Friday, December 10, 2010

I heart Boston 12/6/10/10

How blessed am I? The Lord loves me so much that he sent me to my favorite city, during my mission! I have honestly loved being here in Boston! I can't believe that my time here is over! I learned so much here and cannot describe in words how much my love for this city has grown.
In many aspects this was the hardest time during my mission. Previous to my mission I learned that the singles wards here are among the best in the world. There are students here from around the country that are pursuing very rigorous degrees and are ambitious in so many ways. The ward helped me to work harder and to see my potential as a young adult, prior to my mission. I feel that coming here as a missionary multiplied that experience by 1,000. Trying to handle the identity crisis and akward peer interactions while being bold and humble about missionary work was incredibly difficult. I have never felt so stretched and pulled in my entire life. At times I would think, really Heavenly Father? You really want me here? It was hard to understand why I was here when I could have been sent to any mission in the country. There were many times when I felt that I something wasn't right or I could have handled situations very differently. So in short it was like the New York, New York roller coaster in Las Vegas. Awesome right? Heck yes! I recognize that being here was exactly what the Lord wanted for me to learn what I needed. I still know that I am learning and that I will never be a perfect missionary, but I am so grateful and feel so privileged that the Lord has given me such great trials. I tried my hardest to make the most of the experiences that were given to me. My love for the members in the wards here is incredible. I have visited with them on many occasions about the difficulties of missionary work in this city, and prayed with them for the courage to just do it! I have reflected upon my missionary experiences here before my mission, what I had done well, but mostly how I can achieve the work when I return.
My love for the Elders and Sisters in this mission grew also over time. You may remember my first few emails when I spoke of the disobedience that I had seen and ineffectiveness that really made me so sad. While there was no excuse there, I have also seen how wonderful and truly hardworking these missionaries are. They are working at their own pace on a schedule that the Lord has marked for them... not me :) Last Thursday I was able to participate in the departing testimony meeting for the Elders and Sisters leaving the mission. Sister Cheng and I were also asked to share our testimonies. The chapel was full of members and investigators who had come to love these Elders these last two years. I just observed in tears during the meeting as humble testimonies were born of their missionary experiences. It was kind of a pre-departure for me, since I still have 3 months left :) OH I was so overcome with the spirit to be a part of that meeting!!! Watching these elders say their farewells to people whom they have grown to love so much was so touching! We then went to the mission home for dinner and I reflected upon my own brother, Elder Denver Porter in this same home about 8 years ago also finishing his mission here in Boston. I imagined my parents coming to pick him up and what an incredible time that must have been for them. Oh so many thoughts that I am so grateful for.
There is so much that I could say about this experience!!! But I don't have enough time! Words cannot describe how I feel about missionary work and the love I have for my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. He is the center of all human history. The joy that came to my heart as I shared my simple testimony with countless people on the street, at school campuses, parking lots, trains and buses, in homes, and in church houses is beyond words! My eternal perspective also grew as I attended the temple with missionaries and felt the peace of Boston in a special way. I know that our lives may be empty without missionary work and our joy only momentary, but by making the Lord and his work a part of our everyday life, our joy will be full! We can follow Alma's example who watched his sons go forth to preach the word and he to "could not rest and he also went forth" (Alma 43:1) I hope we can all not just try to be better member missionaries, but just do it :)
I love this work and I love the Lord. I can't wait to be back at Temple Square in two days and continue the work there!
-Sister Carly Jo Porter

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