Thursday, February 28, 2013

Plans I Plan to Keep

I'm beginning the countdown at the 2 month mark. Officially, that starts tomorrow. But who said I had to be official here? I'm leaving for the MTC in 62 days!! I can't believe it. Time has definitely flown by. There is still so much I have to do!

Goals for prepping LUGGAGE:
1) Get everything done and packed at least a month before. Pfffft! Yeah right, like that will happen - I'll be stuffing everything in the night before. I mean, come on, it's just how it always happens. :)
* But really - if you can, get it all done quickly. You won't be so stressed when the time comes to say goodbye.

2) Don't pack too much of everything. Pack lightly, pack lightly, pack lightly. I can always get more where I'm going. Sometimes it's hard to remember I'm not going foreign...
* Girls like to pack more than they need, especially if you're going away for months on end. If you're going State-side, don't worry. Chances are you'll be able to find the same face wash in your mission as you use at home. No need to pack large amounts of everything you have. Also, don't pack things you won't need for a few months especially if it's bulky. Have your family send it out to you when you need it.
* If you're going foreign and you absolutely can't live without your specific brand of shampoo, then by all means, take it, and take a lot of it. But it's also great to try new things. Pack without going over your airline luggage limits. If you pack too much, you can always send it home.

3) Find a hair product that will keep my curly, frizzy hair manageable in humidity. That's another false hope I have. I'll probably just deal with it some other way, like shaving my head. If only that were allowed.
* No matter what kind of climate you're heading into, if it's different than what you're used to, you're most likely going to have to change a few things and you're going to have to figure it out there because it won't work the same way where you come from. Wonderful.

4) Remember to put everything I'll need the very first day into one bag.
* This will be helpful. Everything will be easy to find.
5) Remember my pillow case.
* I HAVE to remember that one. I can't stand to think about the alternative. Shudder.

Goals for prepping PHYSICALLY:
1) Go jogging every day. Right.
2) Take my dogs for walks.
3) Go running. Ehhh - maybe. Eventually.

Goals for prepping SPIRITUALLY:
1) Pray the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning.
* If you forget, do it in the shower.
2) Get in the habit of studying in the morning.
* Study Preach My Gospel (PMG) EVERY DAY. Especially go over chapter 3 and practice teaching the lessons with your family, maybe for Family Home Evening. If you don't do Family Home Evening, start. There's a reason you're supposed to do it.
*Study the scriptures included in the lessons and start memorizing. Share your insights and WRITE THEM DOWN.
3) Read the Book of Mormon the whole way through before starting my mission.
* This is one my Mission President said to do. Know the Book of Mormon.
4) Pray before getting into bed each night.
* Pray for specific things. There is power in doing this. You will be praying specifically for your companion and those you teach all the time while in the field.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Five States All In One Mission

There are more than a few reasons I'm excited to serve in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia mission:
1) I think it's cool that I get to serve where my ancestors settled. They covered a huge chunk of my mission. WHAT!
2) My mom grew up in a town just a short car ride outside of my mission boundaries and I have a lot of family in the area. None of them are members. I told myself before I received my call that I would love to serve anywhere the Lord put me. I had no way of knowing I would be teaching the gospel in a place that is so close to my heart.
3) There is so much history in this mission! Not just my family history but also a lot of church history and our country's history as well. I definitely have the coolest mission EVER. But that's just my biased opinion. Please, nobody take offense. :)
4) A temple is going up in Philadelphia, styled after historic buildings like Independence Hall. How awesome is that?? It's scheduled to be finished in 2014. It might even be done before I finish my mission! If not, that's OK. I can always go back. :) It would be an amazing experience to do the work for some of my ancestors back East where they first settled.
5) My mission includes parts of 5 different states: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and all of Delaware. I've visited Pennsylvania and Maryland before but I don't think I was in the areas my mission covers. Everything is new! There are so many places I could wind up!

Here are some awesome attractions just in Philadelphia:

I hope I get to eat one of these! A real-life Cheese Steak. :)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Art is so.. artsy. This is where the Rocky statue lives.

Independence Hall - where both the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were signed. Ooooh.

The Liberty Bell!

The Penn Museum. It has nearly one million artifacts from all over the world! I've heard they have real mummies. :)

I like history. And I'm a nerd for museums.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What A Great Man He Was

"Today many sisters are being called to serve. Many more are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or don't have anything else to do, but they have the desire to serve. One reason that the Lord wants more sisters to serve is because within the next generation He will send His priesthood army to the earth. He wants to send choice spirit children to mothers who have been prepared, properly trained, and taught in the gospel. What better schooling can a mother have than the experience and growth she gains through serving a mission?" -President Gordon B. Hinckley

My Story

Here's how this goes:

The idea of this blog is for me to use the time I have left before entering the MTC to write a sort of "pre-mission" account and then my mom will post updates and tips after I leave. I hope this blog will satisfy anyone's curiosity about what I'll be up to in the field (like many people actually care, right? :)) and MAYBE encourage and help other young ladies who are considering a mission or who are preparing for one. It may even just be a help to any person who reads it, for whatever reason. My purpose for writing this is that I only hope it helps someone in some way.

I suppose I should give an introduction about me and my journey getting here. I am 19 years young and will turn 20 just before I enter the MTC. I grew up in an LDS family but due to the fact that young women are not required to serve missions, I never really considered it. Sure, I'd picture it, but it never looked quite right to me. I'm a pretty reserved personality and shy around some people. I didn't think these traits were what was needed when serving a mission. I felt that if I ever did decide to serve a mission, I would be held back because of my fears and I would have to come home early. I was terrified I wouldn't be a good missionary.
Missionaries need to be bold, confident, and stand out. For the longest time, I thought those traits were what made a missionary. I didn't realize until very recently that personalities of all types are needed, and that those traits you feel could be developed further, would in fact be developed on your mission. Growth is a huge part of serving a mission.
Two years ago I met a person who changed my life. He was confident, charismatic, and everyone who knew him loved him. He was the exact opposite of how I saw myself. He knew what he wanted and went after it. I didn't know that he would soon become my best friend and the greatest example to me, and it wasn't until a few months ago that I realized that the time I spent with him prepared me for something I never thought I would or could do. He is now serving his own mission and continues to be a light to me.
In October of 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced to the world that the age a young man could now begin serving as a missionary was reduced to age 18 and the age of which a young woman could begin serving was age 19. This announcement caught many people off guard and many were overjoyed by it. When I heard it, I suddenly realized what I needed to do. There was no doubt in my heart that I would serve a mission. After much praying and fasting, I started the mission application.
I look back at the process I went through to get to this point in my life and can't believe how far I have come. Before the announcement, I really thought I wouldn't serve a mission. The second I realized what President Monson had said, I suddenly knew that I would. There was no decision slowly building in my mind beforehand - it was a sudden decision. I knew immediately that I was going to serve a mission and that my time to serve was now.
As I had time to think about my decision, I thought about my knowledge of the gospel and how much I really knew. I didn't feel confident that I knew enough, I still don't. But I know that this is the Lord's work and I am His servant. If I do my best and follow with exactness, I will be endowed with power and receive knowledge in the moment that I need it.
I'm not a perfect person. I'm quiet, reserved, and at times, lazy. I've realized that these traits can either hold me back or I can use them to help progress the Lord's work. I don't have to be confident in the beginning. I don't have to be bold at first. I might not become the most outgoing person on my mission, but I will be developed the way I need to be. Missionaries are developed in different ways. Everyone needs something different. This goes for people investigating the church as well. I am needed in Philadelphia. I'm not confident in a lot of things, but I know I'M NEEDED.
My grandpa once told me that I am going to Philadelphia for three reasons: to be developed spiritually by my Heavenly Father, to be developed characteristically by my Heavenly Father, and because there is someone there who only I can touch. Me, someone who's shy and quiet, can do something good for someone else! We all feel that we're not good enough at times. The adversary does his best to thwart us and bring us down. But with the Lord's help we are lifted up.
I still have a long way to go but I have already changed for the better. Completely putting my trust and faith in the Lord has done a lot to improve so many things about me. My life isn't perfect, in fact a lot of the time it's hard. But I know that as I prepare for my mission and rely on the Lord for strength, I will receive it. Some days I fee like Satan is screaming in my ear with a megaphone. But I know that by living my life worthily, I can have the Holy Ghost accompany me and I can conquer the adversary's lies. For where the Spirit dwells, Satan can not reside.
I am so excited to serve the people in my mission. I love them already. They have a special place in my heart because my mother grew up only a few hours outside my mission boundaries and I have a few relatives living around there. I can't wait to begin my mission and the rest of my life after that. It'll be rough at times but I will witness many miracles. It's going to be an amazing journey.