Week 28

Dearest Fam,

Hello! First off. Happy Fathers Day, Dad! I love you so much & I hope you have an amazing day! I also sent you something in the mail but it hasn’t arrived yet. Sorry about that! I hope it gets to you soon:)

Well, the day has come. Tomorrow I will be leaving Coffs Harbour. My heart is so humbled for the opportunity & blessing I got to serve here for the past 6 months. I am overwhelmed at how much I have learned & how much Heavenly Father has shown me during my time here. I remember so vividly my first day driving into Coffs Harbour. It was Christmas Eve & I was missing all of my family like crazy. It finally hit how far away I was from everyone & for how long I would be gone. The entire day I tried my best to hold it together but once my companion fell asleep I completely lost it. The tears were streaming & all I could do was pray. It felt like I had been praying for 2 hours by the time I felt a peace wash over me & I was calm. In that moment I heard a voice speak so clearly to me. I heard the words, “this too shall pass.” I would like to think it was Great Grandma Linford comforting me that night. I must have said those words in my mind 100 times that night before I finally fell asleep. And it did pass. The fear, loneliness & homesickness faded. I would experience that night 100 times over if it meant I got to spend another 6 months in this place that became my home. I fell in love with Coffs Harbour. The amazing sunrises at the beach, the gum trees & all the amazing views were more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. This place become my Heaven on Earth but the beauty of this little beach town didn’t change me. The people I met are responsible for that.

I was able to share my final testimony with our sweet branch yesterday & I shared a quote by President Uchtdorf. He said,

“There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.”

How thankful I am that endings are not our destiny. I never wanted my time here to end but I know that the friendships I made will last for eternity. It broke my heart to say goodbye but I couldn’t help but smile & rejoice for the friends I have made. They have been my family & I learned more about love here than in my entire life combined. Seddigheh said that she is going to keep working on her English so she can get a good job & save up money to see me in America. She thinks she’ll be able to come by the time I have my first baby. haha Oh how I am going to miss her every day. I have never met a more christ-like person in my entire life. I could go on & on about every single person I have met here but I don’t think this email would ever have an end to it.

While I was here I thought a lot about becoming who my Father in Heaven wanted me to be. Who He needed me to be & the kind of person that He would be proud of. I truly wanted to fill the measure of my creation & at times that still seems like a daunting task. It is hard to not feel like you are constantly falling short.

I really really really love Sister Holland and she shared a story about her daughter, Mary that made me smile.

“When my daughter, Mary, was just a small child, she was asked to perform for a PTA talent contest. This is her experience exactly as she wrote it in her seven-year-old script.

“I was practicing the piano one day, and it made me cry because it was so bad. Then I decided to practice ballet, and it made me cry more; it was bad, too. So then I decided to draw a picture because I knew I could do that good, but it was horrid. Of course it made me cry.

“Then my little three-year-old brother came up, and I said, ‘Duffy, what can I be? What can I be? I can’t be a piano player or an artist or a ballet girl. What can I be?’ He came up to me and whispered, ‘You can be my sister.’”

I learned that the best thing we can be is a friend, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, mother & father. The best thing we can become is a disciple of Jesus Christ. In the end the only thing that will matter is how closely we resemble our Saviour. Continuing with my Pat Holland quotes, there is another one I love. She said, “I only have time for real things.” It made me ponder what is real to me? If you had asked me 6 months ago I think my answer would have been very different from what it is now. To me, eternity has become much more real. I want to be there with my Heavenly Father, Saviour Jesus Christ, family, friends, and of course, my australian family.

This is also going to be my last week with Sister Lewis. I think that will be the hardest goodbye of all. She has become my best friend. We have laughed together, cried together (okay, I cried. She wiped my tears), prayed together, and never for a second stopped loving each other. I have already adopted her as my sister & I know that you will all love her just as much as I do. On the bright side tomorrow I get to be reunited with my other best friend, SISTER SHELLEY! My heart may give out over how happy it’s going to be. My dream was to be with my two companions together & it’s actually happening. These girls are some of my greatest blessings & role models.

I am so thankful to be here. There are moments every day that I cannot imagine missing. Saturday we went to say goodbye to our investigator, Sam. He was waiting for us and was so excited to show us where he was up to in the Book of Mormon. In 1 week Sam read half of the Book of Mormon. I have a lot of peace that the next missionaries are going to take great care of him:)

Logan sent me a quote when I first got here. He knows me quite well because it was a C.S. Lewis quote.

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

I took great comfort when I first read that after leaving all of you & now I’m having to trust in it all over again. What could be better than Coffs Harbour?! I’m so excited for the next chapter in my adventure! It has been the most beautiful beginning so far & I’ll never forget my time in Coffs Harbour.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I truly couldn’t do it without your love & support. Everyday I pray you will be blessed & feel the love of our Heavenly Father. I promise when you only have time for real things life will become beautiful. You will catch a glimpse of the eternal joy awaiting you.

all my love,

your sister denney:)

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