Hello! This week has been super tough. I actually really considered not writing a letter this week, but I think that it is through the hardest parts of our missions that we learn and grow the most. I think there is value in recognizing that missionary life is really hard sometimes!
Before I served a mission, I knew it would be hard. When I got my call to the Philippines, I knew it would be really hard! I already knew in my head that I would have hard companions, that I might get head lice, bed bugs, hundreds of mosquito bites. I thought that I'd probably get homesick. I knew at some point the food would make me sick. I expected bucket showers, long hot days of rejection, big spiders, flying cock roaches, washing my laundry by hand.. I had heard almost every returned missionary testify that it was the hardest 2 years, but the best 2 years. I knew it was going to be really, really tough. But- I was willing to do it. It was an opportunity for me to show my Savior how much I love Him. It was a time for me to help others have the joy and blessings that I've had my whole life. I knew it would be hard, but that I would have heavenly help, and would learn and grow in the process.
And, for the past 15 months, that is about what has happened! Almost every trial that I expected would come, came. Of course, it wasn't easy, but I was able to look at it like an adventure, and it was what I had mentally prepared myself for. I was able to find things to be grateful for and overall maintain and really happy and positive perspective.
This past week, however, a trial came that wasn't really in the plans! Give me lice, bad food, crazy companions- whatever. But this particular trial-heck no, no way, no sir ree. And, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was not in the ideal mission Sister Lockwood had planned.
So for the first few days, I just prayed and prayed that it would be gone. I thought, okay, if I have enough faith and determination, it will go away. I struggled and cried...and for the first time in my entire mission, I began to wonder if I could go on. I thought, maybe this is too big for me. Maybe I can't actually do it. I tried to be strong, just talk my way out of it, but I just literally could not move forward!
Finally, after hours on my knees, and after quite honestly feeling pretty sorry for myself, I realized that I needed to give in. I needed to be humble and figure out what the Lord was trying to teach me. I had to let go of the ideal mission that I had planned for myself.. and accept the mission that Heavenly Father had planned for me, whatever that might be.
And, of course, that is WAY easier said than done. At first, I thought, "Wait a minute? I just want to be a happy and healthy and hard working obedient missionary! Is that not the Lord's will for me? You want me to be happy right? Well, just in case you haven't noticed this isn't makin me so happy!" And right there... is where the lesson begins..
"Know thou, my daughter, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?"
Heavenly Father does want each of us to be happy. That is His greatest desire! But He sees a bigger picture than we see. He wants us to be happy now, but, what is MORE important to Him, is who he wants us to become, and how we can be happy for eternity. And sometimes, the only way to become that person, and to reach that happiness, is through trials. Its through those tests and times of despair that we start to reach that divine potential.
I am still trying to be humble and learn what the Lord has to teach me. But I am so thankful. For the first time in maybe my whole life- I really began to understand just a tiny bit of what the Savior felt when he cried out, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
For all of us, for every missionary, and for every person on the planet, we will have times when we feel we cannot go on. We will wonder if we have the strength to move forward, and we do! We always do. Because the Savior of the world came before us. He is our source of strength, and He is there when nobody else is.
I know with all my heart that Heavenly Father loves us. We are His children. His love is unfailing, and He will help us through every trial that we face. I am so thankful to be a missionary. To face trials that I never thought I would, and to come to know my Savior a little bit better.
Lots of love,
(Kayla did not send any pictures this week but I am pulling these off of the mission blog and Sister Teo's blog. Kayla got a new companion this week, Sister Veras, from Hawaii. Sister Veras used to be Sister Teo's companion.)
"Christmas is coming, so we are already wrapping presents for missionaries. (You have to start early when you have over 200 children! ) :) (Thank goodness for wonderful Sisters who help me with this project!)" Sister Ostler
Missionary Leadership Council
Sister Veras (before she was Kayla's companion)
Sister Veras from Hawaii