I hope you all had a wonderful week!! My week was... interesting. I am pretty sure that almost all of you know this by now, but I am home! I know it seems pretty crazy and really fast and it has been such a roller coaster and even though I am home, I am writing this letter to help explain everything.
Well first, I came home early from my mission because of my health. I have been having pain in my hips since January 2014, my first transfer in Maceio. I started having pain at the end of everyday, but it gradually turned into having pain all the time, everyday, which is what it is like now. I have pain in both of my hips when I am standing, sitting and walking, which makes walking miles everyday difficult :) I went to a bunch of doctors in Brasil during my mission, but none of them could tell me what was wrong, they would just give me medicines that didn't help and tell me to rest for a few days. I was just continuing on with my work and just living and dealing with the pain.
Then a few weeks ago, my mission president called me into his office. I knew he wanted to talk about my pain because I knew he was worried- I just didn't realize how worried. He asked me how I was doing and then just basically told me that I needed to home- now. I cried SO much and my heart broke right there in his office. At the time, I wanted to stay on the mission until I could not walk anymore. I wanted to give my all until the very end because I felt like I could still do more, but now I see that I needed to come home. I need to take care of my health and the last thing I want is to have a worse problem in the future because I stayed and struggled through. My heart broke thinking about all of the people I was leaving, the members, the other missionaries, Brasil! I love Brasil! I never would have ever thought that I would come to love a people, a culture, a country as much as I love Brasil. I love the states because that is where my family is, that's where I was born, but I absolutely love Brasil and part of my heart is there- and always will be.
The first few days were really hard, thinking about coming home early, having to talk with everyone, what it was going to be like, but somewhere along the line, I got peace. I started thinking about why I couldn't serve a year and a half, that's what I signed up for and told the Lord what I would do, but I thought about how He gave me a beautiful, wonderful year, a year that I will never forget and be forever grateful that I had. Heavenly Father knew that I wanted to serve a mission, be a missionary and so He gave me a year to do that. Everyday that I was there was a gift and a blessing. Of course I am so sad that I couldn't spend 18 months in Brasil, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan and that for some reason, I need to be home and that just means that I did what I needed to in Brasil, I learned what I needed to and helped the people I needed to, so He called me home. I know there is a purpose for everything and that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us.
So what does that mean for me now? Well, I am here going to the doctor and I will start doing physical therapy and see what happens. My mission president said that I can go back and finish the last 6 months of my mission if I am pain free and everything, but there is no way of knowing that right now. So right now, I am home, resting and trying to keep busy. I am so grateful to be back and have the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. I am freezing a little because Brasil is a little different than New York in the fall/winter, but I love this time so that's nice and I will get to see snow this year which I missed so much last year :)
With all of this, I learned that Heavenly Father really knows each one of us personally. He has a plan for each of us. I know that everything happens for reason and that we have to take everyday as a gift. We shouldn't put things off and say 'Oh tomorrow I'll do that' or 'Next week I'll be different' because we have today Who knows what will happen next week, so we need to choose to change today.
I loved serving a mission, I loved being a missionary and sharing this wonderful gospel with the world. I love Brasil and I miss speaking Portugues so much!! I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father who gave me the opportunity to serve a mission. This past year has been the best year of my whole life and if I had to choose to do it all again, even knowing that I would have all of this pain and have to come home early, I would do all again in a heart beat. I love my Heavenly Father and His Son. I know this church is true and that this life is not the end. My heart is so full of joy and gratitude to know all of these truths- we are so blessed!
I hope you all have a fabulous week!! This maybe the last letter that you get from me about my mission, but we will still keep in touch. I love you all so much!! Thank you for all the support, prayers and love. They were felt greatly. I love you!!
Sarah (Sister Chilson)