Sunday, August 31, 2014

They're gonna call me on a mission!

Exactly one year ago I was spending my first week in the BYU dorms. I was living in a new state with a girl I had only met over webchat a couple times. I was officially a student at my dream university with a plan to double major in inter-disciplinary humanities and choral music education with a minor in history {I laugh about it now, too. Don't worry}. I was applying to spend a semester studying abroad in London for the fall of my sophomore year and I was going to graduate with my bachelors in 2017. If you would have told me that I was going to be turning in mission papers right now, I would have laughed and told you that there was absolutely no way I was going on a mission. I just didn't have the desire to go and I had prayed about it but it didn't feel right for me. It wasn't that I didn't want to share what I know, simply that 18 months is a lot of time in the life of a 19 year old girl with as many plans as me... plus I didn't know if I could handle eating weird food or never being allowed to sleep past 6:30 or biking all day in any kind of weather or having only a couple hours of free time for an entire year and a half. Missions are really hard work, you know?

Wow. A year changes things, doesn't it?

Today I'm packing up my life to move to London in less than 4 days {actually that's a lie... I haven't even started packing. but I should}. I'm hoping to major in Finance. Some of my favorite activities now include reading Preach my Gospel, reading Elder Holland's talk about "The Miracle of a Mission" {if you haven't heard it, GO READ IT}, continually adding to my "mission" Pinterest board, and reading weekly emails from the majority of my close friends who are scattered across the world as missionaries. It'll be two years until I'm at BYU again but I know, without a doubt, that I am supposed to serve a mission. I made this decision the very last Sunday at BYU and I've spent all summer going to doctors and dentists and oral surgeons and interviews with the bishop and stake president and now I can officially say that MY MISSION PAPERS ARE IN! In a few months I will be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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The missionary age change occurred the fall of my senior year. I was in Washington DC visiting Ryan and Tiffany so I hadn't watched the session of conference yet but I heard about it because every LDS person with a Facebook seemed to be live-posting the announcement. I thought "well that's cool... I still don't want to go on a mission and at least 50% of male BYU freshmen are now turning in their papers. great." And that was the end of that.

Once I got to BYU every single date I went on {this is not an exaggeration}, every person I met, and almost every conversation I had involved the question "are you going on a mission?" and the answer was no. I had absolutely no intentions of going on a mission and I didn't feel like that was Heavenly Father's plan for me. {If you're ever bored I'll explain my theory on why I didn't feel the need to go on a mission until after my freshmen year.}

Near the end of winter semester my Book of Mormon teacher said something that made me take a step back and decide to ask, one more time, if a mission was right for me. {backstory- my teacher was a mission president in Spain a few years ago} He told our class that, although he had lots of really awesome young men who served in his mission and were there for the right reasons, the young women were his favorite because they were on a mission ENTIRELY by choice. It wasn't a duty for them and it wasn't expected of them. They were there because they loved the Lord so much that they were 100% willing to give up thousands of dollars and 18 months of their lives just to serve Him. I said a quick prayer that night asking if I should go on a mission. Then finals came and I was stressed and tired and trying to live up my last week as a freshmen. I completely forgot about it.

The very last Sunday at BYU was Easter. We got ready for church like usual and showed up 30 seconds before it started {like usual} and out of breath {like usual}. The first speaker was Sam, a boy that I was pretty good friends with {thank you freshmen english, ha}. I can't remember what he said, but during his talk I got a very clear answer to my question. I spent the rest of Sacrament meeting crying because 1) I didn't like my plans being turned upside down 2) I, by no means, felt even semi-prepared to serve a mission 3) I had never felt such a strong prompting in my life.

Serving a mission is actually the hardest decision I've made. I'm a goal-oriented person who likes to have every aspect of my life planned out and by the middle of my freshmen year, I had everything perfectly figured out. I was going to London this fall then I would take 17 credits of finance prerequisites winter semester {I may have died in the HBLL studying for all those classes... oh goodness would that have been awful}. I'd apply for the program in June and start my junior core the following fall. I had toured housing with Cady and we'd found the perfect place for us. And life was going to be fantastic.

Well, none of that plan is happening. I'm deciding to live the motto "it feels good to be lost in the right direction". It really does. I'm not sure when I'll leave on my mission so I don't know when I'll get home. I don't know where or who I'll live with my sophomore year. I may change my mind about what I want to study. I may be in Africa or Idaho in a year, for all I know. But one thing is for sure: I can not wait to see what God has in store for me over the next couple years. Heavenly Father knows more about me than I do. I've realized that my life is still going to work out how it should, even if it's not how I've planned it. Just because I'm putting my life on hold for a year and a half doesn't mean I won't get into the finance program or meet an amazing priesthood holder or enjoy my last couple of years at BYU. All of that is going to happen {I sure hope...} it's just happening a little bit later. I'm grateful for the chance I'll have to be a representative of Jesus Christ and teach the gospel for a year and a half. I'm so thankful for my family and friends who have been so supportive {and also laughed a little since I was super against a mission not too long ago... I'm talking to you Lori!! ;) }

The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is on the Earth today. I know that He loves me more than I can possibly imagine & that God's timing is more perfect than my own, and I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing in my life.

My mission papers are in & a call is coming my way soon.

Life is good!

Next stop: London.

-Erica

interesting links:

- Along with the Holy Bible, I will be teaching about The Book of Mormon. Get a free copy here!
- what is an LDS missionary?
- all the different missions I could be called to!
- this is a cool perspective of being a missionary from an elder in the field
- Mormon Newsroom video about what a missionary does


source

4 comments:

  1. Erica I loved reading this because it seems we have had very similar summers! If you would have told me in April I would be about to turn my papers in four months down the road I would have laughed too. You can read about my mission papers story on my blog http://camarinoel.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-general-conference-april-2014.html. Good luck with everything! Its so exciting to get to know other future sister missionaries and hear about how Heavenly Father called them to the work. From reading your blog I am sure you are going to be an amazing missionary! Thanks again for sharing your story!

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    1. Thank you so much! I loved your story as well!

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  2. Wow I am so lucky to be your friend...love you and I'm so proud of you!!

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    1. Wow, I am so lucky to be YOUR friend! I love ya girl!

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