My roommate, Emma, and I had actually missed this announcement because we turned on General Conference late. It was our roommate, Alli, that told us what all the excitement was about. This change hit me really hard and it was not long before the three of us were crying and talking about the possibility of serving a mission. As I actually considered the effects of this change, I was honestly terrified. I had a plan for my life, and although I was grateful for this new opportunity, it came out of nowhere and I did not know what to do with it. I talked to a couple of my aunts who had served missions and to my friend Dan as well. I was trying to learn all I could about what a mission would really be like before making a decision.
During this time, I felt a strong need to be here at BYU. I had friends going through hard times and a girl I was serving as a mentor for. I felt like I was making a difference here and felt peaceful knowing that here is where I was needed.
It is amazing to see how the Lord prepares you and paves the way. Looking back, I think I needed fall semester to mentally get used to the idea of serving a mission. When I came back to BYU for winter semester, I did not feel the responsibility I had felt during fall semester; my friends were doing a lot better and I was not needed in the same way. In addition, I was no longer dating anyone and Emma had moved out. With all of this change, I felt I should reconsider going on a mission. Once I decided to reconsider, I was anxious to find an answer. For a while I felt like I wasn't any closer to deciding yes or no. I decided to talk to my bishop and open my papers to see how I felt as I worked on them. By the time my meeting with the bishop rolled around, I had almost fully decided that serving a mission would be the right thing for me at this time. My assurance grew as I talked to my grandparents and also emailed my cousin, Mitch, who was on a mission in the Philippines. Once I decided to go, everything fell into place. It took a while for my papers to open, but when they finally did, I was able to schedule my physical for later that same day. Within a week and a half of my papers opening, they were submitted.
The Lord always provides a way. I recieved my visa information a little over a week ago and found out they had to be completed in Texas. I began to feel stressed about how everything could be completed and sent to Salt Lake before March 26. After talking with my parents, we bought a plane ticket on Tuesday, I flew home Thursday, completed my visa stuff Friday, flew back to Utah Sunday, my mom drove to Austin, had all the forms authenticated, and sent them to Salt Lake City today. They will reach the church office in SLC on March 20.
I said goodbye to my Grandpa Jim and Grandma Mary yesterday as they leave this week to begin their mission in Nauvoo, Illinois. I am so excited for them! I am eternally grateful for the example my family is to me. Here is a picture from their farewell. My great grandpa is 99. He served a mission as a young man in Denmark and later with his wife as a senior couple in New Zealand. My grandpa served in the Gulf States mission when he was a young man. My grandparents have served missions together in the Salt Lake City Family History Library and now Nauvoo. My cousin Mitchell just returned from a mission in the Philippines. I cannot wait to follow in their footsteps.
135 more days!