Wednesday, April 24, 2013

take the challenge

This morning as I walked into Missionary Prep, a girl that had been in the 7:45 am class, said, "Keep an open mind, Celine." Then she walked out. Celine was the girl sitting next to me, we had found that we were in a few classes together but she had this huge look of confusion on her face. We laughed it off because we had no idea what she was talking about.

Class was great! We sang, prayed, had a few VERY powerful testimonies shared, sang some more and then delved right into PMG and D&C 4. It was so powerful, reading and talking about the purpose and power we have as missionaries. The spirit was so strong and we lost track of time. Ten minutes before class was to end my Professor, Brother Clark, gave us a challenge.

The Challenge: Read one whole book in the Book of Mormon in.... a day.... for fourteen days.

That's right folks, read the whole Book of Mormon in fourteen days. Wish me luck because I am a pretty slow reader but I am going to attempt it and I know that there will be many blessings if I can accomplish this.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

one more semester

When I decided to serve a mission, I had to agree to a couple minor "terms and conditions" with my parents. They are always watching out for me. I dearly love them for it. But, it was frustrating at first because they had told me I needed to finish out the school year and earn my Associate's before I could serve.

I just wanted to leave. To go out and serve and I couldn't take waiting almost eleven months before I could leave. All because of schooool...? My initial reaction was NO WAY, but it quickly changed to okay, I can do that.

I'm really glad I have stuck it out this far. I started my last spring semester yesterday and since then I have had all five of my classes once and I love them. All of them. A little too much. I am blessed, truly blessed. I say that because every class I have somehow tied to my mission and helping me become better as a student, a sister missionary, as a human mortal being and I couldn't be more excited. Plus, school is a way to build study habits that will be very useful in the mission field. Keeping it fresh and ingrained people!

I'm warming up to the idea that I will be okay waiting until August to serve. My time here in Rexburg looks hopefully in becoming very beneficial and it will make time fly, I'm sure of that. But it will also be extremely challenging and demanding. A perfect opportunity to hone in on some stress relieving skills. I want to be able to take charge of my anxiety and stress so that I can be the most effective while out on my mission and quite honestly, the rest of my life.

Basically, I am trying to say that this semester was divinely handed to me to become a better person, but ultimately a better missionary and disciple of Christ. I couldn't be more blessed with the heaven sent chance of spiritual and intellectual growth before serving. I am learning to look for the good in every situation, and I am quite satisfied!

PS for anyone who was wondering, I am taking these classes at Brigham Young University - Idaho:
FDENG201 Advanced Writing/ Critical Thinking
FDREL130 Mission Preparation
COMM102 Public Speaking
FDREL200 Family Foundations
ENG356 Young Adult Literature 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

the long story

For a very long time now, I have had many requests to share my experience on how I decided serving a mission was right for me. I would like to relate to my journal for most of this post because I wrote A LOT about it there but I won't share everything, but most of it.

 To start off, I would like to remind everyone that I am nineteen and my disposition on missions before the age change was evolving but my thoughts were mostly, if I'm not married then maybe I would serve, but it wasn't a definite thing. When the announcement was made in October last year, my heart and my future was, well, changed. Drastically. Here is my full account:

"Somewhere between August 2010 and May 2011...

Rewind, to my senior year of High School. I remember a conversation between my mom and I. I was having a really hard time and I had been praying for answers to so many questions concerning my situation and finally getting an answer. I told her  I wanted to start preparing to serve a mission even if it was about four years away. I had a feeling and my mom didn't quite understand. She advised that I worry about college and dating first, it was too far away to think about. I agreed and went about my life as usual. But I was being prepared long before any of us knew it."

Funny how the Lord always knows, sometimes it takes more faith to follow things like that. But the story isn't over yet, we're just getting started.

"September 2012...

In the fall, I moved back up to school for my third semester [at BYU - Idaho]. I was blessed with five beautiful new roommates. They were all so kind and accepting and I truly felt like they were sent to me by Heavenly Father to help me figure out my life. But still I felt so much discouragement and confusion that I didn't know what to do. I felt like I no longer wanted to be a writer. I felt disheartened about English and thought I would do really well as a dietitian. I scheduled appointments with counselors and advisors. I emailed a lot of professors, asking questions, researching so many avenues of study and finally narrowed it to nutrition -- but that posed a problem, a major problem. I would have to transfer schools if I wanted to major in nutrition.

Talking to an academic advisor one day, we noticed that I only needed twelve more credits before I reached my Associates Degree. I could take a basic nutrition class the following semester. I f I liked it enough then I could transfer schools easier, somewhere else. But, being a smart mother, my mom advised me to pray long and hard about the decision and make sure it's what I really should be doing.

One night I knelt down on my knees and prayed, asking Heavenly Father if it was really what I was to do next in life. I prayed for three nights in a row, pleading with Him to let me know. Nothing. No answer whatsoever. I went to church on the fourth day and [had an amazingly spiritual three hour experience], I was overwhelmed with the spirit. I told my roommates that I was going to walk home instead of ride back home with them. With tears in my eyes, I walked up the hill, not towards my apartment, but to the temple. The weather was fairly nice and it felt good to get some fresh air. I sat on a bench in the courtyard on the backside of the temple, looking up towards the great beauty of the Rexburg Temple. A whole new flood of tears started to pour down my cheeks as I thought about everything that had been spoken in church that morning. All I could say was, "I know. I'm sorry," over and over again, for forty minutes. After that I walked back home.

It that still wasn't the answer to my prayers. I kept trying though. For days afterwards I prayed, still never feeling like I was being answered. If anything I felt even more confused, but I kept trying. In total it took about two very long confusing and stressful weeks. Two weeks. Then, I believe it was a Saturday, I woke up -- completely at peace. I also had the extremely quiet thought, Stick with English, you don't need to worry about it though. You aren't going to have to decide for a long while, I have something in store for you."

What could He be talking about? But at least I finally had an answer to all my questions.

"Fast forward a week. October 6, 2012...

All ready for Conference. To be exact the One-hundred and eighty-second semi-annual LDS General Conference. As we all sat there, Thomas S. Monson walks up to the pulpit and starts to give some exciting news. Temples dedicated, being built, about to start construction, etc. It was all very exciting but I don't think there was much to prepare everyone for the news that followed.

An age change for young men. We cheered and sat slightly dumbfounded at the same time. But me? In a split moment, my stomach dropped and my felt a whisper that, oh so gently but firmly said, here it is. That very same moment the prophet started talking about sister missionaries. My heart was beating so intense and I had the thought, Please, please, let me leave -- even if I have to wait until I'm twenty. Please let me serve...
The bombshell dropped.

'Effective immediately, young women may be eligible to serve a mission at... nineteen.' The prophet stood proud, taking in the gasps of awe and shock. Meanwhile, I wept. From the time the words left his lips, I knew without a shadow of a doubt -- that was what I NEEDED to do. For so long my life had ben falling apart, only to have the Lord put it back together more beautifully than before. I was so happy and finally the raging storm inside me had become as still as a body of standing water. Like a mirror so pure and pristine that I could see my reflection again and the Lord was standing next to me, smiling. I knew. I just knew. Like daylight, nothing was clearer than in that moment when my true prayers had been answered completely."


After six months, I am still as excited to go as when I first heard the announcement and I still can't stop thinking about it. I don't care where I go, the Lord will send me where I am most needed. He trusts me with going on a mission, so I trust Him that He will send me where I personally need to go."

At the end of my entry I wrote: I just thought I would remind you, so when you get discouraged and down, you will remember. 

Welp, kids! That's the end! I hope you enjoyed my loooooong journey to knowing I should serve. It's different for everyone, but all you have to make sure is that the Lord and you are on the same page. 

Now I can fully prepare myself to serve in Charleston, West Virginia. Have a beautiful Sunday... or whatever day it is when you read this.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

dear sister wood: the call (finally!)

Well my call has finally arrived! I would just like to first, thank everyone that showed up to my opening, we had a great turn out and I loved having each and every one of you there. I am grateful to your support for me to go on a mission. It is truly inspiring and I love you all for that!

Now on to the long anticipated call, that couldn't come faster! Are you ready for this? I know I was not prepared to hear it but I could not be happier in my entire life! Nothing will beat the feeling I had when I read these words aloud:

Dear Sister Wood:

You are hereby called as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You have been called to serve in the West Virginia Charleston Mission. It is expected that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You will enter the Provo Missionary Training Center on August 14, 2013. You will be speaking the English Language.

Seriously, a surprise, just like I asked for! I have to tell you, I am on cloud nine right now with the biggest grin on my face! As I read those words aloud to my family and friends that surrounded me, I felt such a peace and love in the room. I knew in that moment that all that worrying where I would be going, what I would speaking, or when I would be leaving was for nothing. The Lord knew exactly where I needed to go, what I needed to speak, and when I needed to leave. I am ready to go but I will be patient and wait my turn.

This church is TRUE and the Lord loves each and everyone of us. There is a plan for each of our lives and we are to be tested, tried, and rewarded for making it through, if we only have faith that we will. The Lord wants us to come unto Him and I am so grateful to be called to serve the people of West Virginia. Let the countdown to the MTC begin!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

mission call prediction

So I can no longer sleep at night, or any other time of day for that matter because my call comes tomorrow. Wait... what? Yup, you heard right...

I. Can't. Wait! Seriously, I can't.

My head won't stop talking to itself about how excited it is that it is coming. And it keeps pointing out to me that the next chapter of my life is soon going to be dealt out to me. I honestly just want to go where the Lord wants me to go but my mind has a hard time wrapping itself around the idea that the whole thing is a surprise. Basically it is frustrated it doesn't already know what is inside. Making it clear that the hardest thing about waiting until tomorrow... is not knowing.

BUT! In other news, I finally got a world map that my Dad and I have hung on the wall in our kitchen nook where I can stare at it all pensive and stuff while I eat breakfast each morning until my call will be opened. We will have everyone put down a little post-it strip, with their name on it, on a state-side guess and a out-of-state (foriegn) guess.

Out of the seven family members, 3 out of the seven, are betting on Canada for foriegn  (mostly Vancouver and Edmonton). I have another guess for Fiji and I my self guessed Perth, Australia (my baby sister and Mom still haven't put their guesses down yet, if you were doing the math).

As far as state-side goes I have mostly West Coast (Washington, Oregon) and East Coast (Georgia). Again, for myself I am guessing Dallas, Texas. And most are still trying to decide. The rest of you who are coming will get your chance as well. It's so interesting to see where everyone can see me going and to compare with everyone. I might want to frame the map with all the stickies when I am done. What do you think?

1 day, 9 hours, and 3 minutes until I will know!
Not that I am counting...

PS. Although my family does *NOT bet, my sisters (Shaelie and Camille) are "betting" between what kind of climate I will be called to. Camille says the more tropical or hot (humid). Shaelie on the other hand disagrees and says I am going somewhere cold, her examples were, "something like Russia or Canada." haha silly girls!

*If betting were real in my family, it would be with cookies ;)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

where in the world?

I receive my mission call this Wednesday (if any of you are in UT, you are welcome to come to my house at 8 pm to see me open it)! I can't tell you how long and anxious the wait has been for this moment. It's finally here. Honestly I never knew how hard it would be to wait six months before I would receive my call. I am so happy it's finally arriving this week!

I have butterflies. I truly have no idea where I could be sent. Plus, the other day I was reading a fellow sister missionary's blog , where she talked about the morning that her call came, she had an "inkling" if you will, that California would be a nice place to serve. She then opened her call to see that she would be going to Carlsbad, California. She wasn't surprised, she just knew. I always like those stories, but I wanted mine to be different. I'm never really surprised of anything so I decided to ask my Heavenly Father if it would be alright if I could NOT have any "inklings," that I want to be completely and utterly surprised. So far, I haven't had any preference come popping into my head, so we will have to see on Wednesday! Three days to go before it will be in my hands and when I get it, it won't be leaving my hands until I open it, that I can guarantee! 

I love this church. I love my Heavenly Father and my brother Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that he restored the true and everlasting church of Jesus Christ back to the earth. I am so grateful for the priesthood that was restored with the church. I am so very grateful to the keys and covenants that we have on the earth to help us come back to our Heavenly Father. I know that we will be able to live with our families again after death and that we will be resurrected to live with our families and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ once again. I am honored to serve a mission of the Lord Jesus Christ for a year and a half of my life. There is nothing better I would rather do than serve! I want people to feel the warmth and happiness I feel as I do the right things and live in the Light of Christ. I am so grateful to have the family and friends that I do. Each of you have made my life better than before and I can't thank you enough! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen! 

**I posted a post onto my personal blog, that is slightly different, as well. You can check it out by clicking the tab at the top that says "Dreaming."