I've reflected a lot on my own missionary experience over the past few months as my parents have been preparing. The further I get from my mission the more I realize how blessed I was by the experience.
I tried my best but I was not an amazing missionary yet still I was entrusted to teach the gospel and do my best to uplift those who needed it. One of my district leaders, kind of a punk, always said that the mission is the best kept secret in the church and he didn't mean in a necessarily good way. He griped that no one told him how hard it was going to be, everyone just said it was an amazing experience.
Someone in church today paraphrased CS Lewis and said that "when we get to heaven, we'll find that as we look back on our lives we'll realize that life was heaven." I loved this. We go through trials and good times, sadness and happiness, learning and growing, often in uncomfortable ways, and it may not seem like heaven but these words helped me see that looking back, I'll be able to say it was. I want to be able to say it was. My mission wasn't easy for me, it shoved me out of my comfort zone and I know I could have done better in many ways, but it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I feel so, so blessed that I was able to go, that I was trusted to go. It was a gift that I'm grateful for every day. I know my parents will feel the same way and I'm so happy for them.