Monday, November 14, 2016

Homecoming

Hello, everyone! I hope and pray that you've all been having a wonderful week, and that you've been able to see the Lord and many of His tender mercies in your life. I know I certainly have. :) This week, however, has been quite different from my previous weeks, breaking the routine quite a bit. Long story slightly-less-long, here's the gist of things:

Getting Sick
About 2 months ago, I started getting really sick. I believe I mentioned it a bit in passing, but I didn't mention that I was vomiting multiple times a day, and that it didn't stop over the week or two that the doctors assumed it would. I got a lot of medical tests done, but there was a lot of waiting, a lot of uncertainty, and a lot not being able to do much missionary work. There wasn't a lot of anything really staying in my stomach. :)

Getting Help
Over the course of about 7 weeks, I tried to meet with a doctor or a specialist or get this or that test done, et al. Over that course of 7 weeks, they tested for multiple things, all of which came back negative (thankfully), but only really shed light on what it was not rather than what it was. The first time I got my blood results back, actually, they just said over the phone, "everything looks normal, so you're all good." Which would've been nice, but my symptoms kept persisting.

Getting Worse
As time went on, my health started to come and go in waves, ever decreasing to being virtually incapacitated. I started off being able to do some lessons but no finding, to a couple of lessons, to maybe one or two lessons, to having a really difficult time even waking up at the right time in the morning because my sleep was very interrupted. My mental/emotional health started to suffer a bit as I had something I deemed to be akin to "learned helplessness" as I couldn't really do much of anything, especially not social things. Missionary work is a pretty interpersonal endeavor, so, while I tried my best, I could still just do less and less. All this time, my companions were wonderful and patient with me, helping me along the way even though I wasn't able to do much.

Getting A Call
On Thursday morning last week (Wednesday for all across the international dateline), I got a call from my mission president saying that he felt (which means Heavenly Father impressed him) that I should return to the United States to get some perhaps expedited care as well as quality time with my family. I had been really open with him and my family about how I was feeling and how it was wearing on me, though I tried to emphasize the positive. I kind of saw his proposition coming, because I had felt quite bad for so long, but the details of his decision shocked me; he was going to arrange for me to go on a plane on Saturday- just two days later. I got to meet with all my previous companions in the Vietnamese program to say goodbye, and it was really nice of president to approve of that although we made it to the mission home a little late.

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Getting Home
I woke up around 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning in Melbourne, Australia, spent about 35 hours on a plane or in airports, and arrived home Saturday Afternoon at 1:20 p.m. How's that for time travel? I was greeted by my wonderful family, and I was released as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. So, I'm not really Elder Erekson anymore, but we're exploring my options for the future of that. We have to start off by finding out what the medical problem is first, though, so it may be a while before much information is available in that regard. :) I'm feeling a lot better emotionally because I don't have the worry about needing to do missionary work while I physically can't (which I did try to ignore a couple of times... not the best idea, but blessings still came. :) ), and I get to spend time with my family. I've been sleeping a bit better than I have in weeks, so I feel like this is truly where the Lord wants me to be right now. I don't understand all of His plan, nevertheless, I know that He loves His children, and that all things He gives us will be for our good. :)

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Getting Mail
So, yeah! I'm not sure how much longer I'll have this email while I'm at home, so if you want to be sure that you can reach me, I can be reached at Lukas.Erekson@gmail.com. I'm also home in Orem, now, so if you're around, it'd be great to arrange a time to meet when things get a little less crazy with my stomach. If you had my number, I should be getting it back soon, so hey, there's that!

No matter what happens ahead, I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the wonderful mission He allowed me to serve. I've grown so much under His tutelage, and I hope and pray that that can continue even as I continue to apply and become all that He has taught. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I bear testimony that He lives and he guides His church today through His living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and that the Book of Mormon is His word, and is often the means by which He communicates with His children. He loves us all. He loves me. He loves you. I love you! Have a wonderful week, and we'll talk soon!

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