Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Final Decision.

". . .we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21."(President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints October 2012 General Conference)

This moment forever changed my life. I had always thought about serving a mission. When people would ask me if I would ever serve a mission I would always say: " Well, if I am 21, not married, or involved in a program I would totally go!" As I got to college I met so many amazing returned maissionaries and I LOVED listening to stories of their missions, both guys and girls. I remember praying for any kind of missionary experience because I wasn't sure if I was going to serve a mission. Luckily the Lord put quite a few missionary experiences in my life at that time! Some that I could handle and some that brought me to tears! My desire to serve a mission grew so much every day. 

There have been a two major experiences in my life that have sparked my interest and desire to serve a mission.

 Here they are.

 Fall of 2011 was my very first semester in college, I attended Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. Attending UVU also meant moving about two hours from home (which I was so excited about). I moved down with a close friend from high school and for the first few months I was having the time of my life. I was dating a guy that I would have never dreamed of dating, I was in an amazing singles ward that I will never forget, and I had 5 amazing roommates that I will always be friends with. Around Thanksgiving I fell really hard off of my "dream college life" cloud. My Best Friend Allisa Berry was re-diagnosed with brain cancer. Before we were best friends I faintly remember her fighting hard the first time and I remember when she won. We had become close my junior and senior year, we even celebrated 1 year of her being "cancer free". We never really discussed her cancer we both just had an optimistic attitude about it. In fact it turned into one of those "out of sight, out of mind" things. Life went on normally: we both took the ACT, planned on college, painted our nails, and then before we knew it we were throwing our graduation caps up in the air. After I left for college we frequently called, Skyped  and texted each other. One day I got a phone call from her that changed my life. She told me that her tumor had come back and that she wasn't going to fight it again. She told me that she had been to the temple and that she knew it was her time to return to our Heavenly Father. I am pretty sure I have never cried so hard in my life. I begged and begged her to change her mind, but I knew that she was right and that it was her time to return home. Two months went by and I spent as much time as I could with her and I told her everything that I ever wanted to tell her. On January 6, 2012 at 8:00 am she passed away. She was no longer in pain. She was home and she was perfect. I however fell into a pretty bad place. I was always worthy, but I didn't have any desire to progress. I never told anyone how upset I really was because I knew that Allisa coming back was the only thing that would make me happy and I knew that was never going to happen. My amazing roommates were GREAT supporters and listeners, my Home teachers always had the right messages and gave me the support and friendship that I needed. One day I went to the temple to preform baptisms for the dead, and all of the sudden I had an overwhelming feeling that Allisa was sitting right next to me, comforting me with a warm sweet hug. My feeling after that was beyond words. She also visited me in my dream that night and basically told me in her "just suck it up and deal with it" attitude to get my act together and that I had way more to do in this life. So from then on I knew that the only way I could keep Allisa's spirit and light with me was to always keep the spirit with me. Always. So that has always been my goal.Another experience that sparked insane interest in me to serve a mission was last winter. I was dating an amazing returned missionary (my home teacher at the time, lets call him Andrew) , he served righteously and faithfully in Finland and he always told me of his experiences. Andrew and I could talk for hours at a time, and we did, all the time. When we first started dating he told me that I "had the testimony of a returned missionary". I was surprised because I felt like my testimony was completely inadequate compared to his! He often encouraged me to serve a mission if  I was able to when the time came. I will always be forever grateful for his encouragement and example. We only dated for a little over a month when we realized that we were better off good friends. After that I decided that not only wanted to marry someone who's testimony and knowledge was as strong and touching as Andrew's was but also someone who loved their mission as much as he did. But that wasn't enough, I wanted to KNOW what all of that felt like. I wanted to literally "have the testimony of a returned missionary". I wanted to serve a mission. My 21st birthday couldn't come sooner.

 Fast forward all the way to Sunday Morning October 2012 general conference. There I was, sitting on my Aunt Susie's couch when the Prophet looked into the camera and announced that I could serve a mission at 19 years old. My jaw dropped, my heart started racing, and tears ran down my face. 

This was the moment I will never forget. Susie, my Brother Zach, My parents, and I started planning right away. I was dating another great guy and so I had to pray about either continuing to date him, or serving a mission. I got the answer almost instantly and made an appointment to talk to my bishop! I began my papers and, well, the rest is history....

As of January 8th my Mission papers were submitted and ready to be assigned. Doctrine And Covenants 4:3 says ". . . if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;" 

So here I am, writing yet another blog post, biting my time until I finally get to read: Dear Sister Sites, you are hereby called to serve.....

 I don't care where the Lord calls me. I want to serve a mission more than I have ever wanted anything in my life. I Love the Lord and this Gospel more than dating, school, chocolate, and anything else that I love.

 So to all future or returned sister and elder missionaries I want to hear of your similar experiences! I want to know why you want to serve a mission and what experiences you have had! feel free to comment or e-mail me! your examples, stories, and testimonies strengthen my testimony and desire everyday!