Well it was a pretty great week here in Prato! I was able to say goodbye to a bunch of people. It's been kind of strange "dying" in a city that I just got to. I really did love the people here right off the bat (a perk that comes with the calling, I think). Everyone's just confused as to why I'm already leaving, even though I just got here. :) I learned a lot in this city. I was able to meet a few people that I know Heavenly Father placed in my path for a reason. And I hope that I was able to be that person for others. I was supposed to have my last three REAL hours of missionary work tonight in Prato. But then we got a call from the APs yesterday morning and our travel plans for transfers are a little complicated... Basically, this afternoon we have to head to Pisa, where I will say goodbye to Sorella Gregg so that she can head to Firenze with one of the Pisa sorelle. So I will spend the evening in Pisa with Sorella Griffin (whom I ADORE). Unfortunately, she and I won't actually be spending time together because she will be in a culture class from 5 to 10 and I will be waiting for her outside in the hall. :) Haha, not exactly how I expected to spend my last night in the mission, but I just do what they tell me to! And then she and I will drive to Milano tomorrow morning. I'll drop off the car in Cimiano and then I'll head with all of the other dying missionaries to the mission home. We'll have our exit interviews and have dinner and all sorts of fun stuff that are currently...unknown to me. There will probably be lots of tears. And then we'll spend the night in Milano and head to the airport on Friday morning. After that...well...you guys know how the rest of the story goes.
It's a really strange thing, writing my very last email home from my mission. I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings and a lot of...just...everything (literally though, I'm still working on getting my luggage to weigh less...). But how do you sum up a year and a half of learning and growing and stretching? You don't, I guess. This is one of those experiences that I'll never be able to fully describe to anyone. It was incredible. It was awful. It was life-changing. It was uncomfortable. It was exciting. It was just so worth it. I can't imagine my life without it and I'm glad I don't have to. A few mission consiglios ago, Sorella Dibb was doing a part of the training and she read a quote by C.S. Lewis that I loved and I want to share it with you guys: "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different..." That is truth, right there. Looking back now, everything is different. My whole eternal perspective has shifted. My priorities have changed. But, to be honest? I don't think that I, as a person, have changed that much. What I'm trying to say is you don't have to worry about seeing a stranger step off that airplane. It's hard to describe. In Abraham, it mentions something about being "added upon." I guess if there's any way to describe how I feel or the ways in which I've changed, it would be with that phrase. I truly do feel "added upon." And I am so grateful for that, because I was lacking. I'm still lacking and I'll continue to be lacking for a very long time. But the beauty of this whole experience (life) is to be added upon and added upon, continuously. Over and over and over again. And aren't we lucky that the Atonement of Christ gives us the opportunity to be added upon. To start over, learn, experience, grow. All of it is "grazie a Lui." I have grown closer to my Savior throughout this experience. I have seen Him perform miracles in the lives of those I've taught and those I've served with. Isn't it crazy how a sacrifice that was made so long ago still provides us with miracles today? THAT is the infinite power of the Atonement. I know that He lives. And I know that He loves us.