“I’m going to serve a mission”
This was a decision that did not come easily to me.
Because serving a mission is a priesthood duty, most elders decide at a young age to serve a mission and have their whole lives to prepare for it. It’s a different story for sisters. We don’t have that expectation on us. It is a wonderful opportunity and a completely personal choice to serve. As sisters we may sometimes find ourselves bouncing back and forth between decisions. Should I go to school? Should I serve a mission? Wouldn’t it be fun to travel for a year? A mission? Maybe I’ll date and meet Mr. Right…Or go on a mission…The cycle repeats (not to worry ladies, if you are experiencing this it is completely normal and you are not alone). These are not bad things to do. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and what matters is choosing the path that will bring us the most joy and shape us into who He intended us to be. The decision is between you and God.
When others learned the news of me going on a mission, it came as a shock and surprise. What?!?! I had no idea you were preparing! I didn’t know you wanted to go on a mission! Whoa where did this come from all of a sudden?! Just a few of the responses I received. There’s a bit of history behind my decision and I thought I’d share it. So here is my story…
I always had a love and sense of responsibility when it came to missionary work. I just never realized it until I was a teenager.
In primary when the lesson was about serving a mission, it was usuallymore directed to the boys than girls. And I wondered what the girls got to do while the boys were out serving. All I remember being told was that girls didn’t need to serve but they can if they want. I never thought twice about the matter so that was the end of that.
Fast forward to circuit 2006 to when I was fourteen and my oldest sister went on a mission (Denver Colorado North Mission). She shared a quote in her farewell talk that spoke right to me and the Spirit was so strong. Deep down inside I really wanted to go on a mission. But it was not a priority so I never thought much of it and I didn’t say anything to my parents. I remember wanting to go so bad that I said I planned on going on a mission and shared my testimony about missionary work in a testimony meeting at Youth Leadership Conference (a confession soon forgotten and never to be brought up again until this year). It just all felt like this grand and untainable dream.
My love for missionary work grew when I brought my best friend in grade school to church activities. I felt so much happiness seeing my friend being touched and inspired by the Spirit. The gospel brings me so much joy and I loved sharing that happiness with her. The desire to serve a mission was officially planted in my mind.
That was shoved under the rug once I turned eighteen and started going to YSA. I have the best family and friends anyone could ask for, I loved going out with people and having a good time just enjoying myself, got a solid career doing what I love and I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and love Him and Heavenly Father. Summing up my life in two words: Great and blessed. I didn’t feel the need to leave what I had here.
But over time, the desire I had to serve would always come back to me. All it would take is someone asking me if I thought of serving a mission, or prospective missionaries sharing their call and testimony, or going out teaching with the missionaries to spark that feeling. I wasn’t sure if it was just a feeling or Heavenly Father trying to tell me I needed to go on a mission. I let myself wonder about it for a long time, until I got to a certain point in my life where I felt like something was missing. I was doing all these things in my life and felt like it wasn’t enough. I really wanted to know what it was that Heavenly Father had in mind for me. And I was willing to to do whatever it was to He wanted. I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me know what I needed to do in order to move forward and in the right direction. And He did. I felt and knew that I needed to go on a mission. At the same time I didn’t like the answer I received. I was so absorbed in my own life and couldn’t let go what I had here. And again for awhile I fought it. Heavenly Father kept giving me answers and VERY CLEAR signs that I needed to go.
Then one day we had the missionaries over for dinner and one of the elders said something, I can’t remember exactly, but I remember how I felt. I felt myself letting go of my pride and accepting what Heavenly Father has planned for me; serving a full time mission. I felt so much peace, joy, happiness, and a burden lifted after I decided that I was going to go.
And the rest is history…and very fast paced. I had all I needed for my papers in less than a month and given five weeks to prepare for my report date. The Lord’s work is truly hastening and He needs us now more than ever.
So where do you go from here? If serving a mission comes to your mind often, you have a desire for service and missionary work, or if you get a little excited whenever someone asks you about serving a mission or just the topic in general…you may want to consider more the decision to serve. Really pray about it and talk to your bishop and parents about it. Read your patriarchal blessing and prayerfully read the scriptures. You will be guided to know what Heavenly Father has planned for you. And whatever it may be I know that it will bring you happiness and peace.