Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's Been Three Years...

Three years ago today I stepped onto American soil after an 18-month mission in Argentina.  My simple life as a missionary disappeared quickly as I became reacquainted with the “real world” - school, options for my future, technology, and the list goes on. I reflect on the experiences of my mission daily, the incredible people I’ve met and the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn.
Amongst the many missionary moments, I’d like to share three thoughts that are worthy to highlight from my 18-month journey.

Nothing is a coincidence.
I was accepted to a study abroad program in 2009, but Divine intervention stepped in and I dropped out of the program to serve a mission. Instead of flying to Austria for school, I would be flying to Argentina to serve others. Looking back on that critical decision, I know 100% that this was no coincidence.  Throughout my mission I had experiences that could be passed as “coincidence” but as they began to add in number, I knew that a greater being was involved in my life.  

God loves us and shows us that He does every day.
My first Christmas in Argentina I couldn’t understand or speak the language. My companion and I were spending Christmas at a family’s house from church, and while we helped prepare the meal the oldest daughter came to us requesting our assistance.
‘There was an elderly widow who would be spending Christmas alone. She loved music and knew some Christmas songs would cheer her up, but wanted a bigger force than her.’ Although I didn’t understand or speak Spanish, I could read it and sing it.
In a small, humble home I shared the only thing I could. Her eyes welled with tears, and we all felt loved.
Sometimes we have experiences and we know God is fully aware of our circumstance. He knows what we need and he places people in our path to share that goodness. Other times we may not feel Him as close, but look a little deeper and I promise you that you will see how He’s been in the details of your life.  He’s always there.

Love wins.

As a missionary you see a lot - hear a lot - experience a lot. And honestly a lot of it is “hard” - people yell at you on the streets, condemn your beliefs, complain about your origin, etc. The criticism is real, the mocking stings, but through these defining experiences, I have found one thing that overcomes it all… love. It is the force that heals hearts, welcomes new understanding and adds hope to this demoralizing world. And that is essentially what I strived to do as a missionary, especially during the “hard” moments. With love I could comfort an aching heart, reassure someone that there’s a way out, and offer a better way of life. 

My mission was perfect for me. I was stretched in ways that only Argentina could provide. I am a better friend, daughter, sister and wife because of my 18-month adventure. These three lessons have continued to grace my life, especially with John. When I returned I saw John the week I flew in. He was home unexpectedly because of a funeral, and I wasn’t planning on seeing him. This wasn’t a coincidence. 

It was a tender and sweet act of God. He helped us recognize that, and ultimately love won, and continues to bless the both of us as the Donaghy Duo.  I’ll end with this quote:

Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk…Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship. Love is the way of the disciple” –D. Uchtdorf

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