I left on my mission exactly twelve years ago today. I hear people say that their mission was the best two years of their lives. I don't disagree that the time I spent serving a mission was amazing. In fact, it shaped me into a better woman, a more patient mom, and a more aware daughter of god. But, I can honestly say that the best years have been after my mission. These last ten years that I've lived my life, I've had to have more faith and hope during times of trouble and uncertainty than I've ever had to have before. The hard times led me to reflect on the lessons I learned while serving a mission. Things like, how to trust in the Lord when life isn't going as planned, how to have patience when it comes to the decisions of others, and most importantly how to be forgiving of others and love them as they are. Other than my husband, there is no priesthood leader I personally respect and love more than my mission president, Daniel Otto Jensen. He always said, "the success of your mission is determined by your children and your children's children." I always took that to mean that our mission was not over when we took off the tag, but that it continues throughout our lives and is determined by how we will handle the hard decisions and dark days ahead. Let's face it, a mission isn't easy, but real life is, at times, insurmountable. For me personally, the Lord knew I would not have been strong enough to overcome the trials of life without the armor of serving a mission. Others seem to have it all together. Though that may not be the case for everyone, I see in my close circle of friends, from those who have not served "full time" missions, an inner strength that carries them through difficult times. Not having grown up in the church, it was necessary for my future marriage and family for me to give eighteen months of my youth to serve the Lord. Over the last four years, I've been blessed to become a mother to three beautiful sons. They are a daily reminder to me of God's love. They are so innocent and full of life. My sons are the very best investigators this mama could ever ask for. I might not wear a black name tag as a set apart full-time missionary, but I carry the responsibility of teaching my children the ways of the Lord. The mission of teaching my own children seems so much more daunting than any other, yet just as exciting as teaching the blessed people of Italy.