So I totally have been thinking of other cool titles that could go with my last mission email! like 'My São Paulo Stroll' 'Bring on my Next Transfer!' things like that. But this last email I would just like to say how God has been preparing me to go home. You might think wait that’s kind of weird, why would He do that and how? Let me explain :)
So I’ll start with the question 'If you could only take one thing with you home what would it be?' The first thing I thought of was my set of Portuguese scriptures that have helped me so much and are so important to me. But then my companion’s answer really struck me when I asked her, 'My nametag.' There’s not another moment in the world where I will get to use or have a missionary nametag. Yes I could maybe ask someone to make one etc., but the meaning, the value behind something I actually wore every day to represent the Lord is priceless. So I switched the question to 2 things; my nametag and my Portuguese scriptures :) haha.
Another funny way of preparing me was out of nowhere the member couple we were eating lunch with starting showing us this film and tv program thing like Netflix that you can download but it’s free. Literally he spent a solid 30 minutes explaining and showing us how it worked etc. and I’m just thinking, 'Why in the world is he showing 2 Sister missionaries this? Is he wanting to clue me in on the best offer ever before I go home? I chuckled at this one. And in the elevator my companion and I looked at each other like, what just happened? The good thing was that he shared with a ton of facebook and twitter friends the #sejaaluzdomundo haha.
Another preparation was after we were able to visit a lesser active sister and her nonmember husband; they are the cutest old couple and will be married for 60 years in a few days! woah...anyway, he and I started talking and he was telling me about his life and career and then he asked me what I wanted to do. After I said design, he went into this huge pep talk about how I should do 3 things and went into detail with those 3 things. I don’t have time to write them each down here but you can be sure I grabbed my planner and wrote down his advice. Who knows when it’ll come in handy these next couple of months. I’ll be able to turn to it during college and life and will remember oh yeah, that one Brasilian man told me this :)
Another great preparation was at our Christmas party. There were a ton of married missionary couples there and they all speak English, and started talking to me so I got to practice English, practice being friendly and keep a conversation going with adults and try to think back into my family history roots to see if I know an Oldroyd in a certain city which I have forgotten. I really need to do my family history homework. So many have asked the origin of my name and I’ve never been quite sure......
The best and last preparation that God has given me was one of the most amazing visits I’ve ever had on my mission. Bishop was going to visit our investigator and less active member family, but when we got there they weren’t there, so he said 'Where else can we go? How can I help you guys?' So I pulled out the list of less actives I had made and my eyes were drawn to Z. I knew she still hadn’t met him and I knew she would really appreciate our visit, so off we went to visit Z, an older lady who had 3 strokes and leg pains and lives in a very small room. We got there and talked with her. During our sweet chat and visit, Bishop asked her if she had a valid temple recommend cause she was talking so much about wanting to go back. And she goes, yes it’s valid. In my mind I thought, 'There’s no way, she probably has forgotten that two years have passed already cause of her bit of Alzheimers’ but nifty Bishop pulled out his cellphone to double check (I think he thought the same but who am I to say that?) Anyway, he goes, looks like your recommend will expire in March of 2017, so I am going to mark a day to come over and renew your recommend, how about that? And I was just thinking 'Woah" she is the most faithful, dedicated, non-complaining, loving member I have ever seen!' Even amongst all of her difficulties and pains and trials that might restrict her from being a faithful member, she remained solid in what she believed. And in that moment I knew that I could never allow my recommend to expire. After my mission I have to be a faithful member like Z. No matter what happens with me after my mission I will always have her example to keep me going. God was really telling me and showing me what needs to be done in life. I’m so grateful for this experience. I was truly uplifted and forever changed because of this.
So I would just like to end my mission emails by saying that Sister Sydney Oldroyd has served her mission in São Paulo Oeste for a year and a half, learning, living and loving every minute. She understands that it wasn’t a perfect mission. She knows that everything good that happened was from God. She hopes that with time, she will be able to still use the habits, knowledge and ways of mission life in the future. She is so grateful for the support and love she received from so many different people, including family, friends, neighbors, and her Heavenly threesome (God, Christ, and the Spirit). She is sad to let this life go, but she is excited to see what else God has kept in store for her as He did with her on the mission. She can think of nothing that would replace this year and a half time span spent in Brasil. She thanks all of you and God for your patience and love and guidance. She is excited to share and show a bit of her Brasilian side and prove that she truly immersed herself here in Brasil. She also is super excited to see you all, to see what has happened with all that she left behind as a naive 19 year old. She understands that it won’t be the same, but she knows that whatever is waiting to receive her is what must be. Sister Sydney Oldroyd, now 21, a few inches taller, and little bit more muscular (only in the legs I think haha), with lighter longer hair, is coming home a better person. Someone molded by God because her mission was of God. He always knew what he was doing and she was understanding this day by day, that it was never about her. This mission was God’s and she was just the tool He used. So expect one well used Godly tool coming home on January 4th :)
Thanks for bearing with me! I really wanted to talk in the third person for effect and to see if I was still capable at writing in the English language haha. This truly is me signing off. For the last time.
Adeus, Tchau, Até Logo, Até Breve, Sincerely,
Sister Oldroyd- who will never forget this year and a half stroll she had with God. Lucky duck!