It's hard to believe how quickly time passes. Just about two years ago Brett and I were both returning home from our missions. To me it seems like just yesterday. I remember flying home on a plane getting ready to see my family for the first time in a year and a half. I remember thinking to myself how I just wanted time to stand still... how I wasn't ready for change and how I wasn't ready to go home.
Little did I know-- Heavenly Father had some big changes in store.
Looking back on it now, our love story has been unraveling for years. Our relationship started as a simple friendship in high school. As we learned to laugh with each other, trust one another, open up to each other, and help each other-- we learned to love one another. By the end of our senior year we were pretty much inseparable. We dated during our freshman year of college and up until the point where Brett was ready to leave on his mission. I will never forget the feelings I felt when Brett received his mission call to Paris France. I was excited, nervous, filled with the spirit and love, anxious, and so proud. I remember thinking to myself regardless of what happened between me and Brett from the time he left and the time he returned, I was truly blessed to have his example in my life.
When Brett left to the MTC in February 2008 he started to send me letters every week. I loved and cherished his letters. It was amazing to read the miracles that were happening to him on a weekly basis. They strengthened me and made me want to be a better person. They made me stand a little taller. They made me want to love more. They made me want to SERVE more.
In November 2008 (almost half way through Brett's mission), I felt as though something was missing in my life and that Heavenly Father had a special need of me. I struggled for a long time as I contemplated and tried to figure out what was missing. I remember feeling impressed that I should consider a mission. To be quite honest, the idea terrified me. I remember wrestling with the idea until I received a letter from Brett. In his letter he bore such strong testimony of service and love of the gospel. At that moment it hit me so hard that I was supposed to serve a mission. After reading Brett's letter, and after A LOT of praying, Heavenly Father showed me that I needed to prepare to serve a mission.
One of the best decisions of my life.
On December 24, 2008 I was called to serve in the Tucson Arizona mission speaking the Spanish language. I was overwhelmed by emotions. To this day, I can't talk about my mission experience without getting choked up. It was such a tender and sacred experience--- it changed my life.
I remember the day that I decided I needed to serve a mission, I couldn't wait to tell Brett.
Here is a part of the letter I wrote Brett when I told him I would be serving a mission...
" ... receiving your letter this week was just what I needed. Brett need to tell you something. I have decided that I need to serve a mission. This is something that I have been thinking about for awhile now, but every time I would think about a mission...in the back of my mind I just kept thinking about YOU. I can't tell you how much it calmed me to read your letter this week. It really helped me to put things into perspective. I've realized I am the type of person who always likes to have a plan for everything. I like to know where I am going, what I am doing, what's going to happen next, etc. I think in this past year I've truly learned that life happens to us as we are making other plans. I've learned that as we follow the first principle of the gospel, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must also have trust.... Trust in HIS way of doing things and HIS timetable. I've learned I cannot have true faith in the Lord without having complete trust in His will and the His timing for me. With that being said, I have faith that Heavenly Father desires me to serve a mission. Prior to making this decision I was so paranoid thinking about what would happen to us when you would get home before me (I've always had this picture in my mind of me sitting there when you get home and it scares me to think of it any other way)....but earlier this year I made a committment to myself... I decided that whenever I received a prompting from the spirit I would ACT. I would put the Lord first in my life and keep his commandments. Thank you for reminding me of this commitment I made... and thank you for giving me the courage to step forward with faith and act upon it. I will have turned in my papers by the end of this month..."
Here is a part of the letter Brett wrote me in response...
" ...Courtney I want you to know that I really appreciate the letters you write me. I love all that you say and it seems like you always give me advice or show me a scripture that I need to hear. Today I had a great experience. On the bus home from church I was completely filled with the spirit. I had so much joy in my heart and I didn't know why. We went to do emails and I ready your letter about wanting to go on a mission, and then i understood. I can't tell you how proud I am of you. If you received an answer you should go--- you NEED to go. We can never go wrong following Heavenly Father. My mission experience has been amazing and I have learned and grown so much--- and there is a lot more ahead. I think there are so many people you can touch and help come unto Christ. Courtney you really are amazing. You have so much charity and kindness for others. The joy and spirit you will feel as you strive to do the Lord's Will is amazing. I think it is absolutely amazing that we will be serving the Lord at the same time. Courtney I know that you are my sweetheart, and I will wait for you forever. Continue doing and becoming what the Lord wants and needs and He will bless you greatly for it..."
Little did we know the letters sent between us during those 2 and a half years would become our love story. Even though we were a part, we continued to grow together. We learned from each others experiences. We were strengthened by each others testimonies. We prayed for each others investigators. We worked together in bringing precious souls to the gospel.
Throughout our time a part we each held onto and cherished the letters we sent each other. This past weekend, I took the time to compile our letters into a binder. I put coordinating letters (one from me and one from Brett) in sheet protectors. We both know that we will forever cherish these letters.
It truly created a love story--- our story.