Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Look out 2014! Here comes a missionary!

     I can't believe it's finally time to start what I've been waiting for my whole life! 2014 is the year of missionary work for me! I'm so excited about the opportunity I have to start my mission paperwork in the next few weeks and head out to serve the Lord for 18 months. My hope with this blog is to share what I learn in the process of becoming a missionary and maybe even inspire any of you beautiful ladies out there who are still considering if a mission is the right choice. And I warn you now. This is a pretty long post...

     To start off I want to tell you how I decided to serve a mission. Only because I LOVE how it happened and I LOVE sharing my testimony! Loud and proud people! I've always wanted to serve a mission. In fact, I sort of spent most of my life assuming I would serve a mission. But when the age was changed my senior year to 19 for girls, I came to a big halt. I was going to be 19 in just a year! That was so soon and I started to worry if I was prepared enough. 1 year is not a lot of time and I really needed to get stuff sorted out!  

      Right as I was struggling to know what to do, my stake president at the time mentioned in a talk that missionary work is extremely important. It's the "hastening of the work" as we keep hearing. He said that it is super cool that so many sister missionaries are out in the world now but we need to remember for us it is not required. It's extra important that as we approach 18 and 19, we sincerely pray to know a mission is specifically right for us. So I did just that. I prayed A LOT. I fasted. I read scriptures. I talked to missionaries. It was all great. But I got my answer when I went to the temple.

     On that morning I went to do baptisms. There weren't many people there so I felt like I really got the Lord all to myself. After I had done the ordinances, I stayed in the baptism area to search the scriptures and pray. As soon as I had finished praying, I watched someone get baptized. Every time a baptism was completed and the temple worker put a check mark by a name, I just got so happy. I could imagine each person in Heaven, rejoicing that they would finally get to receive the blessings of the gospel. I thought of all the people that I could touch on Earth if I served a mission. And I couldn't stop smiling. Like. I literally could NOT get my face to stop smiling. I was so happy. It was so positively overwhelming to feel the love God has for us for all the people I will eventually meet on my mission. I knew then that I needed to serve a full time mission.

     After that it was just confirmation after confirmation. I knew I needed to earn money for a mission. So I prayed for success finding one and I was blessed to get 2 jobs. On top of that, I had to return a few valuable items to my grandparents that were supposed to be for college. I was honestly really worried that they would be disappointed in me for returning such expensive things to them after convincing them I would need them right away for school. But they were very supportive and even contributed to my mission fund. I was able to successfully find a way to postpone school until my return and I was called to be in my stake's mission prep council.

     All of these events were incredible blessings from Heavenly Father and I'm so glad I was able to receive such a powerful confirmation. But what I consider one of the greatest blessings is that I had the opportunity to watch my best friend and boyfriend Jeff prepare for  his own mission. I was there when he submitted his papers. And when he received his call. And when he was set apart. And when he left for the MTC. He didn't have any hesitation at all. He didn't doubt it was the right choice. He completely turned his life around and did what he had to do to be what the Lord wants him to be. And he was completely excited about it! His example of complete positive dedication to the church and missionary work really inspired me to gain a stronger relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

     Today he left for the MTC. And while it was extremely hard for me to just shake his hand goodbye, I was so glad to see him so happy to go serve the Lord. He and I listened to a talk by Elder Holland called "Remember Lot's Wife". You should all read it. But to summarize, Elder Holland tells us the story of how Lot's wife looked back and turned into salt, all because she didn't want to leave behind what she already had. She did not consider that if she just let go and moved on, she would receive even better. Before he left, Jeff reminded me that although we had a lot of  fun this last year, we will have even more fun being missionaries at the same time and for the rest of our lives. We can't stay like Lot's wife and be unwilling to change. As we forget our own wills, the Lord's will becomes our will and we will be eternally blessed. I'm so thankful for his example and his testimony. I know he'll be an amazing missionary in Japan.



     On that note, I CANNOT WAIT to submit my own papers and enter the field that is white, ready to harvest. :) My new years resolution is to be a missionary in everything I do. Hold me to it. Ok? Ok. I love this church you guys. :) Seriously.  It's so great.