Dear President Albright,

I have never had so many ups and down in a week as I have this one. There really aren’t words. I cant believe I have been out in the field 9 months now!

This morning our investigator Nancy called and woke us up at 5:30 a.m. to tell us she had made the biggest mistake of her life and that she can’t be a part of a church that suppresses who she is.   I don’t know how so many missionaries keep it together so well because last week I was emailing home about the biggest miracle to date (Nancy) and now this week I feel like a complete failure.

Nancy said she doesn’t want to be a part of a church that suppresses who she is. I get that. I also DID NOT want be a Mormon when I was a new investigator. I do not even come close to having the strongest testimony in this mission, but what I do have, if nothing else, is understanding and empathy.

I understand what its like to feel like an outsider in a room full of Mormons that look, dress, talk and act the part. I know what it’s like to feel terribly frustrated because I can’t play the piano, read music and don’t know the songs in the hymn book. I know what its like to be confused when everyone else is raising their right hand during sacrament meeting.

I know what it’s like to show up to church and suddenly realize that Im the only woman wearing pants!  I know how overwhelming it feels when you think you’ve finally got it all down and then you realize that you should probably still learn how to make homemade jam, some crafts, and try to fit the relief society mold and make your life as busy and perfect looking as possible to fit in. Like what the heck is freezer jam anyway!? Because I’m pretty sure I can buy a jar of jam at the grocery store and stick it in the freezer and call it a day!

My worst nightmare would be if I was ever called to be a relief society president because I would probably show up in sweats and pass out chicken wings instead of muffins just to get a reaction out of everyone!  That would satisfy my snarky little soul. Or for sisters night I would likely plan a little field trip to a Macklemore concert instead of MoTab. Alright I’m done.

You know what I want to be? I want to be the best, most loyal companion anyone has by their side. I want to be the best visiting teacher on the planet who loves and serves those in the ward who dont feel like they fit in. I think that is why so much of my mission seems to be loving and strengthening less actives and my companions.

But I also know now that none of the cultural shock when joining the church really matters. I know that if I were not a Mormon, then I would not understand the Atonement of Christ. I wouldn’t understand what it is like to be more than a casual Christian or see the eternal perspective of our trials.  I would not understand the true Doctrine of Christ, which brings so much more meaning to every mortal decision and relationship.  I would not understand the true purpose of life or the Plan of Salvation. 

Sometimes I feel like that’s all I have to offer so it’s all I testify about.  But I know that when I testify of what I do know, then I have the Spirit with me. If nothing else I am trying. Even if this Sister Denison is a walking, talking, breathing imperfect mess of a missionary, at least I genuinely and deeply love these people around me and I would do anything to help them feel of His sincere love for them!

Amen, Hallelujah, Love,

Sister Audrey Denison