaha. We have a friend named Belen, and it was her birthday on Thursday, and she came in on Friday just to bring us cake hahaha she didn’t need to come to therapy or anything ahahaha.

Anyways to finish this crazy week we are in a trio. One of the hermanas is going to train, so she had to come stay with us yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It has been fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun. YEET. Fiesta.

Love you all lots!


Hermana Elisyn Kay Hong

On mosquito-bitten,
Bruise-spotted,
Tired, swollen knees
She humbly offers
All she is
To her Master,
Who saved her.
Comp sleeps during pt
While I am doing my exercises and stuff in therapy my companion sleeps
Elder Henriquez
Elder Henriquez, who was the Elder in charge of the health of all the missionaries, goes home today, which is sad for us because he is our friend. I talked to him A LOT.
Belen and cake
Belen and her cake
Franco the physical therapist
Franco, my physical therapist

 

 

Week 35: “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength…”

“…but be diligent unto the end” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:4). This week I have been in physical therapy everyday, which leaves little time to do the work. TBH I feel a little guilty for that, but this scripture helped me feel better. It is hard to be a missionary and have health problems hahaha. I just want to WORK AND WORK AND WORK AND WORK, but that is probably not a good idea, because #pain. IDK. I think God understands that I am doing the best that I can. I sure hope so.

This week was CRAZY. We had to go to physical therapy for 2.5 hours everyday and then we have hosted missionaries from all over the mission this week almost everyday, so it was an adventure. We had very little time to go out and work. But there were some cool tender mercies, which helped a lot.

  1. The Hermanas de Federal came and stayed the night with us! But it was a bit sad for them, because one of them had to go home early 😦 but it was really nice for me to be able to talk to them and hear about my converts and investigators out there. Lidia is amazing. She is learning how to read so that she can read the Libro de Mormon, and one day she literally RAN to church, because she had some complications in the morning, but really wanted to go to church. #CONVERSION. It makes my heart happy to know that she is doing so well and is going strong still :). One of my investigators, Paula, is also progressing really well. She has a baptismal date, has gone to church a few times, and invites all her friends to listen to the missionaries. YAY TEAM. Also we were almost going to be a trio until the end of this transfer with the Hermana from Federal who didn’t leave, but now we are not a trio hahahah.
  2. I got a package! Yay for my mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is also Mama Hong’s birthday yessssssssssssssssss. My mom is the best for reals. All the missionaries with their mom was as cool as my mom, but alas. No one can be as cool as my mom. It was also Dad’s birthday yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. I also opened my mission call exactly a year ago yessssssssssssssssss. And I have been out on my mission for 8 whole months yessssssssssssss. How crazy?!?!?!
  3. I may not have had investigators go to church for like two transfers BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT on Saturday we went and visited some inactive young women in our ward and invited them to church, and they came yesterday, so I count that as a success yesssssssssssssssssssss.

I think that is all for this week?!?!?! Maybe hahaha. We are in search of new investigators, so if anyone knows anyone who lives out here and needs the gospel let us know. And also guess what?!?! The STLs out here are officially moving in with us today hahahahhahhaah #killmenow jk it will be fine hahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahhahahah. We will seeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. The STLs are super chill, so it should be okie dokie 🙂

Peace out. Love you all lots 🙂

Hermana Elisyn Kay Hong

On mosquito-bitten,
Bruise-spotted,
Tired, swollen knees
She humbly offers
All she is
To her Master,
Who saved her.

 

 

BYU bunnies
Easter bunnies? They love BYU
hermanas in the house
Hermanas in the house
more hermanas in the house
More Hermanas in the house
One year ago she got her mission call.
One year ago Lisi opened her call
Package from Mom
Mom’s package arrived
Tortas Fritas with Liliana
Tortas fritas with Liliana
chicken in Lilianas car
Holding lots of Chicken in Liliiana’s car

Week 33: “And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world…”

“whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end” (Mormon 7:7).   I really just want to be part of the “choirs above.” In Spanish the verse says “coros celestiales” instead of “choirs above,” and I like that better hahaha.

POR FIN FUI AL DOCTOR OTRA VEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They gave me pills and took some x-rays. My spine has a little curve right smack dab in the middle of my back, and my hips are uneven, which doesn’t make my back feel too good. We’re still waiting to see if we can do anything else to make it feel better, but for now, I’m happy that my back pain has decreased.

It was so nice to leave and go to work this week. And we saw crazy things happen. We had divisiones this week too, so it was just good all around.

Here’s one story that I love from this week. When we were in divisiones, Hermana Card and I were just walking to an investigator’s house and contacting a bit, and we walked past this house that is like tucked back behind this other house and has this long alley thing that leads from the front door to the street. And the door was open and this lady was inside cleaning. We just kind of kept walking, but then we took like three steps after we passed and both looked at each other and turned back haha. Turns out this lady is named Gabriela and has been searching for more peace in her life, and when we turned back to her house and gave her a pass along card that says “conoce al PRINCIPE de PAZ” she knew it was God’s way of saying that she needed to listen to our message. The next day Hermana Verdeja and I went and visited her and shared the new Easter video and the Restoration, and she kept saying “I feel so good. So happy.” Then at the end of the lesson we pulled up the bible video of Christ’s baptism and invited her to get baptized. And she said yes! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. It was awesome. The Spirit was so strong!

I also want to tell you all about my new grandpa, Carlos. He is one of our new investigators from before reposo, and he is the best. He owns a kiosco right by our apartment, and we visit him every night. He is the best. IDK how to explain how awesome he is. But we are teaching him and his two friends that always visit him in his kiosco. It is fun 🙂

So basically I am doing well. Much better than last week! Also I am currently wearing tights, because it is cold outside and my heart is very happy.

I love you all so much! Thank you all for your prayers!!!!

Pics:

missionary pandas
Hermana Verdeja and I are pandas.
hermana white with nametag
Hermana White forgot her nametag the other day when we helped with una Capilla Abierta, so I lent her mine. It was weird hahaha.
at doctor
Us at the doctor