Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Aftermath

So now that I've been home for almost three months, thought I should wrap things up on this blog. First of all, this was only ever meant to be a way to avoid having to do a forwarding thing to all my friends and family while I was gone, but I am fairly certain I have acquired some readers that don't actually know me in person so to you I say- Thanks for making me feel like my life is worth reading about! Much appreciated.

These past few months have gone by really fast but also painfully slow. I feel like I've been home for ages. Actually, to be honest, I feel like I never left. Which is sad really. I have become a new person, expected to fit into the mold of the old person I left behind last April. But as the time has gone by, it has become a little easier. Its just been very emotionally and psychologically challenging.

I would hands down say the adjustment to real life is a million times harder than I thought the adjustment to mission life was. And it has been made a bit harder being sent back to a town in the middle of no where, where there is not much missionary work to help with, and where I have absolutely no friends because they are all at school or on missions or married and moved away. So that was pretty difficult, until I got two jobs and I finally felt like I was doing SOMETHING with my life.

And now I go back to university in 2 weeks. And I am really determined to be a better student and be really involved and stuff. I am so grateful for the ways my mission has blessed my life and changed me into something better. I'm also really grateful that it didnt just change me, but showed me the recipe for continued change and progression, so that I'm not just sent back to plateau, but I can always keep moving forward.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss England and the people there. I have been really blessed to serve with sisters that live relatively close to me, so I have gone on a few road trips to see them all. I can't even really properly describe the impact the people I met and experiences I had on my mission have changed me and helped me, so I will just leave it at I'm thankful. So so so thankful. I would do it all again in a heartbeat if they would let me.

But I know the Lord doesnt want me sitting around moping that I can't go back, He wants me out in the world making a difference. And that's what I hope to do. I'm going back to BYUI here in two weeks, and I am so dang excited. I know He has a lot more for me to learn and do if I'm open to it, so bring on the next phase of my life.

Since this was my mission blog, I decided to make a different one for my post mission life. If you feel like it, you're welcome to go to it at

Amanda in Mormonland

Pictures from the last few days of my mission

Our awesome departing group. Love these people to death. 

Exercising at the hotel! Sorry it's blurry.

We look happy, but we were really upset.

Flippin sweet banner I came home to. 

First baby held! This was seriously my favourite moment maybe ever. 
Cafe Rio? Yes please.
And look who came to my homecoming. Sister Webster, my trainer!

The last few days of my mission

Sorry I have neglected this blog since returning home, but I figured I need to come and finish things up here.

On 7 October, we had our departing dinner and testimony meeting, and it basically ended up being one of the best days of my life. I just got to spend all day with 13 sisters that I adore, and President and Sister Jordan. The testimony meeting part was a bit emotional, but all night I was just in awe of how seriously blessed I have been for the past 18 months. Looking around the room at all these sisters who I love so much and have made a real impact on me, and looking out the window to the city and country that is home to me now. So when it was time to pack in some mini cabs and drive away to a hotel by the airport, it was pretty sad. Not bittersweet. Pretty much just bitter.

At the hotel, I stayed in a room with Sister Formica, my second to last companion. We went to another room though and stayed up until 3:30 am talking to some other sisters. Which was so much fun and I did not regret it at all, because I wouldnt have been able to sleep anyway. Like good little ELM missionaries, we woke up at 6:29am, went to go running but realized it was pouring rain outside, then did our exercise in the hotel gym, which was pretty fun.

When we got to the airport, 8 of us sisters were meant to be on the same flight to Dallas and then would all catch connecting flights from there. We were pretty excited to all fly together for a bit. But that dream was dashed pretty quickly when we got to group check in and they told us our "booking agent had cancelled our tickets." Meaning someone at the mission travel office made a mistake. Oops. They suggested we call them and clear it up and we were just like, "We don't have mobile phones!" So we go to a payphone nearby but can't figure out how to do international calls, so we called President Jordan. No answer. Sister Jordan. No answer. Then we call their landline in their flat, and Sister Jordan picked up after a few rings which was miracle #1, as she explained she never answers that phone ever, but strangely felt like she needed to. So President calls up the mission travel department and conferences us in, and all of us are just huddled around this payphone as she talks to each of us one by one, getting us new travel details. So we were then split into two flights: the 4 Utah sisters and Sister Formica, and then us 3 Nevada sisters. And when we got to the gate, who happens to be on our flight but Elder Helske, an elder that had gone home a few months after we started our missions. That was hilarious.

I was in a seat next to Sister Davis for the flight across the Atlantic. Take off was SUPER emotional, both of us sitting there crying like fools, because let's be real, I am way too poor to ever go back to England. It was really really sad. When we landed in Chicago, everyone's accents were so. Very. American. Kinda hurt my ears. And my heart. Sister Gibson had to go to a different flight to Reno, so then it was us on our flight to Vegas. It was fun with Sister Davis, we just talked the whole time and told stories and I was SO GRATEFUL that I had someone with me, because 14 hours of flying without anything but my scriptures to entertain me would have been a bit rough.

Landing in Las Vegas was weeeeiiiiiiiird. Like landing on another planet. We were not overly impatient about getting to baggage claim, so we took our sweet time prettying up in the bathroom, getting a drink, letting three trams pass before getting on one, finishing our last GAP drill of the day (and our lives), and saying a prayer. And then the escalator ride came. And it was so surreal. In the drop of a hat I wasn't Sister Jacobsmeyer anymore. And that was really depressing. It took several weeks to finally be ok with that.

My first meal was Cafe Rio, which I was so looking forward to. I held a baby immediately after being released the morning of 9 October. Called up all my friends and their accents really threw me off haha.

But yeah, that's the story of my last 72-ish hours as a missionary!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sister Mlcochova and I. The town the sisters live in is called Brandon.

Elder Mitchell and Elder Nolan, my youngest sons.

​Our first born in the wilderness, Elder Brunstad. And that's Sister Jones, of course.

29 September 2014- This is it.

So this was a very interesting week, one where I saw the hand of the Lord in the work very clearly. 

On Tuesday we had zone conference in the Ipswich chapel. It was quite nice to not have to travel far for it. It was three zones together, and the theme of the day was the Book of Mormon. SUCH a powerful meeting. I learned so much and just generally strengthened my testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. It is a miracle that we have it and it is a blessing to be able to study from it every day. Sister Jordan trained on how to teach investigators how to successfully study the scriptures instead of just say "Read it." President trained on the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion, and gave two really brilliant trainings on the translation process of the Book of Mormon and historical/geographical evidences that it is true. Mind blowing. The big take away, though, was that the truth of the scriptures will always remain in the realm of faith, and it is that way because God wants it that way. He won't force us to believe. I think that is a really beautiful part of His plan. 

After the conference, our investigator Colin, who is golden beyond belief, came to the chapel and President taught him with us. It was epic. Great lesson in which we got to apply the things we had just learned in the conference. All the missionaries leaving the chapel was sad because there are a lot that I will not see again. Pictures forth coming of me and my "sons". Well, 3 of them at least. 

Wednesday I went to Thetford for an exchange with Sister Mlcochova (can't pronounce it? Thats ok, no one else can either) from Czech Republic. This is her 2nd transfer. She is excellent! We had a fun day, and on top of all of that I got to ride around in a car all day because it is a car area, so that was nice. We helped a family from Texas unpack their boxes from moving. Later that night we went on the American military base to teach a lesson. Long security check process, and we weren't allowed to wear our badges on base, but it was a really neat experience. We taught an American in the home of some American members and it was well weird. I don't know how I'm gonna adjust to American accents all the time. 

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, our planners were filled up with appointments. We were booked solid. Except, although we confirmed all of them, every single appointment cancelled. Every one. Even the confirmed ones. How annoying is that? But it was all in God's wisdom, because we were really blessed to find some amazing people because of it! 

We had just been hosed in the park, by an investigator that has hosed us before, and so we went to finding. We approached this Chinese guy on a bench. His name is Simon, he's from mainland China, and only knows the name Jesus Christ but nothing about him. We took him to the nearest members' home and watched Finding Faith in Christ with him, he was well interested! He is a really nice guy, I hope we can at least help him develop faith in the Saviour in the short time that he is here in England. 

Sunday we got to an impromptu appointment early, so we tracted some houses. The second door we knocked, a young mother came to the door. She kind of believes in God, but is very on the fence after not having prayers answered. She was really open. And turns out, she has a 12 week old daughter born with a heart defect! So we kind of got to relate over that, and I was able to bear testimony how the gospel has brought our family peace in times where things seemed bleak. We will see her again on Friday :)

Well, this being my last official email from the mission, I guess I should say something special. But honestly I have no words. I love my mission. I love these people. I am so blessed to have my life touched by the amazing people of England. I want to thank everyone who has read my blog, because I wasn't really expecting anyone to. Hope it has entertained you. I am so sad to be leaving this amazing place and these brilliant people, but, as President Monson says, faith is always pointed toward the future. I have had this quote on my planner this transfer:
" In His plan, there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."- President Uchtdorf
I guess that is what brings me comfort, that it doesnt have to end, not really. As sad as I am to leave, I'm excited to be able to see all of you again! Talk to you next week! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

​Sister Oliveira, me, Liam, Lois, and baby Nicklaus out to lunch. They are such an amazing family, I love them!
Me and Shane, the great-grandson of our recent convert Eliza. He is adorable! 

Sister Abby Wright from Logan, Utah. In Norwich, obviously!

​Last district meeting! Elders Adrian, Toledo, Yeap, Neilsen, Pullig, Vecchi,  me and Sister Eastin

22 September 2014

I finally went to Godric's Hollow today! It was delightfully quaint little English village. Beautiful countryside driving out to it. I will miss that so much. England is truly beautiful. 

So last Monday night, we had a YSA FHE and took an investigator with us to watch the CES Devotional from D Todd Christofferson. It was epic. He said exactly what our investigator needed to hear at the time, I just hope his heart was open enough to get the message. It was a really fun night. 

Tuesday was my last district meeting ever. That is the weirdest feeling. I love pretty much every missionary meeting. And we have a fun district this transfer. Elder Pullig made brigadera (no idea how to spell it but thats how it sounds) for us, which was basically like chocolate sauce but thicker. Yummy. We went from there to the Pereira's and made a delicious navajo taco lunch for Sister Pereira, who is a saint and always does so much for us so we decided to return the favour. It was a fun lunch, and I really enjoy cooking for other people. Its relaxing to me. 

Wednesday I wen to Norwich and spent the day with a sister who is in her second transfer, Sister Wright from Logan, Utah. We had a blast! It was such a fun day, really. I love the missionaries in this mission. Such great friends. She apparently graduated in Garrett's grade, so that made me feel super old. We saw this investigator named Petya that for some reason loves me so every time I go to Norwich on an exchange we see her. She gave me Bulgarian sweets and a bracelet, so sweet! 

Thursday I was in the area with Sister Oliveira, a sister I've been on several exchanges with that is from Brazil. Every time I bring her to my area we have a day full of miracles, and this day was no different. The best little recent convert family every, the Stophers, took us to Costa for lunch. I love being taken out for lunch haha. We ran into several investigators in town, taught with a youth preparing to leave on his mission to Greece in about a month, and then took our really solid investigator Colin to the ward mission leader's house to teach him about the plan of salvation. As we were walking there with him, we asked if he had any questions from his reading and he asked about the origin of Satan and what happens to people that didnt get to here the gospel before they die. It made the plan of salvation have a lot greater impact with those questions in his mind. It went great! 

Also on Thursday we went to see the little Polynesian family we found last Sunday. Turns out they are a  BIG Polynesian family. We were sitting there talking to the mum that we had met, and then her mum walked in looking confused and slightly unimpressed that we were there. Turns out she was just really surprised because she had been thinking of going back to church all day! We came into their lives at the exact right time, because they are really ready to return to church and they have a 10 year old that isnt baptized yet! The Lord's timing is great!

On Saturday we met Mario's parents. They are from Italy. Thick Italian accents. And lots of hand motions. I love them, they are great. Mario is a really good influence in his home. And he got the priesthood yesterday!!!! Woohoo! I'm so excited that I will be around to see him pass/bless the sacrament :)

Sunday was a challenge for me. We only had set appointments in the evening, so we were finding most of the afternoon and EVERYONE said no. I am usually ok with this, but with all my pent up anxiety over how short of a time I have left and stuff, it was really frustrating me. We finally managed to have one good conversation with someone. And then in the evening as we were walking home, I was pretty much done with this week. But I told the Lord I was gonna give it everything I've got, and right in front of our flat we passed these two people. It was dark so I couldnt make out their faces well as we approached, but I decided to stop them and try for one more person that day. After I started the initial approach, I recognized one of them as this investigator named Tommy that was really really good last transfer but had just dropped out of existence. We've been trying to get in contact with him for ages! So that was a miracle, and I think it was the Lord showing me that it doesnt matter how many people say no, it only matters how many people say yes. 

This week is a busy one. Today we are playing nerf gun capture the flag again, then we have a dinner appointment with this huge Portuguese family. Tomorrow is zone conference, the topic is The Book of Mormon and I am beyond excited. I love zone conference probably more than any other missionary meeting. Wednesday I'm in Thetford on an exchange. That area is on an American military base, so I'll be hearing lots of American accents. Yikes. 

Love you all, have a good week!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Really great quote shared in sacrament meeting yesterday

"This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not creat the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light."

C.S. Lewis