Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wake Up, Repeat.

Dear Family, Friends, and past followers of my mission life:

I'm home now.

I've considered what to do with my blog now that I have been home here for a transfer. The sisters who came in after me have now returned, and I've been rejecting the promptings to continue where I left off. The what comes next. The "can anyone throw me a bone?" lifestyle that some missionaries face upon returning home. The adjustment period.

The RM life.
Let's talk about it.

For me, I left the ground of Thailand on a plane with the idea that I had experienced what would be my greatest run. My record effort. My sprint to the finish.

Turns out, I had been running towards a beginning.

I would like to propose an idea, as I usually enjoy doing. I would like to promote the thought that a mission does not end at tag-removal. .....Why?

Because I know that my mission was not my "last stand."

Maybe when I'm in a hospital bed and the heart monitor is going "beep beep beep BEEEEP" and drops out, then maybe we can talk about final bearings of personal testimony. But as I once said upon leaving Roi-et, Thailand:

"90 years from now, I will be able track my testimony of tender, pure doctrines back to these moments of my mission. It will be tracked back to Plungjit road in RoiEt, Thailand. I will sit down with my picture books, journals, and scriptures and tell in a scruffy old woman's voice: "This little town changed my whole life."

And I'll know it just as well when I'm 90 as I did when I wore the tag."

So you can count on the fact that the heart monitor is not even a speck on my mortal map right now.

Let me give you a feel for how I spend my post-mission days:
6:30am I still wake up. Somehow.
8:00am BYU classes begin for me.
1:00pm Go to work.
5:00pm Eat Dinner.
6:00pm Hit the Library and try to get homework done. Oops, not done.
12:00am Return home from said library. Mosey up three flights of stairs. Textbooks, textbooks, "why you so heavy?"
12:30am Roommate prayer in Russian, Thai, English and Tagalog. Take turns each day.
1:00am I think I am crashing about now.
6:30am iPhone alarm goes off: REPEAT.

Being busy is good. (And that wasn't sarcastic.)

Let me tell you about my "work". The reason why I have energy to run an 18-hour day on repeat.

I work at the Missionary Training Center, speaking Thai with missionaries preparing to serve the Lord in the Thailand, Bangkok Mission.

So you could say, "my work" is not at all mine. It's "His."

I traded out my black name-tag for what has become my coveted white one. I go in to facilitate discussion and help them use their Thai, but in all reality, the missionaries teach me.

So upon reflection of the gratitude I feel for all I ever saw and what I now see, I decided to take a peek at this blog my mom kept updated for me with all my letters, and me, having never really observed closely who it was reaching.....

I see it had almost 15,000 page views, I read countless comments from people around the globe, and I find that this returned sister missionary still feels exactly the same way she did when she wrote it.

"The lullaby sung in heaven is ringing throughout the land: "We've heard this before." And it sounds like a trump. It waves like a banner. It shouts like a battle cry but enters the heart as a gentle invitation."

My mission won't be my last stand.

My daily life continues, this time as a returned missionary, and the gospel trump is the alarm.

Wake up, repeat.

-Monica Painter

Sister Painter will always have a nice ring to it.

The District. Halfway through.
Elder Stone, Purser, Bartschi, Daybell, Nelson, Bro. Kao, Elder Hall
Sister Tauteoli, Larson, McKnight and Bagley

Not all things change. People just add on babies.

Loving life at BYU near my little sister Makayla
as we leave the Odgen Temple Dedication

Mission Friends are Eternal Friends