This can’t be happening. Not now. Not to me. It was the day after Christmas and I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom. The phone was in my hand—-the black screen screaming at me, “It’s over.” I had just gotten off the phone with Sister R, the mission President’s wife, who was the mission medical coordinator and had told her that I was still sick with bronchitis. To be exact this was my fourth or fifth (I lost count) time in 2013 that I had had bronchitis. If you added up the total amount of time that I had been sick in the past eleven and half months it would be eight months. Eight long months of bronchitis (possibly phenomena), colds, exhaustion, and who knows what else (oh, how fun is the human body?). Sister R told me that she was “going to make some phone calls” and let me know if was going to go home. This simply translated to, “I’m going to call the mission president, who will call your Stake President and SLC missionary headquarters, to get you an airplane ticket to fly you home pronto.”
I felt sick to my stomach. How could I possibly leave Maryland? How could I possibly leave so many people that I love? How could I possibly take off the badge that represented the entire reason why I left everything behind? How could I tell Connie and Brandie? How could I tell my companion? How come I couldn’t finish the last six months of my mission? How could I ever face my family? So many unanswered questions raced through my mind.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see my family or anything. I had missed them desperately. But going home early was never an option for me. It wasn’t that I was a bad missionary (mind you, I was not a perfect missionary but I sincerely did try) and I had done my best to be exactly obedient and to follow the culture of Nephi. But returning home early….ugh…..not an option for me. I am not the kind of person who signs up for something and only finishes two-thirds of it. Returning home honorably for other missionaries is perfectly fine. Bodies aren’t perfect. That is a universal fact in Heavenly Father’s laws. That’s the entire reason why we are here on this Earth: To work through the “opposition in all things” in mortality by relying on the Savior and His teachings. But it’s not okay in my book (can anyone smell pride?). Why now? Why did I have to go home? Why couldn’t I just get better really fast? Why couldn’t I stay for my last six months? Why, why, why?
I got up to go tell my companion what happened. Still in shock, we both hugged and cried lots. I did not want to go home. But at the same time I was sick of being sick. All I wanted was to be better so I could go teach the people in the Maryland about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see Mormon.org). Eventually, my companion and I had a long talk after the water works turned off and she gave me a lot of reassurance that Heavenly Father always knows what is best for me and everyone in the world. She was 100% right. Heavenly Father always had a plan. Always.