For three years I have battled with myself and the Lord whether I should go on a mission. My family situation isn't ideal with both my parents having left the church. It was the biggest reason for me not going. I was nervous and scared of what they would think of me, and not being supported by them. I had countless people come up to me and tell me what a great missionary I would be and that I should think about going on a mission. And every time I would tell them "I have! It's just not for me." and I truly believed that. Not because a mission wouldn't be good for me, or that I didn't think I could do it, but I convinced myself that it would ruin my relationship with my parents and I didn't think it was worth it at the time, and I knew that God understood.
Fast forward to February 22. I woke up that Sunday morning earlier than normal to pick up my roommate from the airport. I had had a miserable night before. I felt that I was not progressing no matter how hard I tried. I was unhappy and I didn't know why. I felt that I was doing everything right, I was going to school, I was going to church, I was praying and reading my scriptures and I was attending the temple regularly. I got home from dropping my roommate off at a meeting she had to go to and I laid on my bed staring at the ceiling. I decided then that something had to change. I didn't know what but I couldn't keep being miserable like I was. I started to think of maybe doing volunteer work somewhere in order to serve because I know the best way to be happy is to serve others and to forget about yourself. That is when the thought popped in my head "what about a mission?" It wasn't this huge feeling, or a miraculous prompting that I couldn't deny. It was just a simple, "what about a mission?" I remember sitting up and remembering an experience I had in the Spokane temple just three months before. My bishop in Spokane asked me to ask the Lord again if I should go on a mission. I went to the Spokane temple and sat in the Celestial room and asked and prayed if I should go and I remember feeling that the decision was up to me. It was my choice, and whatever choice I made the Lord would support me. At the time I felt relief and decided that I wasn't going to go, again because I felt the strain on my relationship with my parents would be too much. I was grateful that the Lord trusted my decisions and that He allowed me not to be ready.
After remembering that experience I started thinking about how it was still my decision. I could go on a mission and the Lord would support me and help me to get there. I reached for my phone and texted my brothers Sam and Chris and both of their wives who are all very active members and asked them what they thought about me going on a mission. Before any of them even replied I knew that I was going to go. I knew that it was my decision and once I made up my mind that nothing would keep me from going. My oldest brother Sam called me five minutes after I texted him and we talked about me going and he told me how wonderful a mission would be for me and how much I would grow in the Gospel and in my own life. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt more peace in that moment than I had in months. In that moment it was the easiest decision I had ever made. I don't believe that God gave me those trials in order to get me to go, but that I was allowed to endure those trials because it humbled me enough to know that putting the Lord before my family and any other obstacle was much more important.
I received my call nine days after my stake president submitted them.
|Liz and I at my mission call opening|
|Japan Fukuoka! Leaving June 10!|
This past weekend was General Conference, and I loved listening to the talks given and there were many that I needed to hear. This past weekend was also the hardest that I've been through since deciding to go. I know there is opposition in all things, I know things will get hard and frustrating because I know that Satan does not want me to go and he will do whatever he can to stop me. But I also know that I have been blessed with the most amazing support system. My brothers and their wives have been heaven sent to me. People that I didn't know very well before I started this process have completely taken me in as their own, and supported me as if I were their own. I do not feel alone, and because of the LDS church which was created and designed by Jesus Christ I know that I will never be unsupported in my decision to serve the Lord. If I put Him first and above all else, then no matter what trial or heartache comes throughout my life that I will be able to endure. No matter how many people tell me I'm wrong, or put down what I believe in, no matter how much they persist. I know without a doubt in my mind and in my heart and in my soul that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will never deny the every day miracles that I have seen and the experiences that I have felt. He loves each and every one of us individually. He knows our struggles and our pains. He knows our weaknesses and He will never leave us alone.