October 1, 2014
Our zone meeting was really good this week. We received a challenge from the Area Seventy that for one week we will have all of our personal prayers and prayers with missionaries completely in gratitude … and not ask for anything. I feel like that has to be inspired and I know that even though things are hard and our calling is getting real stressful and real busy with some trouble sisters and lots to do before the end of the transfer, and now with things at home a little tougher, this will be a week of loooots of faith and gratitude. This is probably the best timing to receive this challenge. I want more than anything for Rusty to be there to greet me when I go home. and this was probably one of the biggest fears I had before leaving for the mission, but I know that if there is anything I have learned on the mission it is to trust my Heavenly Father, that He knows what’s best for me and that whatever He gives me to deal with, I can deal with it with His help. I will always have a prayer in my heart for you all at home and especially Rusty, but please just give him a giant mega hug and kiss for me. I know that he’s happy to have Keilyn there. Tell him I love him.
[Sister Yoshimoto is referring to our beloved dog Rusty, who has been a fixture in our home forever. Rusty was stricken with cancer. Lauren was informed of Rusty’s condition before she wrote this letter. Rusty subsequently passed away a few hours after this letter was written.]
I think what is even harder is that I almost knew something like this would happen. Something really interesting that Elder Leal said was that if we look at all of our areas and companions and major challenges on the mission, we will be able to write it all down and ligterally write a personal patriarchal blessing. These things that we learn here are preparing us for the future. It made me think about what I’ve already learned … and a lot of the major challenges were about the plan of salvation, about the reality of death and the faith in what happens next. We teach it constantly, but the mission is more than just teaching others about these things, but really learning and developing the personal conversion and testimony of these things for myself. Do I really believe in the Plan of Salvation, that I will see these people again after death. If I really will see Rusty again, wagging his whole butt when he gets so excited and doing that scary smile things haha. There are still so many things that I just don’t know about the Plan of Salvation--the plan of God. but I know one thing--that it is perfect, that it truly is the plan of happiness. and that I can trust--completely--that He will take care of my spoiled little baby brother [Rusty] whatever happens.
This month’s trainings, Sister McKinney and I had to give quite a few trainings, but we had almost no time to prepare. We stayed up late and got up early because the chapel where we meet is an hour away. The trainings went pretty well. They were a lot about the Atonement … which was perfect. Our work here has really needed some new focus. It’s amazing, incredible to me how insanely deep and expansive and all-encompassing the Atonement really is. It is literally everything … and for everything. It is so complex and yet so simple. It is all because He loves us.
I can’t write a lot right now. but I just want you all to know that I love you all a tonnnnnnnn. I am soo soooo incredibly grateful for the love prayers and support of every one of you. I’m learning more and more to appreciate the hard times, the challenges, the mountains to climb, because I know exactly why I need to hurt in this life. I need to grow. I have sooo much to learn and to better myself, but I know that it’s possible and I know that it’s all because of this gospel. It’s all because of my Savior, who really, literally saved me. this mission has saved me, and I can’t thank you all enough for helping me get to where I am today.
You are all in my prayers constantly--even if this week is just to thank my Heavenly Father for you all every second. I know He will keep His promises and take care of you for me.
Keep strong and let your happiness shine through you. Show your faith in God's plan with the happiness that is truly ETERNAL! We have the truth! That is something to celebrate and share. We know God's plan! It is perfect!
-With sooo much amor,]