Friday, September 17, 2010

A Step Into the Dark

So we didn’t expect me to personally post on here again so soon, huh? Here’s the deal now…

I’ve come home from my mission early. Because of the normal stresses of a mission and my having Aspergers, as well as other random stresses of life I was having, my stress was compounded and by the twelfth week I was in the field (15 weeks total), I was becoming less and less effective, to the point where I was having mental breakdowns almost every day. As a result, President Brower (my mission president), who had known about the building stresses for some time, with the advice of Brother Miller, a psychiatrist at LDS Family Services in Etobicoke, Ontario suggested that I take a break from my mission. Last Tuesday (September 14) President Brower told me that I was officially being extended an honorable medical release from my mission, with the possibility of returning when this is all sorted out.

Now some may wonder why I’m going into so much detail on this. I know that my parents have told me that I don’t need to explain all the situation in detail to anyone, but I am not ashamed of being sent home early for medical reasons, even if they are psychological medical reasons. I know for a fact that my Heavenly Father is pleased with the work I performed in Brampton, Ontario these last three months. He has blessed me so much for all that I’ve done and I wouldn’t trade those three months for anything.

I’m not sure if I’m going to go back to my mission, to complete the other 21 months. I honestly don’t know. All I know is that right now, I’m where Heavenly Father needs me. I would love to go back and finish, but now it’s more important to me to follow my Father’s plan for me. For all I know, those three and a half months were all He needed me in the field for.

But even if I don’t go back, I feel as though I’ve had a full mission experience (not that I would say no to more of that experience, of course): I was able to participate in a saving ordinance for someone we’d taught (Louie). I had an amazing companion who was more amazing and charitable and loving than I could have ever expected (Elder Call). I experienced being transferred to a new area (out of Creditview and into Heart Lake) and white-washing that area (for those of you who don’t know, white-washing is when both missionaries are new in the area after a transfer). I experienced how it felt when an investigator who is so close to baptism has to delay that amazing blessing because they don’t believe they can pay tithing (Tek). For three days, while my companion was at leadership training, I even got to experience being senior companion. I experienced the efforts that go into reactivating people and families. I even got to teach a Sunday School class one week when the Ward Mission Leader was away! Not only did I have all these experiences that most missionaries have, but because of the things that happened to me, I think I may have had more interaction with my mission president in three months than some missionaries have in two years.

I have no regrets coming home. I know for a fact that my efforts have been accepted by the Lord. Seven months ago, I didn’t know if I’d ever get to serve a mission at all. Perhaps those three months I got were just Heavenly Father’s way of granting my wish, before having me move on to bigger and better things. I don’t know. Those three months mean everything to me. If it’s part of His plan, I know that there will be a time when Heavenly Father will send me out again. Until then, my mission president said to live like I’m done my mission, but work toward being able to come back.

One thing I really want to get across in this post is the same as something I said to my mom as I called her from President Brower’s office, just before leaving for the airport: This is right. There is a powerful testimony in those three words, as President Brower noted to me afterward. How amazing is that that I know that this is right? Many people have wondered, since I got home, if I’m okay. I assume it’s because many missionaries who come home early for medical reasons get depressed. That’s not me. By the time I got to the mission home on Wednesday to go to the airport with President Brower, I was at peace with this.

I know that I’m on the path of where my Father needs me to be. I have no clue what that is, but I know that He knows and He will lead me by the hand as I take each step forward into the dark. His plan is perfect and it’s by following His plan that we can and will obtain the greatest happiness.

I say these things in the sacred name of my older Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.