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.

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