Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How I decided to Serve

This may be a repeat for some of you but I think it important to write it down.

I was never one to dream of a mission.  I had thought about it,  but fleetingly.  It wasn't until this summer that it really hit me that a mission might be for me, but I fought it and fought it hard.
I had been dating Georgia Boy for almost a year when the first "Hey, you should go on a mission" hit me.
I was, funnily enough, visiting Georgia Boy for the Fourth of July weekend.  I was at church with his sister, Llama, her family, and her in-laws.  All of whom I love dearly.  I made some comment in Sunday School, apparently it sounded really good because her father-in-law turned to me, took my hand, gave me one of the sincerest looks I have ever seen, and said after a moment, "You would make a great missionary."  "Thanks?"  was my reaction.  Could he not see that I was plainly in love with Georgia Boy and set on marrying the boy?  But I quickly pushed the episode to the back of my mind, or at least tried to.  That night the in-laws recounted how they met, in the MTC, and how they chance encountered again after their missions.  Father-in-law also recounted how he had sent several young women on missions.  I politely ignored the stories by busying myself with the two adorable sons of Llama.  Did I also mention Jay's, Llama's husband,  newly wed cousins were over, and they met on their mission?
On the drive back to Home City, I kept coming back to a mission.  Yes, I was 21 but Georgia Boy!  So I made a small promise to the Lord, the next time anyone, anyone! Mentioned a mission to me I would go.  Can I just say, unless you are willing to follow through on those don't make them.
The next Sunday I met with a member of my Bishopric to receive a calling to teach Sunday School.  I was very excited because we were studying the New Testament. Not only had I been waiting since I was 18 to teach in church but I have experience in Jerusalem and such I was very ready for this.  However when I received the assignment on what I was to teach I was very, very unhappy.  Wanna guess what it was?  That's right, mission prep.  I was teaching mission prep, people.  Hello very big sign saying "A mission if for you!!"
I cried so hard that week. And I fought with myself a lot.  Everything I read in the scriptures seemed to be about a mission, when my thoughts wandered, they wandered to a mission.  I was not happy.  But I got through that week and the feelings seemed to fade away.  I once again was focused on marriage.  Except for occasional comments that really struck me.  Like once during Relief Society, a woman commented that she didn't want to serve a mission but she felt impressed that she should, she did, and she had never regretted it.  These kind of stories I did not want to hear, I was much happier hearing about the recent engagements.
Georgia Boy came and stayed with my family for about 5 weeks after the semester was over.  During that time, I was doubly sure that a miss--marriage was for me (I had thoughts like that all the time).  That dang mission thing kept hanging over my head.
Georgia Boy and I even talked about it.  He even conceded that it would give him enough time to graduate and have a steady job.  Burn you boy! You're supposed to fight for me not give up.... But looking back I see that he gave the exact answer that I needed.  Though I kept fighting a mission.  About a week later I had the thought "If I wasn't dating Georgia Boy, I'd probably go on a mission." 3-7 days later we broke up.  This was the second "Hey, a mission is for you!!" moment.
School started a week later so back I went.
I went to visit the office where I work to make sure we had the schedule all ironed out and it came out that Georgia Boy and I had broken up.  My wonderful co-worker, Psych, took me out for ice cream.  It's what us girls do, you have a bad time? Break out the ice cream!   Anyway in the course of talking it came out that I might be going on a mission.  Being a returned missionary herself, she was super excited for me.  She offered to study Preach My Gospel with me every Sunday to help me prepare.  We talked for at least two hours about her mission and missions in general.  When we left I still wasn't so sure on the mission but excited to study with her.  That was on a Friday, on Monday during work, I popped my head into my other co-worker's office, Love, and asked that if, when she had a moment, could I ask her a question.  She said sure and both of us went back to work.
Tuesday, I was leaving work when she called me into her office.  I was kinda confused because I had forgotten about asking her.  What?  It was the second day of school and I was still very heart broken.
Anyway, we proceeded to talk and she was also very excited that I was considering a mission, she is  a returned missionary as well. We talked for about an hour and a half before I left.  I had a meeting with my Bishop at 7 pm and I wanted to drop my school supplies off at my apartment before meeting him.
Between Psych and Love I was getting excited about a mission.  So that night I talked with my Bishop about serving a mission, and that's how the ball got started.  Of course I talked it over heavily with my mom during this whole period.  And with several others, but mostly I kept it very quiet.  I didn't want to decide not to serve and have tons of people disappointed, or have so much pressure from others that I hated my decision to serve.
I had my doubts about serving, even after starting the paperwork.  Boys started to pop up out of no where, and even though I was warned that this might happen I was still surprised.  I have never really been one that has had tons of guys after her, honestly I'm not one to have any guys come after me (I'm still convinced Georgia Boy get's me confused with someone else much more awesome than me), and true, there were 5 or 6 and even if most weren't that serious about really dating me, it's more interest than I've ever had. 
One wrote me a heartfelt letter about his interest in me and that totally threw me off.  Should I stay and see if it would work or should I still go?  I prayed hard and randomly opened up my scriptures that night.  The first verse I saw was "Go and serve the Lord."  Yes sir!  This happened on several occasions so I know it wasn't coincidence.  The random scripture opening not the heartfelt interest letters.  Most of the boys disappeared after I told them I was going to serve a mission, but two have stuck around. That is most likely because they are great friends of mine anyways, but yeah. 

The thing that really made the decision to serve?  The peace that came over me as I read Massachusetts Boston Mission, not to mention the joy.  That is where the Lord needs me and I will gladly serve.  It has been a growing experience, and I know it's nothing compared to the growth I'll experience once I'm out in the field but there it is.  I'm serving the Lord.

77 days until the MTC.