I received a mission call to serve an LDS mission in Donetsk, Ukraine. I made the decision to serve after careful thought, consideration, and prayer. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life. And serving that mission is still probably the hardest thing I've done in my life so far.
But it's also one of the most important. It set the trajectory for my future. That mission is holy to me, for it is one of those sacred spots of earth and time where I came to know Jesus.
I have written a lot about my mission on this blog and elsewhere. I guess it's true what they say. You can take the girl out of the mission, but you can't take the mission out of the girl.
But today, five years after receiving that call, I simply want to say that I am deeply humbled and deeply grateful.
Thanks be to God for knowing the faithscape of a nation and the landscape of the heart.
For knowing that I needed Ukraine. And that Ukraine--in some small way--needed me.
For allowing me to clumsily try to deliver His message of love to His children there.
For giving me more than I ever deserved.
For allowing me to love so much it hurt.
For showing me the beauty of the Russian language, the resiliance of the Ukrainian spirit, and the strength of Ukrainian women.
For giving me a bit of that resiliance and strength to carry home.
And thanks be to God that He is the healer of nations and of souls.
I haven't forgotten.
And I never will.