There are periods of my life where, when I look back, I can’t help but be caught up in the weight of nostalgia. Places I long to return to. But know it will never be how it was. Time moves. People grow. Places change.
One such period was the 18 months I spent in western Washington. I left my family, left my schooling, left my home, to be a missionary. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week I was dedicated to a work far bigger than me. But I knew my drop in the bucket mattered, counted even. Counted in big ways. When I wasn’t teaching about Christ I was trying to serve others as He had. When I wasn’t searching for an ear to listen, I was praying to find one. It was a time when all my focus, all of it, was given to service.
As missionaries, we always have a companion–another Sister you live with, work with, teach with, and serve with. You are with her every day, all day. Every few months you get a new companion and are even possibly moved to another city to work. But my mission experience was unique in that I spent the middle eleven months in one city. And of those eleven months, nine of them were spent with one companion, Sister Wilkins.
I’ve found it’s hard to explain a “mission” to someone who hasn’t been on one. It’s just difficult to find the words. Impossible almost to express the depth of emotion you experience when you’re serving a “strange” people in a “foreign” land with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. So to try and recap even half of the time I spent with “Wilkie-poo” would be futile (although maybe someday I’ll write about how she got that nickname). Perhaps someday I’ll force myself to sit down and write about my mission, but today, I’ll just say: “I love you Sis.”
Sister Wilkins (Kimber), ended up marrying a wonderful man after we had completed our mission work and last month they hired me to take their family photos. It was a joy to be with them, play with their precious (and hilarious) children, remember who we were, and where we were, and what we were doing nine years ago, but more especially, to see who we’ve all become. Thanks Bob and Kimber, it was a pleasure.