Sunday, April 23, 2017

Open the Gates

Kia Ora!

So it is currently 11:51 PM, but it's finals week and life is crazy anyway and I just really wanted to write.  In only four days (that's like nothing) I will be back home in Nevada with my first pre-mission semester all finished.  I've been rushing around studying, going to classes, having choir concerts, going on a few dates, stressing over singing for the voice faculty for a grade for juries, and now taking finals.  But only today did I really realize how blessed I've been.

I know it's different for a lot of people, but for me, coming off my mission has been kind of rough.  I am just really bad at change and I get really attached to people and places (like New Zealand).  So I've been trying to rebuild my civilian (can that mean non-missionary?  Is that a thing) life and figure out my future and whatnot.  Sometimes I felt like I would never feel quite the way I felt on my mission.

But today, I realized that I won't, because you can't relive the past.  It will never be exactly the same, but it will be the same amount of wonderfulness and even better.  This semester I got to be really, really good friends with a girl named Kimmy.  She's the choir director in my ward and we are just kindred spirits.  We hugged each other and just cried after ward prayer tonight.  Her boyfriend Kenton is quite the character, but he's great.  He's also in our ward and in Concert Choir.  Well, last week he proposed and they are now engaged!  I'm so excited for them!!!  They are perfect for each other.

But Kimmy and I were walking to tunnel singing.  Kenton was running ahead pushing our friend Anthony's wheelchair.  But she was telling me that she never, ever believed that this would happen.  But our amazing bishop was inspired to make her the ward choir director and him the pianist.  Heavenly Father totally put them into each other's lives.  We always talk about how Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that he will guide us and everything, but it just seemed really real to me.  I was in this ward, with this wonderful bishop, with these wonderful friends, with a wonderful voice teacher, and this wonderful roommate on purpose.  God knew I needed Hannah in my life and Hannah needed me in her's.  She only swapped into our room like the week before the semester.  But it was for a reason.  We will be friends forever.

Today I also got to ride up to Salt Lake with a bunch of mission friends.  I think there were 10 of us.  We all went to Sister Parkinson's homecoming and sang "Whaakaria Mai" ("How Great Thou Art" in Maori).  It was just wonderful to be with them and feel the spirit and have so much fun together.  The Rudds were there and then we all went to Sister Parkinson's (Sarah, I should say) and just talked and talked about New Zealand and our missions and our lives.  (I'm working on saying their first names.  I still kind of hate it.)  But I looked around at Emily Green and Elise Machen and Sarah Parkinson and thought of all the car rides and exchanges and heart-to-hearts I've had with them.  It made me so grateful that Heavenly Father knew me enough to send me to New Zealand, of all places in the world.  He let me meet these wonderful people who will be my friends forever.

I am so glad that I can trust Heavenly Father.  I can close my eyes and walk into the unknown with full confidence that he will catch me.  Today Kimmy told me that she feels like Heavenly Father closed the door she was trying to open and instead, opened a big, huge gate.  I'm grateful for the gates that he's opened in my life.

I could write a paragraph each about everyone in my wonderful ward, my mission friends and so many other great people I know.  I don't have time for that, but just know that whoever you are, if you are reading this then I'm sure I love you a lot.  Wish me luck on my Music Civ final tomorrow!

Arohanui,

Clarissa :)

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