Growing up I had really bad blood circulation. I have no idea how it started, but if I stand for long periods of time, or do anything that requires me to be on my feet, my feet get really swollen. And it’s painful.
My shoes won’t fit, they hurt, I can’t walk or do the things I need to do. And it’s a pain. It only happens in the hotter months. And it hasn’t happened in years. I was better, and my doctors gave me the okay for my mission. My bishop and stake president didn’t think it would be a problem. We all thought I would be able to handle it and that everything would be fine.
But I guess Heavenly Father has a different plan than I do. By the first night of being at the MTC, my feet and ankles were so swollen and I was in so much pain. I was miserable. Every morning getting up and out of bed was hard because when I would sleep at night, I would be immobile for so long, that it made initially getting up in the morning incredibly hard. I would almost fall to the ground of my apartment every morning. I started getting up 10 minutes earlier so I could walk around the room I shared with my companion and try and make my ankles less stiff.
I got to the MTC on a Wednesday, and on Friday night, I asked my district leader to give me a blessing. It was an amazing blessing. And it made me so much happier. A lot happier. I was still swollen, still in pain, but happier. And that changed a lot of things. It made a lot of experiences better for me.
It made it easier to go to my classes and accomplish the things I had to do. Because before it was really hard. I was miserable and it showed. My companion and district tried their best to help me when they could. And my teachers in the MTC would let me put my feet up on an extra chair we had in our classroom. That helped a lot.
On Sunday, my branch president ordered a doctor appointment for me the next day. The doctor I saw at the MTC, said I would have to either get surgery in Salt Lake City, or go home. I was dumbfounded. Those were my only two choices?? I just started sobbing. All I ever wanted to do was serve a mission. But I thought about it for a few minutes. If I decided on surgery, I’d still want to be at home with my own doctors to do that. But I knew my doctors wouldn’t do it, or recommend it. It seemed the only answer was to go home. Because the MTC doctor wouldn’t let me wait a few days and think about it. It was a right then decision. And I felt like I had to go home. To talk to my parents. I’m a 19 year old girl, and surgery is a big decision. I was in a state of shock. I was going home.
I was leaving the next morning (Tuesday), with other missionaries who were leaving for their missions. I had less than 8 hours to pack. I had to wake up at 4 am, and be at the Chapel by 4:30. The buses took me and some other missionaires to a train station. It made a few stops along the way, then we had to switch trains. That train took us straight to the Salt Lake City Airport. Ironically? The morning I left, my feet/ankles weren’t hurting me like they had been. They hurt every so often, but not like they had before. That was the easiest morning to get up on my mission ever.
Once in the Airport walking to my gate it actually really hit me. I was going home. After 6 days. I had failed. I was walking with other missionaries who were heading in the same way, when we got to my gate, all the tears I’d been holding in that morning just washed over me. I was a wreck. And well? Then I sat for an hour, alone. Trying so hard not to cry in a public airport surrounded by strangers.
Saying goodbye to District 153, my district, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. They had become my family. We had each others backs and helped each other. Uplifted each other, had personal jokes, prayed for each other and we’re best friends. I will never forget those 7 people and I will never forget the impact they had on my life.
The day when I was at the doctors office, my district was praying for me. They were on their knees, crying, praying, and having an amazing spiritual experience. I’m sorry I missed it. But I’m so glad they had it. From what I hear, it was needed and amazing. And to think that they were praying and crying for me? I’m honored. More than they will ever know.
The night before I left, my district had a testimony meeting of sorts. I, of course, was sobbing, everyone else was crying as well. An Elder suggested we sing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”, and another Elder suggested all 3 verses. We couldn’t even make it through the first verse before we were all crying too hard to finish. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. The spirit my district always had was amazing. And I will never forget it.
Leaving my District was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Harder than leaving my own family. Saying goodbye to my companion and the two other sisters in my district. Saying goodbye to my District Leader and his comp. Saying goodbye to the other two elders in my district as well. Saying goodbye to the other districts on the West MTC campus. Saying goodbye to my teachers. Saying goodbye to my Sister missionary self. That was hard too.
I didn’t realize how different I felt when I would wear my name tag. I didn’t realize how sad I would be when I took it off for the last time. I didn’t realize any of that. And 6 days later it was gone.
Coming home was incredibly hard. My first Sunday back at church was one of the worst experiences of my life. People stared and whispered. People I’d known my whole life were spreading rumors about me. That I came home because I was pregnant. Which I definitely wasn’t–nor am I now.
Despite never making it there, Carlsbad, California will always be my mission. It will always have a special place in my heart. My district will always have a special place in my heart. My time at the MTC was cut short, but I still learned so much. I know I was supposed to go, and I know I was supposed to come home. I don’t know why, but I know that’s how things have to be. Even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. It’s Heavenly Father’s plan, and I’m just trying to follow it to the best of my ability.