Thursday, June 11, 2015

Welcome Home Elder!

Matt's home-coming
June 11, 2015. The day that Elder Adam Millett was scheduled to come home. If all had gone as planned, I would be arriving in the airport to all of my family. There would be balloons and banners and plenty of tears. I would come home and have my favorite food, most likely my mom's Apricot Salsa Chicken. (That stuff is to die for!) I would be playing with my nephews--one of whom I wouldn't have met yet--and meeting my new brother-in-law. I would head over to the Stake President's Office and be released from my service as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This coming Sunday, I would be reporting to the Stake High Council then giving a home-coming talk in my family ward.

Courtney's home-coming
Instead, here I sit living a life I didn't imagine. Instead of celebrating with my family tonight, I'm working as a sound tech at BYU. Instead of being released from being a full time missionary, I was just released from serving in the Elder's Quorum. Instead of getting my way, I've been thrown down the Lord's Way. There weren't balloons; There wasn't any party; I couldn't even eat my mom's chicken when I got home. There isn't a picture of me coming down the escalators at the airport like every other missionary. I didn't give a home-coming talk. But you know what? I wouldn't change that for the world!

I would have loved to stay in So Flo and teach the gospel! I prayed very fervently to stay and I couldn't imagine doing anything else during that time. However, the experiences I have had being home is something I never could have gained in the field. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I
didn't come home.

Recently, I was speaking with a friend of mine that was undergoing some very tough times battling depression and anxiety. We sat together as he shed tears of pain, not knowing how he could go on. He expressed his feelings of loneliness and describing the many times that he had prayed for help but didn't feel like the Lord ever answered his prayers. He didn't feel like he had the faith to receive an answer to his prayers. At that time I felt like I needed to put my arm around him and tell him that God did care. In my mind came a very distinct impression. "Sometimes we don't need the faith to receive an answer, but the faith to see how God has answered our prayers."

A very real feeling that I and many other missions who return home early due to illness experience is that we didn't have the faith to be healed. I mentioned in an earlier post how it wasn't faith to be healed that I needed, but the faith not to be healed. I needed the faith to be able to continue forward, doing the will of the Lord no matter what happened. Having that faith is what helped me come home. Now, my view is a little different. While I strive to "have the faith not to be healed," I also now seek to have the faith to see how God has answered my prayers. There were three things that I specifically prayed for over and over on my mission. I always thought that those prayers went unanswered. Now, as I continue to strive to have that faith, I understand how he has answered those prayers.

1. Please bless me to be whole. -- Well it's safe to say that I'm not infected anymore! While my body still has a hard time every now and then, I'm still able to get up and go! I'm even training for a half marathon on Halloween. (I guess now that it's public, I can't back out right???)

2. Let me be able to work -- Oh I'm working, probably too much! I'm involved with campus service groups, research projects, sound engineering, volunteering at the hospital, callings, musical groups! I wouldn't mind a little break now!

3. Let me stay and serve -- Well, I didn't get to stay, but at least He let me keep serving. This past semester, I was able to serve as the Elder's Quorum President. I can honestly say that some of my most amazing experiences this year have been as a result of that calling. Because of that calling, I have learned things I couldn't have learned in the field.

Nearly 25 years ago, Elder Richard G. Scott said, "If you feel that God has not answered your prayers...carefully look for evidence in your own life of His having already answered you." (Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayers). I now understand that truly, God does answer our prayers, just in ways different than that which we imagined. As we open our eyes in faith to the miracles that surround us, we will recognize the responses to our private pleas; we will come to recognize just how present God's hand is in our life.

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