Growing up, a mission never crossed my mind. Not that it wasn’t an option but it was never really discussed and I never considered it. The boys went on missions and the girls got married is how I saw it. And if a girl didn’t get married then she would go on a mission, maybe. I didn’t have negative feelings towards a mission, like I said I just never considered going. Until the age change…
In the October 2012 General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced, “that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.” Suddenly half the older young women I knew at church were leaving on missions. I still didn’t really give it consideration. Soon after the announcement and the flood of young women going on missions, straightaway everyone and their mom began to ask all the young women that were left whether they were going on missions and actually expected an answer. At first I just shrugged, said I hadn’t thought about it, and used that for my answer. But people kept asking as if I was supposed to know as a 16 year old what I was going to do with my life in 3 years. So I began to think about it.
I prayed and tried to get an answer, unsure of what what that might be. I heard of girls suddenly knowing they were to go on a mission or that they had other work to do. But I didn’t seem to find that clear answer. My patriarchal blessing told me I would have the chance to be a leader and share my testimony with others in the church and in the world but that didn’t necessarily mean a mission. So I kept searching. Slowly I began to feel that Heavenly Father would bless me whether I served or not as long as I help to build up His kingdom. I continued to search what His will was for me, how I could serve Him. But it wasn’t until I started making decisions that I felt were right and working towards something that I finally received my answer from God.
I attended my stake’s mission prep class each Sunday and got to know our sister missionaries. It was the first time we’d had sister missionaries in the years I’d been in the ward. They were young, funny, happy, and surprisingly a lot like me! They’d gone through the same trials I was having during my first semester of senior year and really helped me to strengthen my faith. I began to want to be like them and so the desire to serve began. I began to feel that I needed to serve in His kingdom and bring others to Christ through a mission. I decided to fast and pray about it on the first Sunday of that month. I asked my Heavenly Father if that is what He desired of me. And I received an answer of confirmation. I remember the sister missionaries taught that Sunday as they did each fast Sunday and that the Spirit told me that I needed to be doing what they were.
I still hesitated because it was so much time and money that would have to be sacrificed by me and my family. I didn’t know how we would have the means for it. I was studying the Doctrine and Covenants and one day was making my way through section 84. Verses 80-84 read:
80 And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.
81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.
82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.
83 For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.
84 Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.
Heavenly Father truly does know what we are going through, the things we desire, and what is truly best for us. He testified to me through this scripture that everything was going to be okay. We would somehow find the means to pay for my mission and be blessed for my efforts. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers because He has answered mine, many times over. We must simply rely on Him to guide our way and keep walking.