This is a beautiful card that Maryandra made or that someone gave
Maryandra before she left Hibarigaoka!
One more shot of Sister Horrocks, Sister Smith, Sister Funakara and Maryandra
before Sister Horrocks left to go home and Maryandra left to go to Machida!
In Maryandra's own words:
This morning, we finished all the prepping and everything. Funakura Shimai and Horrocks Shimai cried together as they said goodbye, and then they separated. Funakura Shimai and Smith Shimai went to the airport to pick up Smith Shimai's new companion, a sister returning from going home for a bit due to an injury. I stayed with Horrocks Shimai at the house until we were scheduled to go, at around 10:00am. We rode the bus and the train together to Kichijoji, and then we met with Yoshida Shimai, and headed out again to return to the eki. We left at the same time as a bunch of elders, including elder Hadlock and elder Gammon, who were both transferring to Yamato. It turns out, that their transfer route was the same as mine, just one or two stops longer. So, I ended up riding the train the whole way with them, and it was helpful, because I would have gotten totally lost without elder Hadlock's help. Boy, was I glad for my old zone leader! Phew! I finally arrived safely in Machida, and was brought to the Machida Two sisters' apartment, and I'm gradually beginning to get used to things. I had time to unpack, because sister Foutz is sick and felt like garbage, so she had to sleep. We have since, however, had district meeting. I'm not sure how I'll like it, but there are a few people who seem like they're pretty cool. But it'll take time to tell for sure how things will turn out. So, that is the report for this week so far!
So, this morning during personal study, I watched the announcement made about two and a half years ago where the change in age was made for missionaries. It was amazing to remember how I felt as I heard president Monson speak. I remember that that announcement was an answer to my prayers. I had been feeling like something I was unaware of would be happening in my life in the near future, and I wanted to find peace and know what I should do with the first few years of my young adult life. I already had college planned out, and I thought they it seems right, but just not right now. And I wasn't sure why. I was planning on going to college until I was twenty one, and then serving a mission, and I had about a year and a half or two year space of time from graduating college and when I thought I would leave on my mission. It seemed at the time like that was the only way things could really work out. But I still felt troubled by it, and that, although this was a good thing, it wouldn't be happening in quite that way. I became frustrated, and scared by this feeling that something unknown was ahead of me, and I prayed to Heavenly Father many times for help, guidance and peace. He sure answered the prayer, but in a different way than I thought He might. When I heard that I could be going on a mission in a year or less, I felt at peace, and I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. I knew it would be the most important decision I could make at that point in my life. And it has been. Today marks my sixteenth month as a missionary. I can honestly say that I would never have received the blessings I have received, grow in the way I have grown, made the friends I have made, or received the testimony I have received, had I not come on a mission. That one moment changed my whole life. Forever. I can't even begin to describe. Or even try to describe, the amazing things that have happened in my life. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me this chance to serve a mission at a younger age. I came when I needed to come. I will be returning home in just under three months, and begin the next stage of my life. I can now approach that next step with more confidence, faith and reassurance than I ever could have before. I am eternally grateful to my father in heaven for the blessing He has given me, this chance to serve a mission. And I will do my best to always carry out His divine purpose, even when I have returned home from service as a full time missionary.