I have almost been home from my mission for 10 years, as impossible as that seems to me! It was an experience I'll never forget and a chance to meet people I never would have otherwise. Some of the people I grew to love the most were the girls that were my companions.
For those of you who don't know, when you volunteer to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are paired into companionships while you're there. You don't choose your companions, and they move you around the area you're serving in by inspiration. I was so lucky to get to know them and learn from them.
First off, my trainer Sister Jane Purdum. What DIDN'T I learn from that girl? She had a drive and determination that rivaled no one. I remember when I first arrived in Montreal, I was trying so hard to keep up with her and wished I hadn't squandered my gym time at the Missionary Training Center. :) She has the voice of an angel and an amazing musical ear. She taught me to not be afraid to sing in front of people. She introduced me to Nutella, which I will never forgive her for. She taught me to focus on the important things and to be patient with people. I was with her for 3 months, and we served in two areas together. I had some of my first and most poignant spiritual experiences while serving with her. We tracted into some pretty scary areas sometimes, but she never saw people as anything but children of God who needed our message. She really cared about people, and it showed. She was awesome.
Next came Sister Jamie Christensen. We served together for 4 1/2 months so we really got to know each other pretty well. For the first 6 weeks we got to have another companion with us, but I'll talk about her later. :) What can I say about my beautiful curly haired companion? She has a heart of gold. She understood those we were teaching so well. She loved people, and it made me more aware of others and increased my love for the Spanish speaking people in Montreal tremendously. She has such a genuine interest in people and was such a super listener. She definitely listened to me babble on and on. :) We ate noodles and bread for basically every meal, and were even proposed to by a 50 year old man. But that's a story for another day. She was super fun and has the most infectious laugh. It's adorable, and I miss it like crazy!! She taught me so much, and I really miss her.
Sister Tasha Velez. My goodness, where do I even begin?! From the moment I met her, I was desperate to be her companion. I felt so close to her right from the get-go and although I was sad to see Sis. Christensen go, I couldn't wait to be Sister Velez's companion! We were robbed. We were only together for 6 weeks, but we had SUCH a good time. From her, I learned that you can be a positive force no matter where you are. She taught me to take the good out of any situation and love wholeheartedly. I learned that silence and quiet are good things, and you can learn so much in those moments. We laughed and got to know each other so deeply. Anytime I think of her, I have to smile, but part of me is still sad that I don't see her every day. She would be the perfect neighbor. And boy is that girl handy!!! I had to pick my jaw up off the ground the first time she made rolls, from stratch, with no recipe or anything! She is such an incredible person, and I learned from her every moment of our companionship.
Next up, Sister Michelle Witte. She is adorable. I was so amazed by her. She was so funny, and had such a quick wit. (Quick plug - she's an author and her books are what you would expect from her. I personally love The Faker's Guide to the Classics. Check it out.) Her Spanish was SO good, and she was working on her French. Okay, smarty pants. Time to stop being so awesome. :) I laughed so much when we were companions! We learned together that when members give you all their kids' leftover Halloween candy, DON'T eat it all. It will cause you to think the table smells really good, and you will have a major crash later. It was the weirdest sugar high I've ever had. We had three months together and she was such a good friend. She is so clever and has such an interesting mind. I loved hearing her reason things out. I loved hearing her sing (actually, all of my companions had great voices and were super fun to sing with.) She was such a good teacher. She had such fun ideas for our (very rare) off times and humored me and my crazy stories and ideas. I loved that little sister of mine, and was sad to see her go.
Luckily, in came Sister Rocio Rodriguez. I was her trainer, and I still feel sorry for her to this day. :) I wish I could have been better, more patient, and more fun. Anyway, I digress. SHE was so good, so patient, and SO fun. I learned a lot when we were companions (3 months). I learned that you can take the girl out of Mexico....and if you aren't careful, you could easily kill her. When we were driving back to Laval after picking her up, she was talking about how cold it was. My heart sunk for her when I realized that the weather was going to drop another 30-70 degrees soon thereafter. Even though our eyelashes were sticking our eyes shut and there were ice crystals on her scarf from her breath, she never complained. (I was more careful from then on, FYI.) She NEVER complained. She had just learned English and all of the missionaries, the mission president, etc. spoke English. It must have been so hard for her at times, but I honestly don't ever remember her being anything but sweet and wonderful. She taught me that being loving can open doors that would otherwise be closed. We grew together as sisters and I will always love her. She taught me words from Mexico, and I taught her important English words like "jerkface" and "freak." Did I mention she also taught me to try to speak with more love and compassion while driving? Te quiero mucho mi companerita!
Sister Misty Johnson. We spent the longest time together. She was the other companion with Sister Christensen and me. Then at the end of my mission, we were together for another 4 1/2 months. And we had a blast. There's a lady that goes to Zumba with me who looks and acts so much like her, that when I see her, it makes me a little sad! Sister Johnson and I worked so hard, and really made the end of both of our missions special. One thing I definitely learned from her is that it doesn't matter who you were in the past. She overcame so much in her life and every day became stronger, more disciplined, and better. She and I really became close, and I trusted her so much. She was just such a great person. Plus, she has the happiest smile ever. We would sit and just laugh sometimes remembering funny or bizarre things that happened that day. She is the only person to threaten to turn my bedspread into a weave. :) She really prepared for our lessons with people and was such a people person. People on the street would just stop and talk to her easily. Such a great girl. I was so lucky to get to be her companion twice.
I know I'm forgetting so many great attributes and so many great memories. These companions truly became my sisters, and I love each of them from the bottom of my heart. I LOVE MY COMPIES!