Of missions and.. missionaries.

October 07, 2012

Growing up, I never pictured myself serving a mission. I respected sister missionaries, but honestly I kind of thought of them as weird girls who couldn't get married. Young and judgmental, I know.. As I've grown up, my perception of sister missionaries has completely changed. Thanks in large part to a lot of my Young Women leaders who served missions, and all of whom top the list of most respected women in my life.

This year I live in a house pretty far south of campus. In a lot of ways it hasn't been the ideal place for a sophomore girl to live, one reason being that the majority of our ward members are quite a few years older than I am. Every now and then my roommates and I come up with various reasons why we might be meant to live in this house or in these ward boundaries. Lately I've been thinking about how many returned sister missionaries are in the ward. I look back and realize what an effect they've had on me, my testimony, and my perception of sister missionaries. These girls are incredible, and speak so highly of their mission experiences. They help me see how much a full-time mission could bless me as I strive to bless the lives of others.

Over the past month or so, I've been thinking about serving a mission more than I ever, ever have. I've been able to actually picture myself serving, and I've felt peace when I do. It's been pretty difficult for me to make Provo my home. My parents aren't here, I don't have every building and street memorized, I can't ever find anywhere to just be alone. I don't feel at home here yet. When I think of serving a mission.. bleh, I wish I knew the right words.. I guess, my heart feels at home.

My Patriarchal Blessing tells me I will have the opportunity to share the gospel and be able to take the gospel to others throughout the world. It says I will have the opportunity to serve a mission, perhaps not in my youth, but when I have matured and my mind is full of gospel knowledge. So as I'm sitting here in Provo, I'm kind of discouraged. I want to go when I'm twenty-one, but maybe I'll be waiting until my husband and I can go together. I mentioned it to Meg once and she suggested that maybe I'm in my "youth" right now, and by the time I'm twenty-one my mind will be full of enough gospel knowledge. So many possibilities.

I even thought, maybe I'll be blessed with missionary opportunities while I'm in Florida next semester. In the meantime, I started reading a book I bought last year. Eighteen Months: Sister Missionaries in the Latter Days edited by Melissa Baird Carpenter.

September 16, 2012
Regional Conference
Journal entry:

"Lately I've been thinking a lot about serving a mission. My Patriarchal Blessing says I will, but maybe not in my youth. My Bishop said I have a missionary personality. Jared said he thinks a mission would be great for me. I really want to go. I want to grow and teach and serve. Sometimes I feel… jealous? of the experiences my missionary friends are having. I don't want to be jealous, but I do want to serve. I want to grow my testimony and share the Gopsel. I'm in this stage where I feel so lost spiritually. I think a mission would really help me. It's definitely something to pray about and always prepare for. I have a year to find an answer.

Today at Regional Conference we just sang Hark, All Ye Nations! for our intermediate hymn, and I felt the Spirit warm inside me. I really want to serve a mission."

It's true about my Bishop. In the first interview I ever had with him, he asked me how old I was and if I've considered serving a mission. He told me I have a missionary personality. When Logan, Lauren, and I took Jared to Denny's before dropping him off at the MTC he asked me the same thing. He told me he thought a mission would be great for me. I never quite knew how to take these comments, but in the end I decided they were both compliments.

This weekend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held our semi-annual General Conference. It is quite literally the best weekend of the year. It's prefect weather. We get to hear from our Prophet, his counselors, the twelve Apostles, and more. It's such a family weekend, and everyone is always in a good mood.

Yesterday morning in the first session of Conference, President Monson announced that effective immediately, worthy young men will be able to leave on their missions at eighteen years old and worthy young women at nineteen. Such a huge change from the previous nineteen for guys, and twenty-one for girls. This is the biggest, most life-changing announcement from the Church I remember happening during my lifetime.

I actually wasn't watching the first session because we were up in Midway watching my niece and nephew's soccer games. Meg text me:

Meg: Are you watching conference?!
Erin: No, what's up?
Meg: Girls can go on missions at 19 now. Not kidding. I'm freaking out.
Erin: Stop. Shut up. Why am I not watching? Stupid trying to be a supportive aunt, I knew I should have stayed home and watched. (Hindsight: I'm really glad I was at their games. It's so easy to re-watch Conference online. Not so easy to re-watch these kids' childhood.)
Erin: Is there a way to watch it late? I'm so upset.
Meg: Let's go on missionssssss
Meg: I'm sure you can watch it online. Maybe. Idk if it's still 18 months. I missed it, my aunt told me. But apparently guys can go at 18 now.
Erin: I'm freaking out. My family says I'll be able to go home and watch it. I'm freaking out.
Meg: Ahhhhhhh I can't wait to talk to you about this tomorrow night.
Erin: For real, this very potentially just changed our lives.

I really was freaking out, as was my Facebook newsfeed.

This morning I had the opportunity to watch the morning session of Conference from the Conference Center in Salt Lake.

October 7, 2012
General Conference, Sunday Morning Session
Journal Entry:

"Our intermediate hymn was Called to Serve. It was kind of surreal to stand and sing that in the Conference Center, knowing the announcement that was made here twenty-four hours ago. I know I'm nineteen and that as of yesterday I am now able to serve a full-time mission at any time. I know I want to serve, and I know I've been promised that someday I will. I'm not sure when that someday will come, but the Lord and I are talking about it.

I can't say that as we sang I felt the Spirit overwhelmingly and received an answer that I should go serve now. What I did feel was overwhelmingly happy. This Gospel is true."

So that's about it. This is no announcement that I'll be starting my papers soon. (I'm still going to Disney, duh.) This is a blog post about a wonderful weekend and a Heavenly Father who knows, loves, and blesses His children, every single one of them.

1 comment :

Lesa Emmett said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm so happy to be your mom:) You WILL be a good missionary whether you're officially called or just doing it on your own. Love you!

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