Heavenly Father loves to keep me on my toes, but I think He also loves to reward me for my patience. I received my mission call today! I wasn’t expecting it until next Monday or so, what with all mail being routed and sorted through Hartford now. I checked the mail out of habit, and was so surprised to see my call in the box, I yelped. Mail went flying about the house as I ran to get my phone to call my mom. I’m not sure whatever I said was coherent, and got even less so as I spoke to Dain and my Dad.
It’s surreal, I’ve waited so long and have had so many things that have come up, that I can hardly believe it’s here. Sitting on my desk.
I did have a distraction today though, and a wonderful one at that. One of my best friends/adopted little brother, Mark, received his mission call last Monday and opened it today with his friends and family. I have been so excited for him, and very thankful that we’ve been in this together – it’s such a blessing that we’ll be able to open our calls within a day of one another! He has been called to serve in Goiâna, Brazil. He’ll teach the Gospel in Portuguese, and reports to the Brazil MTC at the end of September. He will be a wonderful missionary, because he already is – he knows the value of hard work, of service, and has always been eager to share the Gospel. I am so proud of him!
I was also excited to see my friend Sarah, who just returned home from her mission this week. She had been serving in Birmingham, Alabama (Spanish speaking) for the past 18 months, and it was great to talk with her again. She is such an inspiration, and you can just tell that she loves the people she served.
I’ve been thinking a lot about mission calls in the past few days. It’s such a unique opportunity that we as young adults in the Church have, to leave our homes, families, and friends to serve and teach people we haven’t met for a year and a half to two years. It’s a real privilege for me to be able to share what is so very dear to me.
People ask me if I have had any inkling of where I am going, or what language I will speak. I haven’t really got a clue, but wherever it is, I know a few things:
Serving, no matter where, is a blessing. No country or group of people is more important than another. Sometimes there is a hype that the people called to serve foreign have ‘cooler’ or ‘harder’ missions. I don’t necessarily think that’s true. Yes, you often have the challenge of learning a new language and adjusting to an entirely new culture, but just think – when you are called to serve in the United States, you’re called to serve in the promised land. It’s tough, because a lot of people have harsh perceptions of Mormons and of the Church, so you’re not teaching them something entirely new. But you are called to serve your countrymen for a reason, and they have as much right to the truth and to the love of Jesus Christ as someone in Zimbabwe or in Argentina. A friend said it well, referring to the Elders who taught my mom, sister, and I in Pennsylvania. They probably weren’t originally thrilled to serve in some podunk town in the middle of nowhere, but if they hadn’t, where would I be? Certainly not where I am today.
Where I am called will be perfect for me. Whether it is stateside or abroad, the mission I am called to serve in is the mission for me. I am there not only to teach, but to learn. There is someone who I need to talk with, and companion I need to learn from, a sacrament meeting I need to attend. Stateside, foreign, I could go to Mars, and I would have something to learn.
I’ve been trying to focus on what exactly a mission is to me. I realize it’s so much bigger than I am – I am merely an instrument in the Lord’s hands, a pin perhaps. This isn’t about me, it’s about God and His children. I will be blessed, without a doubt, but I’m not going for blessings for myself. I’m serving because I want to be a part of something so much bigger than I am. That’s what this Gospel is about – the individual, but also the whole.
I am so blessed to serve alongside my dear friends, despite the fact that we are scattered throughout the world. It is comforting (and slighting mind-blowing) to think that we are serving, with the same purpose, all over the globe. Moscow, Carlsbad, Goiâna, San José, Provo, Winnipeg Sofia… I am so thankful to be able to serve alongside wonderful, worthy, and precious young men and women. The work moves onward!
Tomorrow seems to approach slowly, but what is a little more time? I have waited months to receive my mission call! I will open it tomorrow evening here at home, surrounded by family and friends, with both my mom and little sister, Taylor, on the phone. I am so excited to share this moment with people who have loved and supported me over the years. I can’t wait to see where I have been assigned to labor!! Hopefully the anticipation won’t keep me awake tonight – tomorrow will be busy!
I can’t say it enough…
I am just so very blessed!