Look out, world! Speed racer is coming through. That’s right, Hermana Simonson is walking around without a leg brace OR a knee brace for the first time in over two months. Still can’t run or play soccer, but I can walk around on my own a bit. HALLELUJAH! Okay, I still have to wear it when I go out to Proselyte, but walking from my house to the Motokar and the Motokar to Internet without it is a great accomplishment for me. J
I learned so much this week. It started out really, really rough. I spent all of P-Day in bed and was really not feeling well, and at 10 o clock that night, my District Leader called me to inform me that my companion would be leaving to Lima at 5 in the morning the next day and that I needed to find a member that could stay with me for two days until she got back. I was furious! But, we found a member and the next day we were at the Airport at 5 o clock sharp…and no one was there.
We called the Zone Leaders and they informed us that our District Leader was confused and that it wasn’t until 5 in the afternoon! So, at , standing in the Airport, really sick, I decided to be really funny and call my District Leader. “HEY ELDER!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU AWAKE???” “Freaking, Hermana, I am now.” “Ya? Me too, thanks to you. And I am in the airport TWELVE HOURS EARLY!!” “Are you kidding?? Hermana, I am SO sorry. I think I am condemned now, I made a dying missionary get out of her bed at in the morning.”
We had a good laugh. But I was feeling pretty sorry for myself since the whole “dying missionary” part was true. I was NOT feeling well, so I was being a little bitter. I looked at a poster in the Airport that said “Enjoy Peru, a Healthy Country.” HA! I laughed bitterly and walked out the door to get a Motokar and return to my bed.
That night, I found myself in the airport again waiting for President and Hermana Gomez to take me to the clinic. My companion had left but Hermana Gomez didn’t just want to leave me with a member, so SHE became my companion for the night. More needles, more tests, more pills. Although I was upset for everything that was happening to me, I was so grateful for President and Hermana Gomez. They were taking such good care of me and even though there are about 150 missionaries here, they know me so well.
Hermana Gomez was talking with the Doctor and I had to laugh when she said “Doctor, I know she looks happy and smiley, but I know her, she’s not okay but she doesn’t want to admit it.” She went on “ She’s had lots of problems with Anxiety, Depression, Hypoglycemia, Anemia, etc. Sometimes she checks out a bit. Sometimes she gets these huge dark circles under her eyes. We want to make sure there isn’t anything else that she has! I want you to check her from head to toe!”
Well, I literally got checked from head to toe. Other than the things Hermana Gomez mentioned along with Parasites, Typhoid, and the leg, we found a fungus that has been growing on my head, for a few months, which is the reason why I’ve lost so much hair. We found that my cholesterol is high and some other things were low, all due to the way I ate in Iquitos because the members there are very poor and only gave us fried foods (we don’t cook for ourselves).
A few days later, as I kept feeling sorry for myself. I started looking at old pictures on my camera. The MTC. My Farewell. College. High School. “I was SO healthy.” I thought. “And HAPPY. I had long hair without a single bald spot. My legs worked just fine, heck, they worked pretty darn great. I could do anything I wanted! I never felt tired or depressed. I could eat whatever I wanted.” I mean, I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I love my mission. I’m a different kind of happy being a missionary. I love my Father in Heaven and I love His work. Still, I looked up in the mirror. I was pale. Hermana Gomez was right about the dark circles under my eyes. I looked down at my leg brace. I looked at my oh-so-thin hair. And I lost it. I completely lost it. I cried. I just remember thinking “WHY??? All I want to do is Preach the Gospel! Why does everything happen to me?? I’ll never be the same again.”
Then, I remembered a comment that a member made last Sunday while I was teaching Relief Society. I was talking about the Celestial Kingdom and one sister said “I’ll see you there, and you won’t have your leg all wrapped up like that anymore!” In the moment, it was just a funny joke. But now, it was an Eternal truth that opened my eyes. Everything is just so temporary. One day, the trials of this life won’t matter. Heck, in just a couple months none of these trials will matter! Hair grows back, legs heal, exercise can help the blood and rest can cure many things. As mom loves to remind me, in just 50 days all of these problems will be a thing of the past, and I will look back on them and love it, because I know that I will be so blessed for my service.
While I was with President and Hermana Gomez, Hermana Gomez said that she was excited to hear about all the blessings I will receive after my mission. She said “The missionaries that face opposition receive the most blessings, and since you have faced a whole bunch of opposition, you will sure receive a whole bunch of blessings!” I know it’s true. She also started talking about how stressed out President has been because they are trying to find ways to train the new missionaries and that lots of good practices have been lost and that we need models to teach. She said “I think we just need to put Hermana Simonson in a room and milk her for all she’s worth! Get the knowledge out of her and pass it on to everyone else!”
During my Interview with President, he started telling me that he has asked himself several times why it is that I have had so many trials with my health. He also explained to me that he didn’t want me to come to Pucallpa, he had other plans that he knew I’d like, but the Spirit was so strong and he felt compelled to change what he changed and take me down as Sister Leader and send me off the Island.
He said some amazingly nice things about me and my abilities as a missionary. Then, out of nowhere, he got a huge smile and his face. He sat up fast and hit the desk and said that he had received an impression. He said that everything made sense. He said “Hermana, while your on rest for this time, I want you to take time to write down EVERYTHING that you do as a missionary. I want you to write about how to teach, how to find, how to Baptize, how to work with members. I want you to write down what it is that you have done to be so successful and we will use it as a model to train the whole mission!!!”
I was shocked. SO shocked. But so honored. And, everything made sense. All of the time that I have been sick, I have been able to study and learn a lot. Being in Pucallpa, I have more time to write and think and work on these things. And, I have always loved writing. Now, I would be able to write a book to help future missionaries in the mission that I so love. I would be able to make a HUGE difference. I had always felt that there was something, SOMETHING big that I needed to do in the last little bit of my mission because I have seen how Satan has thrown EVERYTHING at me to take me out.
President and I both received a strong impression that this was it. This is what I needed to do and it could make a huge impact on the work here—on the whole mission! Two prayers were answered in the moment. One of a Mission President that was trying to conserve knowledge before the “Last of the first” missionaries in the Peru Iquitos Mission go home, and one of a sick missionary trying to find her purpose. God ALWAYS has a plan. He always does.
Now I know why I’ve struggled, and as I feel the Spirit each time that I sit down to work on my book, I know that it was so, completely, 100 percent worth it. He knows me so well. He knows how to help me and He knows how to use my talents. I love Him and am so grateful to be in His work.
Love- Hermana Simonson