I am home. And what an adventure that was. December 17, the day that I was to depart from my mission, a series of unfortunate events occurred, preventing me from leaving Belgium on the anticipated date. Inclement weather, security barriers and miscommunication, and several other factors contributed to make the transfer quite a fiasco. While stranded in the Brussels train station, I stayed with the bags while Elder Cox tried to borrow a phone from the many passers-by to call the assistants. After quite a while, someone showed compassion and it was in the surprise of securing a phone that I failed to keep my eyes on my baggage. In a matter of seconds, I turned around to find my shoulder bag gone. Inside the shoulder bag was my wallet and passport, mission journals, letters, camera and photos - everything of the most worth. I was frantic, but also felt an unexpected calm.
Without a wallet and passport, I knew that I would not be flying home the next morning. With an extremely heavy heart, I finally made it to the mission home with the rest of the departing missionaries as we held our devotional. Despite the despair I felt, it was a spiritual hour for me and I was greatly comforted by the spirit.The next morning, we traveled to the airport, but only a few missionaries' flights were departing that morning - the rest had to remain back with me due to extreme snowstorms. We spent the week together while they waited for flights and I for my passport. This week served little purpose in missionary work outside of teaching me patience.
I secured an emergency passport from the embassy and arrived home on Christmas Eve. The bag was never found but I pray every day that it was not in vain. I truly was taught through this experience that although the Lord loves us and guides us, important - even sacred - things are allowed to be lost. Bad things happen to good people, as I explained to so many people throughout the course of my mission. But in the grand scheme of things, it is not the physical that matters, but the spiritual.
"...by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven..." -Doctrine and Covenants 128:8