JANUARY 16, 2013: 3 months after the missionary age for girls lowered to 19. This is a journal entry from the night I decided to serve a mission.
Deciding whether or not to go on a mission is no light-hearted or easy matter--and I didn't treat it as such. Last October when the missionary age lowered, it started a frenzy of people going. It almost became the "cool" thing for girls to go on missions. I wrote off a mission pretty much because I thought I'd just be going for the wrong reasons, which at that point, was true. I pushed the whole mission idea to the side and didn't truly consider it until a serious talk with my mom over Christmas break brought it front and center in my mind.
I honestly didn't think I could do a mission. Did I even have a strong enough testimony? Could I handle another language? Could I work that hard? Would I be disappointed if I went stateside? So so many variables to consider. These thoughts and many others racked my brain.
Heading back to school, my new Book of Mormon teacher challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon in two weeks--38 pages a day. I decided I wanted to do it right; not just read, but study. This took 2-3 hours a day, on top of my other school work and job. It wasn't easy, and still isn't--I'm not finished yet!--but I had faith that good would come of it.
Tonight is a Wednesday, and so many of my friends received mission calls! I was supposed to go to the BYU basketball game with my parents but decided to stay home. At 9, after hearing so many calls opened, I texted my mom saying "I want to go on a mission." Then later, "I'm not positive, but I want to." I proceeded to go online and read articles about sister missionaries. After two, I was tearing up, so I knelt in prayer and told the Lord that I was going on a mission, but needed confirmation that it was right for me.
After reading three more articles, it hit me--the spirit--and so strongly! I knew that a mission was in my future, and that I could, in fact, do it. All my worries and questions just disappeared. I don't even get how, but all of a sudden I didn't care if I went stateside, and I didn't feel uncapable. I felt very much so that I would be a missionary, and I would love serving the people and the work, no matter where I went. It was empowering and gave me a sense of purpose. I was ecstatic--and still am!
I couldn't stop repeating in my head, "I'm going on a mission. I'm going to be a missionary!" And as to be expected, the tears were sure flowing. In the midst of all my missionary-visions and crying, I couldn't help but keep thinking, "is this real life? Am I really having one of those crazy spiritual experiences that every one talks about?" I knelt and thanked the Lord for giving me an answer to my prayers, and letting me feel the spirit in a way I haven't felt it in a long time--and maybe ever. I'm so grateful to be in a better place now. It's easy now to look back and see the things which led me to this point--like how while reading the Book of Mormon, everything kept relating to missionary work! So many little things like that. It all just began clicking and making sense.
I went into Genevieve's room after about a 20 minute crying and pondering session. She, of course, thought something was terribly wrong, and I struggled to explain through my tears that I was happy and I was going on a mission! We just hugged and cried and talked for about an hour. Genevieve is a deep thinker like me, and I'm immensely grateful that she was there and could share this moment with me.
I left to call my mom, and right as I dialed her number, a knock at my door revealed it was her! Imagine that. I told her the news and she was thrilled, especially being the return Sister Missionary she is. We went to the car and told my dad. It was great talking with them too, they always have such great insights.
Now here I am writing, and still in shock. It's crazy how in three short hours everything has changed--my future, motivation, love of the gospel, understanding of past events, and above all--gratitude to God. I can't believe I'm lucky enough to have such an incredible experience, and there's no doubt that this is just the first of many to come while I embark in this amazing opportunity of service and personal growth. I keep imagining sitting in people's homes, proudly wearing my name tag, probably being worn out, but sharing an amazing message with them and feeling true joy. I don't know who these people will be, but I will love them and I will love serving them.
I can't wait to serve my God, to whom I am completely indebted. I'm so grateful for this personal revelation I've received, and the complete state of happiness I'm in. I know God has a plan for me, and a piece of it was revealed to me tonight. This church is amazing. I can not wait to go and serve.
(soon to be) Sister Bishop
This night changed my life. Still grateful for this experience and am so glad I wrote it all down! I love going back and reading it.