All growing up I always felt like I was going to serve a mission. But the timing just never seemed like it was going to work out. Two weeks ago I learned the lesson that Heavenly Father really does see so much more than us. He has His plan and we just have to trust in Him no matter what.
1. The first time I really felt like I needed to serve a mission was in Seminary my Sophomore year. We were reading in the Doctrine & Covenants and we came across D&C 4:3 "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;"
I knew I had desires to serve but again, the timing just didn't seem like it was going to workout. So I kind of pushed it aside and told myself that scripture was for someone else.
2. The next couple times were random but just as strong. I had a few different people come to me directly and ask me if I had ever considered serving a mission. (Brother Flinders, my older brother, etc.) Of course, I would always answer "yes." But the timing just still wasn't working out. I had a boyfriend. He was going on a mission and if I decided to serve a mission as well, he would come home from his mission, we would spend 9 months together and then I would leave. HECK to the NO. That obviously wasn't going to happen. But I REALLY wanted to go.
As much as I didn't want to, was I actually going to have to wait for Nic and then have him wait another 2 years for me?? I was just gonna let it play out.
As I got into college I realized how much I really wanted to serve and started to think about how unfair it was that I couldn't go at age 19. I was ready! I felt mature enough to go and I couldn't understand why they would let the boys go and not the girls. Soo..I did something I little daring and I wrote the First Presidency about it. Yes, you just read that correctly. I wrote the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about changing the age of female missionaries. This was about a year ago. I had heard a rumor that they were going to change the age and I wanted to find out for myself. They replied. But not to me. I was at church one morning and my bishop came to me and said,
"So I hear you want to serve a mission??"
I was a little confused. "Yeah.. how did you know?"
"Don't worry about it. Just come meet me in my office after church."
It had been about a month since I wrote the letter and I really wasn't expecting a response. So after church I went to the bishops office and sat down still completely confused.
"I received a letter the other day.." he said.
Then it hit me. And the tears came. THEY WROTE ME BACK! Was this really happening????
"...from the First Presidency. They said I need to be a better bishop and talk to my young adults more."
Keep in mind he is the nicest man on the face of the planet. And he is kind of chuckling through this whole thing. I felt so bad. But I was so excited that they had written back. He proceeded to tell me what they said in response to my letter. Obviously, they had received revelation that girls should go at 21 and boys at 19. There really wasn't a rhyme or reason to it. It was Heavenly Fathers Plan. But, in their opinion they felt that it was so that girls had a chance at education as well. If girls went on missions at 19 then they would come home and just get married without an education. If we do it in order, we can get it all. School, Mission, Marriage. Thats how its supposed to go. Or, at least it WAS. So that was that. I started to think seriously about serving a mission at age 21 but just did not feel like it was right yet. (No wonder..)
And then General Conference October 2012 came along. I got a text from my really close friend, Nikki asking if I wanted to come with her to the Saturday morning session. Umm..YES. I love conference and there was no way I was giving up that ticket.
So we went. Nikki, Jami, Emily and I.
It was like any other General Conference. We went through security, found our seats, and stood as the Prophet and his apostles entered the room. I'm always so amazed at how a room of that many people can be silenced so fast by one man walking into the room. So incredible. Anyways, President Monson stood to speak and I was excited to hear if any new temples were being announced. And of course, they were. Then he kept going. Started talking about the age of boy missionaries. A little bit of chitter chatter began in the Conference Center. Nothing too big, but still a change. Then he still kept going...and started talking about sister missionaries. I grabbed Jami's leg. In my head I was saying, "This is happening. This is happening RIGHT NOW. Holy cow, THIS IS HAPPENING." Emily says the look on my face was priceless.
I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR THIS!
Then he said it. The age of female missionaries had been changed from 21 to 19. The whole Conference Center gasped. I looked at my friends and we were all in shock. Really, if you think about it. Its probably the biggest announcement in the church since it was announced that blacks were able to hold the priesthood. This was a big deal. And we were here in the Conference Center. The rest of President Monsons talk I was running through all the different scenarios in my head. "Do I finish school? Do I go right now? Do I even go? But Nic is coming home in June...? Ah! I want to go!" Still trying to figure out if I actually wanted to go or if I was just so excited about the news I started actually listening to conference. Even if that announcement wasn't made, that was one of the best sessions I have ever heard. Normally I doze off a couple times and don't pay attention to some talks but this time, I was all ears. Every talk was great. And every talk applied to me in some way. I'm sure a lot of people felt this way though. Especially 19 year old girls. Ahhhh. I still can't believe to this day that it actually happened. But it did. And my mission papers are almost done. I knew when I got home and talked to my dad that I had to go. Like I said, I had been waiting for this. This is everything I ever wanted. And the more I think about it the more things seem to fall together in my head.
-Belize prepared me for it.
-I stayed home from Utah State so that I could spend more time with my family before leaving and so that I wouldn't have to go through the process of selling my apartment contract.
I had all those experiences previously in my life because Heavenly Father had a plan. He knew this announcement was coming and he was preparing me to serve.
So here I am. Writing this post. Just had my last doctors exam today and I'm ready to turn my papers in. Still can't believe it. But I honestly could not be any more excited. I'm ready for this adventure. I'm ready to serve the Lord. I'm reading to share this amazing gospel with all the wonderful people in the area that I am called to. And the best part of it is that I am supported by friends and family. I told my family and they were ecstatic, I told my friends and they were excited, and I told Nic and he said he is so happy that I am going to be able to experience everything that he has on his mission.
I know this church is true with all my heart. I have been so blessed by having it in my life. I am going to work as hard as I can to share it with other families so that they can have the happiness that my family and I have knowing that we will be together forever. This announcement has effected so many people in such a positive way and I can't wait to actually get out there and serve. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!
|Our faces in reaction to the announcement. haha|
|Beautiful Salt Lake City Temple|
|Before Conference! We had no idea what we were walking in to...|
|Afterwards! So happy!|