My decision to serve a mission felt like I got broadsided by a 2X4 (God works in mysterious ways). Below is the intro to my two farewell talks regarding my decision to serve a mission (but I have added more details. Random sidenote: so would this be considered a Clifford's notes version? i.e. the long version or opposite of "Cliff's Notes" haha. That's probably not even funny, I am just super sleep deprived due to thoughts about my fast approaching mission keeping me awake). I apologize for those who had to suffer through one (or both ) of my talks and are thus bothered with redundancy, but I felt the need to memorialize my decision to serve here on my blog:
On February 17 of this year I found out that the Lord wanted me to serve a mission. I remember this date distinctly because it came as a big shock. I was visiting my parents for the weekend and was attending a session of stake conference with them. During the meeting the impression came that I should serve a mission. Now, normally I am pretty good at suppressing these kinds of crazy thoughts that pop into my brain. However, in this instance even though I knew the thought of me serving a mission was insane, I had never had an impression hit me that hard before, and I knew that it was the Lord's will. And I started to cry. Profusely and uncontrollably. My poor sister sitting next to me kindly handed me tissue after tissue to help stem the Niagra Falls of tears that I was producing. (On the plus side she thought I was really, really into the speakers, so that was good.)
After the meeting I went to a private area and I prayed and turned to the scriptures to see if this crazy notion was indeed what the Lord wanted me to do. At the suggestion of my wonderful mother, I had been participating in a 30 day "take a daily question to the scriptures challenge" from the book Change Your Questions, Change your Life, by Wendy Watson Nelson. On that particular Sunday I was almost done with this challenge. I felt the Spirit confirm to me after my prayer and study that I was to serve a mission, and then I read through my journal entries from the past several weeks of doing this challenge. And the answers that I had received from the scriptures regarding questions I had about school and work and relationships, all pointed towards a mission, something that I, in my thickheadedness, had not noticed until that the prompting came in that session of Stake Conference.
After reading my scriptures and past journal entries, I went downstairs to tell Mom and Dad concerning the Lord's desire for me to serve a mission. Once I saw my mother, I started bawling again. Upon seeing my blubbering my Mother's face was one of pure panic. I am not sure what was going through her mind, but I am pretty sure that she was in the beginning stages of cardiac arrest. I was able to choke out that the Lord wanted me to serve a mission and that I was scared. Mom lead me into the living room and she held me as I cried. I told her how the impression had come to me during Stake Conference and how I had prayed about it and felt like I got a confirmation. I didn't really talk too much because I was crying so hard and honestly it was such a shock. After a while, I asked if we could pray together and we went into the other room and told Dad and asked him to pray with us. Mom offered a prayed for me to have confidence in the promptings I had received and to have comfort and peace. This prayer was answered, and has been numerous times since as I have prepared to serve my mission.
I contacted the ward clerk that night and set up an appointment with the bishop that week. This was done so quickly because I wanted to show the Lord that I would faithfully act on the promptings He gave me, and also I was hoping that my bishop would talk me out of this whole crazy mission idea. At the beginning, everything I did in preparing to serve a mission, including meeting with the bishop and going to the stake mission prep class, I did with the intent to be talked out of going with a mission--that never happened. In fact, these preparations only confirmed to me that I should serve a mission.
Although I had received a confirmation of the decision to serve a mission, I still had concerns and worries and a lot of doubts. I knew that the Lord wanted me to serve a mission, but so many things seemed to argue against this fact, like I didn't want to go, I am a few years older than the 19 year old missionary, I have a mortgage, I have a job and a life here, and I try to avoid people rather than seek them out and share personal experiences with them. And included in this unending list of reasons why I didn't/couldn't/ or wouldn't serve a mission was the fact that I really didn't want to give a talk in church. Of all the concerns this was indeed one of the more ridiculous ones, but it was a very real concern. God has a sense of humor though, first of all because I never had any desire to go on a mission and somehow he's gotten me ready and excited to go out into the field, and also because I not only have to give a talk in church, but I get to give two, in my single's ward and in my parents' ward.
The decision and preparation to serve a mission has been filled with trials and blessings. It's been a rough road, but the Lord has been on my side and has strengthened and supported me. Also, my wonderful family and friends have been such an amazing source of support, encouragement, and love. I have been very blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord and the people of California Rancho Cucamonga in T-minus 14 days!!!