Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coming Home Early

THE START...

About a year and a half ago I was called to serve a mission in Quito, Ecuador.

I was stoked to say the least, but getting to that point was not the easiest. I struggled for months deciding whether or not to serve a mission. Between dance, school, marriage, all of that I had no idea what to do. I remember finally dropping to my knees and telling the Lord I was going to go.  The next day I was walking on BYU campus, called my mom, and bawled my eyes out because I knew I was serving a mission. 

I never was one of those girls who wanted to go on a mission forever. I also was older, so the age change didn't really effect me.  I think mostly timing just played in my favor to serve a mission. I had dated a boy a year younger than me who was serving a mission, I had already completed three years on Cougarettes, and pretty much all of my best friends were married. But more than that, I felt a desire to share the most important thing in my life with others, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Getting on my mission was even harder.  I started dating someone, and between a missionary and a mission, I was so stressed. I'm sure you are all like this chick is crazy. I seriously felt like I was. I was way in over my head making decisions.  I questioned many times if I should go, but deep in my heart I knew that serving a mission was what was right for me.




THE MISSION...

Finally on May 22 I left.  I flew to LA and met up with all the other missionaries who would soon become my district.  I love these people more than anything. Our flight ended up getting canceled and we spent the night in LA with a bunch of set apart missionaries. After two days we ended up in Peru wondering if anyone even knew to pick us up at 2 in the morning. Luckily someone was there and we rode through the night to the CCM.  I sat next to Samantha Jameson who ended up being my companion and best friend.

The CCM or MTC was unreal for me.  I felt like I was thriving. I don't think I have ever laughed harder than inside that place.  I met the most amazing people, and I grew so close to my Savior. I started to understand how much spiritual growth I had ahead of me.  Going from normal life to the MTC is a major change obviously.  To keep sane me and Hermana Jameson would dance and sing in the hallways before we went to bed. Looking back that probably seems so weird but it helped us get through it happily. My whole district went to the Lima Sur mission, and I was the only one going to Quito. I was so nervous about it.

I finally got to Quito and immediately got sick. I remember thinking "dang, if this is how my whole mission is I am going to come back so skinny." Wow, obviously a little worldly of me, but I haven't been that sick in awhile. I finally got my trainer and my companion...we were in a trio, that is how I was for my whole mission. Once I got to Quito something changed. I have always been so happy. I feel like that is kinda my thing. I can usually make light of any situation, and I have never ever in my life felt depressed or felt any sort of that kind of stuff. But as the days went on in my first transfer something switched. As a missionary I just thought it was opposition. I think everyone has a hard time on a mission, it is so hard, and people don't really tell you that before you leave. But for me I was just thinking this is normal, it will get better, things like that. I stopped sleeping very well, and every morning I would just cry my eyes out. I felt like I was losing me, and it started to really freak me out.

Finally, after my first transfer I talked to my mission president about it. I just explained how I was having a hard time. He talked to me about it and then I went back on my way feeling a bit better. After that day though it got worse and worse day by day. I finally sat down and thought about why I was feeling like this. Now that I can look back I really think I was struggling because of our schedule. I have always been so busy in my life. Between dance and school I rarely had time to sit down.  On the mission I had so much time to study, a lot more than I thought I would. With personal study, 2 hours of companion study, and an hour of language, I think I just started to lose it. But when you are in something you don't always have the clearest view of what is actually going on. I let this take over me, and I was so depressed and sad. Inside I felt like I was a mess, I felt stuck, and trapped, and I finally couldn't take it anymore.

Calling my mission president to tell him I wanted to go home was hands down the most courageous, hardest thing I think I ever have or will do.  The process to get home ended being the worst week of my life. Communication with my family was all over the place, no one knew what was going on, and I was so frustrated and emotional that I couldn't even explain myself. I wish I could go back and handle this part differently. I wish I could have the perspective I do now so that I could maybe better explain myself and how I was feeling. I think my president, and my parents, and everyone including me was just confused, and really didn't know how to help.  This ended in me having 30 emails on Pday all telling me to not come home, and me feeling so exhausted that I just pretty much said to myself screw it, I am so done.








COMING HOME...

There were a ton of misunderstandings with my family and that was really hard for me.  It was hard to feel like a disappointment to everyone. On the plane home from Quito I just remember crying for 12 straight hours. I was confused how I got to that point, because a mission is supposed to be the best thing I could ever do. I felt like I was being punished for serving others. It was the weirdest, most confusing, most heart wrenching day of my whole life. I wasn't even sure if anyone was picking me up at the airport, it was so awful. I can honestly say I have never been in a darker place than that day.

Then I walked off the plane, and saw my beautiful parents standing there with arms wide open. I knew they were confused, upset, mad, happy, probably every emotion in the book...but they didn't care they just hugged me. Looking back it reminds me so much of how it will be when we get to the other side. I'm sure Christ is not always pleased with us. We are dumb, and we make horrible choices, and we disappoint, but no matter what we do, he's always there with open arms.

I finally talked it all out with them and things started to get better. Misunderstandings were straightened out and I somehow expressed in the next week my whole mission. I went to the temple with my parents the next day and slowly but surely I felt like light was coming back to me.

I just felt like I should write my experience down for others.
This post doesn't nearly include all that happened with my mission, but I am writing this to one, express how this has effected me, and two, to maybe help others who might go through similar experiences.

Before I left to come home, one of my favorite sisters in the mission told me that I needed to be confident. She said, if you go home and look remorseful, then people will talk and it will rip you apart. I have never had better advice in my life.

My decision to come home was completely my decision. That is the beauty about the church we have agency to make choices, and in result we face consequences. I know when I came home people were told a ton of different things. The one that probably hurt the most was people saying that I just didn't like my mission. That cuts you a lot.  The emotions I felt on my mission are something that bring me to tears if I try to even express. No one will ever understand what I felt, nor will I ever understand what others feel. It's beautiful that we all have our own personal stories. What is even more beautiful is that Christ fills the pages of our stories no matter what they are. I would hope that others never thought that I didn't treat my mission seriously, or have what I thought to be real reasons to come home and figure things out. My mission president struggled with the spirit telling me to go home. I NEVER EVER would say that spirit told me to go home. I feel as though I went to the Lord and asked if it was OKAY to go home, and I felt that it was. I don't think this will be the answer for everyone. For boys a mission is a commandment, and I think if I was a boy things would have been very very different. But that being said, I think every person, boy or girl, has reasons to come home, and we should never ever judge that, but as my parents and Christ have, accept them with open arms.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED...

This is the part that I love. Gosh I have learned so much from this. I think in some ways I probably grew more from this experience then I maybe would have grown on my mission. Obviously growth in different ways, but still growth.

1. I learned that it is okay to fail sometimes.
2. I honestly used to look at those who came home for anxiety and things like that as weak.  But I learned that these issues are SO REAL, and coming home for them is not something to be ashamed of.
3. I learned that those who talk about you or it behind your back just don't understand. You still love them, and hope that one day they will be able to see differently.
4. I learned that there are people placed in your life specifically to help you get through the hardest times in your life.
5. I learned that I am too busy and probably need to learn to slow down my life better.
6. I learned to be confident because no matter what I am still a daughter of God.
7. I learned that when you feel like there is no way you will get through something, just look up, and you will see Christ's face.
8. I learned that everything you do is a choice. It is a choice to be happy, it is a choice to regret. Make your choice, and make it a good one.
9. I learned that you don't have to serve a full time mission to be a missionary.
10. I learned to love hard times, for those are the times that you stretch the most.

NOW...
A year later I have realized that life doesn't always get easier. Since coming home, I had a hard time getting back into school, I have had some big relationship decisions to make, and life hasn't been the most smooth sailing. But really, when is life easy? It's not. But in the strangest way life is so good. Although it seems not everything is perfect or going exactly how I would want it, I am so happy. When I came home a lot of people said I would 100% regret my decision to come home. And I can 100% say I have never regretted it.  I think I knew myself enough to know that something wasn't right with me. It was right with the mission, with the Gospel, with the people, but it was not right with me. I will love my mission forever, although it has been the hardest year of my life. I am so grateful for the Gospel and the opportunity missions give us to share the truth with the rest of the world.


I am home, and I am happy. 








This Sunday is Easter. 
And as I reflect on the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can't help but have tears rolling down my face. The Savior has carried me through these hard times of my life. This experience is nothing compared to what others face. Everyone has those days, weeks, years, whatever that you feel alone, where you feel that you can't really continue, where you feel you are stuck. I know that God knows this.  I know that he has provided us a Savior to help us conquer this darkness. I am eternally indebted to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for the strength he has given not only me, but everyone.

This quote from Elder Holland sums it up for me...

With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required; indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone." 
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles



I love you all. 
Thanks to all of you that have helped me through this!
xo.Karlton

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thank You Robert Frost

How do I meet this kid?


have the best day to all my 6 followers!! wahooo. 

- K. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Q U I T O, I love ya.

Well people...I got my mission call!!!! I've never felt so much instant love in my whole life. Love for the people, love for the gospel, love for the opportunity I am going to have to serve. I am so excited, and that is a definite understatement. I know I am going to be humbled, stressed, and even discouraged at times. Yet, I am preparing to give it my all, to work hard, and to bring people to the truth!!! 

For those of you who missed the opening...here's a short recap!!


and for more exciting news...Elder Koelliker hit his 6 month mark! So in honor of that I made a little video of his mission. Check it out because I promise you have never seen cuter kids than the ones in Brazil! 


- K

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Backtracking

Well Olivia successfully convinced me to up my blogging game...so here is my attempt. This past semester has been so crazy, and I feel like I have had no time to keep up on this thing. But a new year means a new start right? 

Nah it is really like this...


anyways

I am going to get better...i promise.
That is my mom's number one line, and since I have come to the conclusion that we are so much alike, I think it is quite fitting that I start to use that phrase.

So let's backtrack a little bit. These last six months have been some of the best, worst, stressful, laughable, sad, joyful, and crazy months of my life. School was hard, Cougs was busy, and John was starting off his mission in Brazil. I spent most of my time dancing, studying, and writing a lot of letters. It has been insane, but it has been so good. 











I have had so much time to think, and that led me to the decision to serve a LDS mission. I am getting pretty anxious because my papers go in on Tuesday! SO NUTS. But I am so excited to work hard, struggle, and give everything I have to serving the Lord. 




As much as it sucks having John gone, and as much as I miss him, I am so grateful because now I feel like it is the perfect time for me to do these things that I need to do for myself...like a mission. Everything happens for a reason, and I have found that to be so true these last 6 months. 

Anyways life is incredible. I have spent the last two weeks on a road trip with my sister from Boston to Colorado. We hit some serious bumps along the way like breaking down in the middle of no where and hitting a blizzard but spending time with her has been the best. I also need to add that my pops should win father of the year award because he drove 9 hours through the middle of the night to meet us...we are the luckiest to have Bill Moats as a dad. 




The rest has just been christmas break. BREAK. yes that is what it has been. I have chilled so hard, and loved every second. Hung out with my family and got to see all my best friends from Colorado, and have even had some visitors from SLC. It has been soo quality I tell ya. 

what is the best part of my break you may ask?
That would be skyping Elder Koelliker on Christmas. Man i love that boy. 


here's a little recap of october, november, and december in the lives of JaK




...well to close out my last post of 2012...
music has been a huge part, as it always is in my life
so here is my top 20 songs of 12' 
enjoy.

King and a Lionheart: Of Monsters And Men
Slow and Steady: Of Monsters And Men
Demons: Imagine Dragons
Walls: Stars
Hold On When You Get Loe and Let Go When you Give It: Stars
I Will Wait: Mumford & Sons
Not With Haste: Mumford & Sons
Time To Run: Lord Huron
Youth: Daughter
All Too Well: Taylor Swift
State Of Grace: Taylor Swift
Hoy Hey: The Lumineers
Stubborn Love: The Lumineers
I Won't Give Up: Jason Mraz
Video Games: Lana Del Ray
Wings: Macklemore 
Take A Walk: Passion Pit
It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy: Passion Pit
A Summer Song: Conner Youngblood
Wanted: Hunter Hayes

..Karlton..


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fresh Start & Some Always Needed Music...

This weekend has been a whirlwind of emotions. And for myself, the only way to deal with everything coming my way is through music. So this post I am gonna share some new tunes with you and at the same time open you to a little bit of my life this week. Leggo.

Ps. It has been a week of covers music wise...so most of the following are some pretty rad covers. Just a forewarning.

1. Take Care: Florence & The Machine


First off Florence kills this song. Just saying. But this week I got to see my best friend Olivia's missionary come home!! Seeing them together was something I will never forget. It honestly gave me so much hope, and made me realize I can do this. She is the best example to me. I love when you get to see someone so close to you be so happy, and that is how Will makes Olivia. Relating to this song...we all take care of one another. Since Will left, I had the chance to meet my best friend and take care of her while he was gone. And in reverse she has taken care of me, and continues to do so! And now Will is back and get's to take care of her as well. I also got to see my roommate Taylor with her new fling Christian, and Brooke talk about her fiance Seth. Yep we have some serious love in the air over here in Provo! Seeing them being cared is the greatest thing. You can tell they just feel so confident and happy and that is what is important!  And then I have Rissa!! Currently we are kinda flyin solo right now and I absolutely love having her!! We get to take care of eachother right now and I honestly am so lucky to have her! We all help people in various ways. We all need multiple people to help us get through this journey of life. So here's to friends, and family, and those we love. Let's take care of one another. 



2. I Won't Give Up: Lennon & Maisy Stella




Well this song hits a little close to home for me. And on top of the unreal lyrics, Lennon and Maisy are 12 and 8 years old...Could it get better? This is John & I's song for his mission. Call it cheesy, but I freaking love it. This week I noticed there are people that are supportive and people that aren't. And people can say what they want about missionaries, but in reality no one really knows what will happen. Sometimes the most in love people don't work out, and then those who you second guess do. Seeing Olivia and Will made me really want to have that night with John. The night when you can look at each other and be like ya, we did it. My favorite part of this song is when it talks about navigating and patiently waiting. Cause that is how I have to go about it. Right now everyone is navigating their own lives. Figuring out what path is right for them, and as we figure it out, we wait. We wait for those we love to get home. We wait to see if things will work out. We wait to see people we have lost once again. We wait to find who we are, and see who we become. Ultimately, life is wrapped in patience, but in the words of Jason Mraz...don't give up. 



3. Call Me Maybe: Ben Howard



As much as we all may hate this overplayed radio song...don't lie to yourself. Because I know you all secretly love it and belt it in your car. Well even if you still want to pretend you don't like it, listen to this cover by Ben Howard. His smooth voice creates an entirely new approach to Carly Rae Jepsen. Anyways this week relates to Call Me Maybe cause sometimes we all just need a little light hearted fun in our lives. I got to teach all week with one of my best friends Lauren Reynolds and some of the other Cougs!!!! And I realized I LOVE TEACHING DANCE. It's so fun to see people grow and expand their talent. Especially in dance because every step that others do I can learn from. I love how one piece of choreography can look like 15 different pieces on 15 different girls. Everyone brings their own strengths, their own styles, and their own fun to the floor. I love that. So I guess I don't really know where Call Me Maybe fits in but just go with it. 

4. Follow Through: Gavin Degraw


Why this throwback? First and foremost because I got to see him in concert on Friday!!!!! And secondly, because this song is genius. Go listen to the lyrics. He talks about that first stage of a relationship. It's awesome. You are giddy, and just stoked. And you both say and make promises to each other that most likely you will not keep in the future. But this song is telling you to do just the opposite. Follow through. This week has definitely had some serious ups. Teaching, Gavin and Colbie concert with my best friends in the rain, Seeing Olivia and Will together again, and hanging out with my gorgeous nieces and amazing sister. Yet there have also been some downs. This week a girl on my teams brother passed away in a scooter accident. Hearing the news broke my heart for her and her family. But with the gospel I know that they will heal and will see him again soon. And that is what I think when I think of this song. Follow through in everything you do. Life is short, so don't half out anything. Give it all you got. Let loose. Serve others. Finish strong. You never know when life will be over, so live each day giving life everything you have. Just put your trust in your Heavenly Father, and follow through.



...
- Karlton.



Monday, August 6, 2012

The Update.

So after Africa life spun out of control. I'm just going to lay out my schedule real quick. I got home to Colorado Saturday night, and flew out to Utah Sunday night. Africa was one of- if not the most- life changing experience. It taught me a lot about myself. It taught me I could do hard things, and it truly taught me how blessed I am here in America. I will miss the people of Lugazi more than anything in the world. They touched my heart in a way I will never forget!




I flew to Utah Sunday night, and after six weeks I finally got to see John!! He picked me up from the airport and drove me to Alpine which would become my house for the next few months. Seeing John was the best thing ever. Not gonna lie I was super nervous...I can't imagine the reunion after 2 years!! The hard part about seeing John however was that it was a little wake up call to what was coming in just 10 days. I was leaving for Prague and John was leaving a few days later for his mission in Brazil. It was a great 10 days though. I promised myself I would do my best to try and forget what was to come and just live up those last ten days. And not going to lie it went pretty great. But that last day saying goodbye was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. The last day we went boating, to dinner, went on a little hike, and then walked around before we said goodbye. John told me later that when he got home he had so much mascara on his shirt. Oops. My bad. I was a slight wreck, I went to bed at 3:30 and got up at 5:30 to catch a flight to Europe. Let's just say I was pretty emotionally exhausted. I was so sad to say goodbye but since John left I have felt really calm about it all. We write every week and I know what happens with everything is meant to be. John is my best friend, and I would be so lucky to end up with him. But for now I will leave it in the Lord's hands, support him through his mission, and live life not in the future, but right now. The night John left I found a quote in his house that was so meant to be. It said, "I do not think we know our own strength, until we see how strong love makes us." That's gonna get me through two years!! JaK baby.





So lucky for me...I had a trip to Prague and Vienna with the Cougs to take my mind off Johnny boy leaving. Couldn't have asked for a better way to try and keep it together. Europe with my best friends was incredible. We competed in Prague and killed it. We met amazing people, and pretty much just had the time of our lives. Mama and Papa Moats came along as well which was awesome. I love my parents. I have to coolest family honestly I am so lucky. From tours of castles, to mozart concerts, to lots and lots of gellato...it was trip for the books that's for sure.











I can't believe the experiences I have had this summer. I look back and I can't even fathom all the traveling I have done, and the people I have met. I'm just so grateful for opportunities that come my way. I can't thank my Heavenly Father enough for everything I have been given. For family, friends, love, dance, and everything else that surrounds my life everyday.

Check out my Uganda and JaK Videos if you wanna...


...Karlton.