Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Fond Farewell

The nature of this letter will be much different than any other letter I have written for the past 7 months. As many of you are well aware, I have been dealing with a lot of pain in my knees lately. It's gotten to the point where I can no longer walk for extended periods of time and there's a constant pain no matter what I do. It's begun to seriously impede missionary work in Biloxi and where I can no longer function well as a missionary because the pain is much too great.
At first, I was determined to press through it. I remembered a blessing I received awhile back from my District Leader who said, when being the mouthpiece, that the Lord wanted me to remember that an essential part of His gospel is enduring to the end.
I wasn't about to give up. I kept going. Day after day, I'd walk the distances required - attempting to hide the fact that I was in severe pain. As time went by, the pain intensified. Then I began to noticed that because I was concentrating so much on enduring and pressing onward, I didn't have my full heart and mind on the work of God. I could no longer teach by the Spirit because I was hurting way too much.
After a very long meeting with President McDonough, we came to the conclusion that it was getting much worse and the best option would be to return home to ensure a full recovery. I was very hesitant at first - I did not want to leave. At all. He invited me to pray hard about it for a week and let him know what I finally decided.
I began to fast and pray and study very very fervently. But I believe that I always knew that I was supposed to go home. It was my gut reaction but I didn't want to go - so I denied it. Yet, as I prayed with all I had to the Lord asking for His counsel and guidance, I always felt that I had to return home.
Thus, I have made one of the hardest decisions I've ever made - the decision to put down my nametag for the last time - 11 months too early. For the time being, I am more than determined to get better as quickly as possible and return to the mission field but I do realize the fact that this might not happen.
I do not regret making the decision to serve a full-time mission. When I first got here, it was hard. The South was rough to me. I found that my testimony was tried again and again. At times, I questioned why I was out when no one was receptive to the message that I carried. There were moments when I just wanted to give in and call it all for naught. The South was rough to me. I cannot even count how many times a door has been slammed in my face. How many times I felt so tired and discouraged. How many times someone told me I was following something wrong and I'd have to account to God for it someday. The South was rough to me.
But that was when my testimony was truly born. Hours a week tracting. Countless lessons. Numerous visits to members. It was here in Mississippi where I became the woman I am today. It was here where I gained a truly unshakeable testimony. It was here where I learned that Heavenly Father is real and that He loves me. It was here where I witnessed many many miracles and the tender mercies of the Lord. The South has been good to me.
They say that on your mission, the best convert is yourself. I witness and testify that is true. The Church could send out much older and more experienced men than 18 and 19 year olds and they could probably convert more people than we could. Yet, I know that they send out young teenagers to preach the Gospel because that is where the true converts come.
While serving, I knocked on an average of 5300 doors. Left an average of 5300 thousand seeds through pass-along cards. Many would say my mission was for the naught - that it's the least baptising mission in the Western hemisphere. You know what I'd say? It's the best mission in the world.
It breaks my heart to leave, but I will paint a nametag on my heart and be a missionary forever. There is so much I've seen on my mission and so much that has changed me. I got a front row seat to watching the Spirit change other's lives. I count myself so blessed to have had that.
I end today with my strong and firm testimony - He lives! There is nothing that is impossible with Jesus Christ. This is His true church and His kingdom here on the Earth today. I know because I have witnessed it. I have felt it. I have studied it. This is the only way to salvation - this religion is to save souls. The Gospel is the good news that there is hope and a future for all of us.
He lives!

All my love,

Sister Sarah Michéle Durrant

1 comment:

  1. Thank you!! Your words touched my heart. My son came home early as well and it has been hard and he will not be returning to the mission field. but he is now able to move forward with his life and go to college etc. With the knowledge that he served to the best of his ability and the Lord knows this. You are a strong young woman, May the Lord bless you with what you need and may your life be one of happiness and fond memories of your mission. It doesnt matter how long you served ,, it matters THAT you served. Like Peter when he walked on water, nost people talk about him falling in and the Lord helping him out... But WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS THAT HE WALKED ON WATER, doesnt matter for how long, he did it. Just like I tell my son and now you...YOU SERVED A MISSION. Maybe not in the way you originally thought. The Lord knows the intent of our hearts and that you wanted to serve more but could not. Bless you Sister Durrant.