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.