3.02.2014

3 Years Ago



3 years ago I started my mission as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On March 2, 2011 is when it all began. I've been feeling super nostalgic about my mission lately, so its been fun to write this blog post and remember it all. Its really hard to write out the impact that my mission had me, because I feel that it's immeasurable. I grew so much in those 18 months, and it impacted my life forever.
Here are my top 10 favorite parts of my mission, in no particular order.
There's so much more I could have written, but I'll spare you :)


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1. Keara. She was my first baptism on my mission. Going over to her house, we found one of the most prepared people I had ever met. She had a million and a half questions for us, we could barley keep up. She'd read the Book of Mormon, and loved it. She was given a blessing to help her stop smoking and drinking, and she told us her desire to do those things was gone. Keara bawled her entire baptism. Especially as we sang "her" song, "I Stand All Amazed," Because Keara felt so thankful that Christ had forgiven her and her sins were washed away. Keara's life was changed by the gospel and I felt so fortunate to have been apart of it. There was one time Keara told us that her dad's drug dealer was coming over and wanted to meet us...didn't happen unfortunately...:)



2. I was able to spend 7 months of my mission serving in the Independence Visitor's Center. The first summer I was there, the descendants of Joseph Smith had a family reunion, and met in Independence, Missouri. The majority of these descendants were not members of our church, and didn't know that their ancestor was the first prophet of the restoration. Michael Kennedy, the first male descendant of the prophet Joseph Smith to be baptized and receive the Priesthood came to the Visitor's Center the night before, and I had the privilege to take him and his wife through.  You can read more about his story here. (its amazing) At the end, I asked them as missionaries, what we could do to help their family. They told me to simply bear our testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and what it meant to us personally. The next day they flocked in, and there was a special spirit in that Visitor's Center. I was able to bear my testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ and their ancestor, the Prophet Joseph Smith. Tears filled my eyes as I testified that I knew he was a prophet, called of God. The spirit was so sweet. It was an amazing opportunity that I felt so privileged to be apart of.



3. Stake Conference. A member of the 70 was presiding over that meeting. After just meeting him that morning, he approached me before meeting started, and asked me if there was time, if it was okay if he called me up and asked me to bear my testimony of Jesus Christ. There was time, and he did call me up, and I honestly don't remember what I said. My words were not my own, and I felt this overwhelming, astounding feeling of peace as I testified of my Savior Jesus Christ. After the meeting, one man in particular came up to me, with tears streaming down his face, an thanked me for my testimony. This experience was an answer to my prayers, and from it I knew how much Heavenly Father loved me. 






4. KC Temple Openhouse- We had a meeting with President Keyes, our mission president, and Elder Rhodes of the 70. We were told that Heavenly Father must trust us a lot to let us be here, to be able to serve at the open house and answer questions to people going through. He explained to us that we would be people's first impression of the church. My favorite question to ask people after they'd gone through was, "What was your favorite room?" Because the answer was ALWAYS the celestial room. We were able to be some of the first people through that holy temple. Only my wedding has ever topped the spirit I felt as I was with the sisters in the mission and President and Sister Keyes in the Celestial Room. I can't even explain it.
fun fact: some of the baseboards found in the temple were made from wood from Adam-ondi-Ahman






5. A month later was the Cultural Celebration where all of the 200 missionaries of the Missouri Independence Mission joined the youth of the Kansas City area on the floor singing, "We'll Bring the World His Truth (Army of Helaman)" As we walked in, the entire arena of 20,000 stood and gave us a standing ovation. We stood and faced the prophet and sang him our song. It was so cool. I know that he's a prophet of God. 
The most powerful part was,
"We are as the army of Helaman. 
We have been taught in our youth.
And we (are now) will be the Lord's Missionaries
To bring the world His truth. 






6. Liberty Jail- I had the amazing opportunity to finish my mission at Historic Liberty Jail. If you don't know what happened in Liberty Jail you can read about it here.  I had lots of amazing experiences at that place. It was there that Joseph Smith was told, in his hour of terrible pain and hardship, "My son, peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be for a small moment. If though endure it well God shall exalt thee on high." That place just has an incredible spirit. I'll never forget taking several presentations each day, with the amazing people that would come in. Its really hard to explain, but through my time there, I sometimes felt that Joseph and Emma were there. And most importantly, I felt closer to the Savior through serving there. I can't explain how much that place means to me. Another favorite scripture that came from there, "The Son of man hath descended below them all, art though greater than He?"


7. Ola. I have mentioned him before on this blog, but he was a convert I met on my mission, and I feel so fortunate that I was able to be one of the first missionaries to knock on his door. I was able to go back for Ola's baptism, he came to Utah for my wedding, I went back to Missouri for his wedding, and since then he has been to the temple and been sealed to his wonderful wife. You can read his story here or here. I feel so grateful that I got to meet him, that Heavenly Father let me be one of his missionaries and teach him the gospel, because now he is a great example to me.



8. I had some of the most hilarious experiences on my mission, one being the morning at six am when my companion and I had to jump over the homeless man that smelt of weed, incense, and firewood that was laying in the middle of the hallway right outside our door. 
or when we held hands with a preacher on his porch and prayed.... in the rain. hallelujah. 
Or when I went into a condemned crack trailer full of black mold with a woman who believed in unicorns. Priceless I tell you. 



9. I am so grateful for each one of my companions. I was given each one at just the time I needed them, and I know Heavenly Father knew that.
I'm so grateful for the people that I met. I learned so much from all of them. There was hardly a night that my companion and I didn't go without a meal provided by a member of the ward we were serving in.




10. The letters I was able to write back and forth with Kevin. He was such a strength to me, and I'm so grateful to have these love letters for our posterity.




I don't think everyone needs to go on a mission, but I'm so glad that I did.
There was something amazing about wearing that little black name tag, with my name next to His, right next to my heart each and every day. I miss feeling the spirit all day. 
Going on a mission I thought that I would try and give back to my Father in Heaven for all that He has given me. But I learned again and again how loving He is, and He gave me more than I could ever have given Him. 
I could not be more grateful. 




7 comments:

  1. this is the best! seriously loved this! jealous of all of those memories you'll have forever!

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  2. AHH!! I can't believe it's been 3 years! We could've served another mission by now! Love you, Sister Dodd :)

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  3. Loved it, loved it, loved it! You have an amazing way with words to describe powerful memories and events. Missions are indeed the hardest but best experiences of a young persons life. Or old for that matter... can't wait to do it again!
    So glad you are of the White clan!

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  4. That's beautiful! Thanks for sharing! I loved the pictures! OH it makes me miss the mission!!!

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  5. Sigh. I Love this. I love you. I love this. I love you.

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  6. You are the best and I love reading these top 10s. Love you Madi! So glad I got to share that special part of my life with you. Eternal friends and experiences are priceless. Love you sista!

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  7. bah! I shouldn't read this so late at night! Barely held in the tears, LOVE!

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