Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Letter: A Lesson in Universal Truth

Dear family, 

I can't believe that this is the last letter that I will write to you from the mission field. It's strange to think about. In fact, I've been doing a lot of thinking this past week and I've concluded that one of the great universal truths of life as a missionary is that time passes by quickly and slowly all at the same time. To me, it feels as if the summer that I left behind in June 2013 has never really ended, but already this little island is lit up with Christmas lights to celebrate the close of 2014. And at the same time I feel as if I've been here a lot longer than a year and a half because my life before the mission often seems so blurry and distant. Sometimes I even feel as if I'll been here and be a missionary for the rest of my life. So it's difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that my time here has come to a close. It just doesn't seem real yet, and I'm not sure when it's going to hit me. 

I don't know if I've changed all that much either. Sometimes I feel like a different person altogether, but other times I remember that the simple passage of time doesn't automatically imply a notable change. I think I am different though - in the way I see and respond to things and the things I want and hope for - but that's another universal truth: we, as humans, are awful at judging ourselves. So I suppose you'll all have to help me out with that one. 

One thing I am sure of, however, is that this Church is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate universal truth: whether we believe it or reject it, it has been and always will be true. And it is universal and eternal: it is for everyone and it is forever. 

If I could walk off the plane with nothing but this testimony and my memories of the lessons I learned over the past 18 months... that would be enough for me. But, as usual, I have been blessed far beyond the minimum, and I have no doubt that the Lord will continue to bless me as I begin this new, exciting chapter of my life. 

Until Wednesday, 

Hna. Olsen


- Please bring a coat and blanket to the airport. I have no doubt that I will be very cold. Some of Dad's chocolate chip cookies would be nice, too.

Surprise birthday parties for Kaitlin at the Santana home and at Carmen's house

Birthday party

Carmen's kids

Leaving Ocoa this morning, on the way home