My name is Jocelyn and I was blessed to be called to serve in the Florida Tallahassee Mission! This was the best and hardest thing that I have ever done in my life.
I had the opportunity to be part of my cousin's conversion process a month before I reported. He was 17 at the time and stellar young man. He was so excited for me and the day of his confirmation he told me how he wanted to go on a mission! I am so proud of him.
I am the only active one in my family and the first generation missionary. I felt that this was going to be a changing point for my family! Heavenly Father blesses His missionaries right? My family was going to come back to church! I could feel it! I knew that my mission was for them....or so I thought...
I had the opportunity to serve the Lord for 9 months; it was the hardest yet sweetest thing that could have happened. It started before the MTC. I didn't want to go. My "less active" family forced me to go. At the MTC the stressors of missionary life hit. I felt that I didn't know anything. I wasn't as smart or impressive as my fellow missionaries, I felt so inadequate. That was normal right?
It started to escalate while in the mission field. I was tired all the time. No amount of sleep could help. My trainer didn't understand. I felt out of place. Things started to get better. The transfer was seemed brighter and life started to make sense.
It was my fifth transfer when things went south, quickly. I was transferred into a new area, thrown into relationships that the previous sisters established. I was senior companion and that's when the work stood at a stand still. I again was experiencing being tired all the time but I couldn't sleep at all. I would cry all the time. I would have no motivation to do anything. I felt like a failure. Most of all, I felt abandoned my God. I couldn't feel the spirit. What kind of missionary could I be when I couldn't fulfill MY one purpose? How could I bring others unto Christ when I felt that I was so far away?
After hours of kneeling tear filled pleading with my Heavenly Father, I finally talked to my Mission President. He recommended that I talk to the mission counselor who after a long conversation told me that I was suffering from depression.
The next month was so hard. Little did I know that I was wrapping up my last month as a missionary. I counciled with my God that I was going to try everything I possibly could do before being sent home. I always wanted to be a missionary. Even if I was unhappy, I wanted to finish! I never quit anything before, but after me fighting and shedding so many tears my Mission President told me that I needed to go home.
It provided so much peace and so much heartbreak all at the same time. I knew that this is what I was suppose to do but it wasn't what I wanted to do. I have never cried so much in my whole life. What would my family think? What would my cousin think!? I didn't want this to deter him from serving. What would my Savior think? It was this whirl wind of emotions and feelings of inadequacy that kept getting worse and worse. This is what I was suppose to do and I was going to do it.
Being home was just as hard. I tried to plunge into things to quickly and got a job right away. It was stretching me thin. After working there for a week I quit because I couldn't do it. I felt like a complete and utter failure.
I am Jocelyn and I only served a 9 month mission because I am suffering from depression but I was a successful missionary. I experienced everything that I needed to do and my loving, caring God didn't want to see me suffer anymore. I learned how real the atonement is. I learned that God does answer prayers through the scriptures and prophets. Elder Holland's talk "Like a broken Vessel" helped so much as well as 2 Nephi 4:17-35, Romans 8:18, Mosiah 24 and lastly: D&C 124:49. I know that God is pleased with all that I did. I know that He has better and happier plan for me. I know that I have these experiences to share and help others because God loves all His children.
I know that this gospel is true. I know that Christ and God live. Even though coming home early was the hardest decision I have ever done, I know that it was the best. I have grown and was shaped in a way that I can't even imagine. I love the Book of Mormon and the Bible so much. I know that it is the word of God! I know how darkness feels. I know how being abandoned feels. But I also know how light feels. For all those who have came home early and life isn't making all that much sense...it will get better. Never stop praying! Never stop reading your scriptures! Keep going out with the missionaries. Help them out in ways you wish you had as a missionary. Be the best member missionary and representative of Christ that you can be. Even though you aren't wearing a tag doesn't mean you aren't an Elder or a Sister. Help bring Heavenly Father's children back to Him using those gifts you've cultivated while serving the Lord! We all have to experience our own Gethsemane so that we can become as Christ--perfect! Things will get better. I promise.