Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4 years ago

I left the beautiful islands of Hawai'i. I remember how much I cried. I remember how I couldn't sleep the night before. I remember leaving feeling like so many people had changed my life, and I had changed no one's. I mean, the Gospel did, but no one came to see me off at the airport. I gave Hawai'i a large piece of my heart. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

Before my mission, I hated it when returned missionaries called their mission "The Best Years" of their life. I still kind of do. I wouldn't describe my time in Hawai'i as that. I would describe it as the most selfless time of my life. The time I loved more freely than I ever have.

Hawai'i is a special place. I'm grateful to have been there. Lived in the ghettos. That I have seen a side of Hawai'i few non-residents get to see.

I secretly wish that my life would lead me back to the islands. Unfortunately every time we've planned a trip to go back, a grandma has died. But I wish our lives led us back there. I did get accepted to law school there, but with the recession it wasn't reasonable to move to a place Russ didn't have a job.

I could go on and on about the beautiful people. Oh the wonderful, beautiful people I came to know and love there! It was like being at a giant family reunion- everyone loved you. Even those who sent us away.

A few bullet point memories- more for my sake than for yours...
  • Stepping off the plane and receiving multiple leis
  • Not having a shower for 3 weeks
  • Cockroaches! In my skirt!
  • The Marshallese people. How ashamed I felt when I found out they were in Hawai'i for medical treatment due to US nuclear bomb testing near their islands. They did not resent me.
  • Hawaiian sacrament meetings
  • Papakolea!
  • Maui- the island where I spent the bulk of my mission. Where I cried the most. Where I was harassed by the YWAMmers (Southern Baptist 'missionaries'... more like vacationers who string up dead cats at the LDS missionaries apartments)
  • Sweet, sweet Annabelle. And Inmi.
  • The 40 days of rain. Being trapped in Kahalu'u.
  • The countless, countless Chinese families that I taught.
  • The Tahitian boxer that gave up all for the Church

And so many more memories that are too special to share. So grateful that I was Called to Serve.


Hilary said...

Hawaii was lucky to have are we!

Jamie said...

I remember when you told me that you got your call to go to Hawaii and was kind of sad that I never ran into you while you were here.

Glad that it touched you so and maybe someday you will find your way back here, hopefully for good circumstances and not bad.