Thursday, May 28, 2015


 No one wants them, but we all get them. We've all scratched our knees, bruised our legs, bit our tongues and stubbed our toes. Wounds come in many forms, and no matter what kind you face, you need healing.

I started physical therapy on Tuesday, and it's been good so far. I will be meeting with the physical therapist twice a week for the next while. The physical therapist is confident that I will be able to get back to normal after some time.

We all have wounds, whether the eye can see them or not. Whether it be a broken arm or heart, wounds are wounds. And they need healing.

A quote that I love:

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you." - Rumi

No matter the wound, the Light is the real healer. That Light is love, hope, joy, peace--it is Jesus Christ. No matter the wound, He knows how it feels. And at times, wounds are the best way for us to receive the Light. They refine us and can bring us closer to Him.

We all have wounds. I saw that so much during my time on my mission. And helping others receive Light in their lives was (and is) a beautiful privilege. We never suffer alone. There is no wound or pain that He has not already experienced. So look to Him. Look to the Light. Let your wounds and pain turn into something beautiful.

There has been so much light that has entered my life through my wounds. Relationships have been strengthened, miracles have been seen. Here are some pictures of some of the people who brought light to me during the past few months.

My sister Heather had beautiful baby Jane on May 19 (baby therapy works magic)

 Familie Schiltz

 Elder Childs and Elder Nye
 President and Sister Robinson
 Sister Van der Scheer
 Sister Whittington
 Sister Begazo
 Sister Young

 Elder Childs and Elder Lyman
 Sister Johanson

 Elder Ames and Sister Faa
Sister Fleming
 Sister Fredrickson
 Sister Adams
Sister Fredrickson and Sister Robbins
 Sister Faa
 Sister Huber
 Veronica, Dharma and Rens Kaaijk
 Wouter and Suzanne
 Sister Uljee

Lucie and her family

 Zuster Westland, Elder Ames, Wouter, Elder Frisby, Rens Kaaijk
Broeder Rhaman van Eeden, Ashil and Rukshar

The true soure of Light.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Doctor Appointments and Cookies

It's been about a week since I returned home, and since then I have had a few appointments--I said earlier that I would be meeting with a physical therapist this week--we actually met with doctors from the physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurology so that they could evaluate my head and neck symptoms and come up with a treatment plan. The plan now is to start the actual physical therapy in about a week and a half.

For now, the doctors are focusing on my muscle spasms and after that settles down, they will see what concussion symptoms need to be addressed. I am really looking forward to getting started with physical therapy.

Now, I want to talk about cookies (bear with all connects I promise). For those of you who know me well, you know that I love to bake--especially cookies. I like baking because I always know that if I put a certain amount of butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, etc. together and bake it for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees, I will get cookies. I have a recipe with exact measurements, the tempurature to set the oven on, the amount of time to put on the timer--and it always works out if you do it right (hint: don't melt the butter).

I have always been a recipe kind of person--I have always liked knowing exactly what was going to happen and having a plan for how I was going to do it.

When I got my concussion and had to stay in, there were times when I just needed to do something other than lay down so I wouldn't go totally crazy, even if I felt sick doing it. My sweet companion would hand me ingredients I needed as I sat in a chair in the kitchen with a bowl and electric mixer in my hands. And I started to experiment. My companion was my guinea pig for the creations I made. Even though I had no idea how I was going to make what I wanted, I added a little bit of this, then a little bit of that until it looked and tasted right. It was simple, and I couldn't do it very often, but it was something that helped me through that time.

Sometimes in life, we don't have a recipe. Things happen that we weren't expecting. I didn't expect getting hit by that car, or slipping on that ice. I didn't expect to come home when I did--it wasn't part of the recipe I thought I was using. But I'm realizing and trusting that the Lord has something a lot better in mind for me.

The Lord knows us. He loves us. He has a plan for us. We just need to trust Him. He doesn't want us to feel lost or alone, but to reach for His hand. He doesn't leave us alone in our trials--He'll carry us through them.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Time for Healing

As many of you know, I recently came back home for health reasons. I thought I'd tell you all what led up to me coming back.

On November 28th, while biking to an appointment, I was hit by a car. The woman who hit me wasn't paying attention and forgot to check for bikers. My bike was "taco-ed," and I was left with some scratches along with whiplash. The woman who hit me was very sweet and helped pay for a new bike.

 On December 26, while biking across a bridge, I hit a patch of black ice and fell--I don't remember the fall, but my companion still cringes when she thinks of it. I hit my head and got pretty bruised up. The concussion was a lot more serious than we initially thought, and I was on bed rest for about two weeks. 

My view while on bedrest

  After trying to get back into work, my symptoms were getting worse--I had to go to the ER a couple of times and each time they wouldn't see me. After much effort and time we finally got an appointment, a CT scan and MRI scan that told us there was no permanent damage. With time, some symptoms got better, others not. 

 It was a daily struggle to work with the pain--we tried to find solutions to ease the pain and to figure out its source. For almost 5 months I did my best to work with the pain, but I was never able to work a full day (the amount of time I could work became less over time)--me and my companion did our best to use what time we could work the most effectively, and we saw many miracles. But the pain wasn't lessening-- the mission medical team suggested that I could have severe whiplash, which I got in both accidents. Treatment would include physical therapy, which wasn't available for me there. My mission president, along with the mission medical team, suggested that I return home to receive treatment.

I feel so blessed to live in Rochester, MN, where we have such an incredible hospital--the Mayo Clinic. I had an appointment my first day home, and the doctor told us that I have severe whiplash and lingering concussion symptoms. She said, "You really got your bell rung." The main source of all the pain comes from intense muscle spasms in my neck, which is from the whip lash. I will be starting physical therapy this coming week, and I am looking forward to feeling some relief from the pain. 

I am so grateful for the time and experiences I have had while serving as a missionary--my experiences have helped me realize just how much I love serving the Lord and His children. Thank you all for your love, support and prayers as I go through this time of healing.

Lead Kindly Light

 Familie Schiltz (They have us over for dinner every Sunday)
 Zuster Faa!
 Zuster Johanson
 Zuster Goodman
 Zuster Hanny
 A good chunk of our MTC group
 Typical Elder selfie
 Elder Nye and Elder Childs (the zone leaders in Antwerpen)
 Elder Ames and Zuster Faa (we served in Zoetermeer together)
Zuster Fleming!


 Zuster Nuyens
 Broeder Nuyens
Zuster Whittington, Elder Childs, Elder Nye

Hey everybody!

This will be a quick email, but I just wanted to share some thoughts about this past week and coming home. It's been a big emotional rollercoaster, but Heavenly Father has helped me feel an inner peace. I trust Him, His timing and His plan.

 We had a great lesson with Nathalie about the word of wisdom--she has already slowed her smoking way down (before we even committed her to) and is so excited to be baptized.

On Friday, we had MLC (mission leader council--the zone leaders and sister training leaders throughout the whole mission meet at the mission home). I was so excited to discuss how we can improve the mission, and I wanted to go and put all of our plans into action. But I knew I couldn't. That was hard, but then this question came to mind--don't I want to leave loving missionary work with all of my heart, wanting to go out and do all I can? Anyways, after the general council, the sister training leaders went upstairs to meet with Sister Robinson--she had me bear my testimony at the end, and it was a special moment. I have made so many dear dear friends on my mission, and I am so grateful.

Sunday was a special day--I love this ward so much--the people are great...a little nuts...but wonderful and so kind. The opening song was "Lead Kindly Light" which has a special place in my heart. My first Sunday at BYU, when I was missing home and feeling lonely, that song was sung in my first sacrament meeting there. It brought such comfort and peace. My last Sunday at BYU, it was sung as well. My first Sunday in the MTC--Lead Kindly Light. And then again yesterday. I felt such comfort and peace. The Bishop asked me to bear my testimony, and I spoke about Lead Kindly Light. Heavenly Father will always guide us. He can see the big picture, and always wants what is best for us. Even though it breaks my heart to leave, I know that Heavenly Father has a plan, and that the Savior knows of my struggles, hopes and pain.

I love you all, and I love being a missionary. Even without a nametag on, I will continue to serve the Lord however I can.

Zuster Thomas