Wednesday, February 13, 2013

so what's the reason...

I feel as though I have always understood that missionary calls are divinely inspired. I understand that each missionary is assigned to the mission that they are truly meant to be in. In a talk given in the 2010 General Conference Priesthood session, Elder Rasband spoke on the process in which calls are made.

"I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.
First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world." (The Divine Call of a Missionary Ronald A. Rasband)

This quote only served to reiterate what I have always known: Each and every call is divinely inspired from God.

Now having said that, I was completely caught off guard by my own emotions towards my mission call. Don't get me wrong, I felt the spirit so strong and I know that my assignment to serve in New Zealand is truly from God. However, I have to ask myself  "Why am I supposed to go to New Zealand?" and "What do I have to offer to the people of Auckland?". I guess its not that I am questioning whether or not this call is from God, but I am trying to figure out the reason behind it. There is a reason or a person that is responsible for my assignment to New Zealand, I just need to be prepared so when the moment comes I can fulfill my purpose. Wow that is a lot of pressure! It's a good thing I guess that I have FOREVER to prepare. :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

And so it begins...

Well to say that it has been forever would be a gross understatement. I had a goal of writing consistently but to be perfectly honest, I have had to make some very hard decisions since my last post over two months ago and it has taken me this long to be able to write them. I also have AMAZING news! But more of that later. First, onto the hard stuff.

So I previously mentioned that I was planning on finally going to college and to say that I was excited wouldn't even begin to cover it. However, life (or my loving Heavenly Father) threw me a curve ball. As I was filling out my mission papers and things were falling into place there, my college plans were falling apart. (one of the big things was the money that I had saved to cover my housing cost had to be used to cover the expenses of having my wisdom teeth pulled so that I could go on a mission.) I began to seriously question whether or not I was meant to attend college. Well, I say that I was questioning it, when in reality I had already made the decision that I was going to go no matter what. However, there was always something in the back of my mind nagging at me to consider staying home. After a while I voiced my concerns to my parents and they told me to be prayerful, but that this was a decision that I had to make on my own. I have always been taught that when approaching the Lord for help you need to have already made a decision and then ask for approval - you have to meet him half way. Anyways I prayed and prayed asking flat out whether or not I should leave for college, but I never received my answer. I finally resolved that I wasn't getting an answer because I was not approaching him with a decision. During this struggle, my loving and dear Bishop called me in to talk about this situation. Now my Bishop is a HUGE advocate of leaving the nest and cutting the cord so I was surprised that he seemed to counsel me more about the advantages of staying home verses leaving. Its funny now though, when I recall my thoughts as he was speaking to me, I thought in my mind "It doesn't really matter Bishop, I have already decided to leave." He then proceeded to tell me that he already knew what I would do and that he was going to write it down, lock it in his desk, and wait for me to come back and tell him my decision. Well a few nights later I decided that I couldn't take the anxiety any more and that it was time to make a decision. Now this is where it gets a little tricky to explain and you'll just have to try to understand where I am coming from. So like I said one night I just couldn't take it anymore. I sat down and made a list of the pro's and con's to staying and leaving. (and may I say that the pro's of leaving outnumbered those staying, but the pro's of staying seemed greater in magnitude) Finally after all the torment I had been experiencing I said out loud to myself  "I AM GOING TO COLLEGE!" Then I humbly got on my knee's and placed my decision before the Lord. I was expecting to feel immediate relief because the decision had been made but sadly the feeling of severe anxiety only increased. Me, being the stubborn person that I am, believed that I had made the right decision but that I was just nervous to leave home. Well having said that, I did not sleep at all that night. I can only describe the feeling I had as a sense of urgent anxiety or severe nervousness. When I awoke the next morning, I was still plagued by this awful feeling. I then figured I'd read my scriptures and feeling will go away, but it didn't. In fact it only multiplied. This was a difficult situation for me because I had never read the scriptures and felt that way I did; and to be quite honest it scarred me. Out of desperation, I said out loud "Heavenly Father I am leaving for school" and it was like a stampede was released in my stomach. I knew then what the answer was but for a time I refused to believe it. I wouldn't say it out loud. I tried desperately to read my scriptures harder but things just got worse. Again I repeated "I am going to school" and I suffered the same result. Finally I said the words I told myself I would not say. I spoke the phrase "I need to stay home." At the very moment the words were out of my mouth, I was filled with an undeniable peace. To test it one more time I said "I am leaving." And again that horrible anxiety rushed into my stomach. "I am staying." I said for the final time and again the peace returned and I was filled with the conformation that I was meant to stay here an prepare for my mission. Now the heartbreak that ensued was almost as unbearable as the anxiety. Almost. Although I was devastated that I couldn't leave for school, I couldn't deny what I had felt. I knew that I needed to stay. I only moped for about a week and part of it was the reality that my best friend  would soon leave me for the very place that I wasn't able to go (we were supposed to be roommates...). But like I said I was still filled with the comfort that I was doing what was right. It is still hard sometimes being stuck here but I'm enjoying the last precious time that I have with my family.

Well that's the hard stuff and this is the good stuff (and some more hard stuff). So my mission papers were submitted to Salt Lake on December 19 meaning the calculated date that I should get them would be January 12. Sadly however, on the 5th of January (a week before my papers were supposed to arrive) I got a call from mission head-quarters. The lady I spoke with asked me if I had any history of heart conditions. She said that they were worried because my pulse rate was too high. In a panic I called my doctor to figure out what was going on. But because I was so nervous, I asked for my blood pressure and not my pulse rate. Anyways long story short I felt like and idiot when I told her my blood pressure. Then I felt like a bigger idiot when I had to check my own pulse with the lady on the phone. It was the longest minute of my life. But all was well, my pulse was normal, and the lady determined that it must have just been a typo. Although we had the problem resolved, it pretty much guaranteed that my papers wouldn't come on time. I then anxiously waited for the next Thursday, hopeful that my call would arrive. Our mail comes at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon and that Thursday morning felt like centuries. Now imagine my disappointment when I opened the mail and it was empty. My mom then proceeded to tell me that my uncle who is a mail man had said there was a mail truck that had broken down somewhere and he believed that my call was on it. As sad as I was, I was still very hopeful that it would come the next day. To my relief, my mother woke me up the next morning, Friday the 18th, and explained that my uncle had called and said that my letter was waiting for me in the post office. I was elated! Once I finally had the letter, we decided to open it later that night when all my family and friends could get together. Back story time: during the weeks after I had made the decision to stay home and as I was waiting for my call, the thought occurred to me that maybe I couldn't go to school because I was going to be called to serve in Idaho. Now as great as Idaho probably is, it was the LAST place I wanted to be called. Anyways, that night we gathered at my grandma's house in her sun-room and I opened my call. Here is a video because I am not sure words could quite do this moment justice.

That's right I pretty much am called to serve in the the coolest place on earth and I am beyond excited. I report to the Provo MTC on May 15, 2013 and that is currently 92 days away. (it feels like FOREVER!) So I am just continuing to prepare and get ready. Time is moving so slow but I know I can make it through somehow.

I promise from here to when I enter the MTC to write as often as I can about my journey to the MTC and to my mission. Perhaps writing will help the time pass :)

And so begins my future as a missionary and my future as an adult...