My story actually starts with me deciding on which college to go to. I had narrowed it down to 3 schools: Texas Tech, Texas State, and BYU-Idaho. I must’ve prayed about this for months. But after countless pros and cons lists and many hours of praying and searching, I got the answer that I was supposed to go to Texas Tech. Texas Tech has been my least favorite school since forever. I have never liked it and it has always been a pet peeve of mine. I don’t know why. I only applied to it last minute because they had a good music school and my older sister went there and LOVED it. I was really in denial that Texas Tech was where I was supposed to go. I was dreading it. I got a Father's Blessing about my doubts and it told me that “I wouldn't know for a while why I was supposed to be there.”
So I trusted the Lord and went to Texas Tech…..and I hated it. To say I had a bad experience there would be an understatement. I had no friends and would stay in my room every day. I was miserable. I would cry every day and ask Heavenly Father, “Why am I here?” I couldn’t understand why he would send me somewhere where I was so unhappy.
I figured out after a while that one of the reasons I was there was the get a closer relationship with my older sister. She lived just 10 minutes from campus and it was the biggest blessing to have her there. The other reason (though I didn't know it at the time) was to attend the D&C Institute class, which my sister made me sign up for. On November 20th, 2013, I went to Institute that night in my lowest place. I was having thoughts that I had never thought before. I was having thoughts against myself and against life. I was worried about things that I normally wouldn't worry about. I was worried about my spirituality and I was worried about living up to what my Patriarchal Blessing says about me. And I was worried about being a good wife and mother, which I wasn't even CLOSE to being. These thoughts definitely weren't my own. I went to institute that night with a broken soul. But when I got there, the institute director gave us a hand out and asked us to underline everything that stood out to us. I literally underlined every sentence. The hand out was called “To Become a Missionary” By Gordon B. Hinckley.
“I promise you that the time you spend in the mission field, if those years are spent in dedicated service, will yield a greater return on investment than any other two years of your lives. You will come to know what dedication and consecration mean. You will develop powers of persuasion which will bless your entire life. Your timidity, your fears, your shyness will gradually disappear as you go forth with boldness and conviction. You will learn to work with others, to develop a spirit of teamwork. The cankering evil of selfishness will be supplanted by a sense of service to others. You will draw nearer to the Lord than you likely will in any other set of circumstances. You will come to know that without His help you are indeed weak and simple, but that with His help you can accomplish miracles.
You will establish habits of industry. You will develop a talent for the establishment of goals of effort. You will learn to work with singleness of purpose. What a tremendous foundation all of this will become for you in your later educational efforts and your life’s work. Two years will not be time lost. It will be skills gained.
You will bless the lives of those you teach, and their posterity after them. You will bless your own life. You will bless the lives of your family, who will sustain you and pray for you.
And above and beyond all of this will come that sweet peace in your heart that you have served your Lord faithfully and well. Your service will become an expression of gratitude to your Heavenly Father.
You will come to know your Redeemer as your greatest friend in time or eternity. You will realize that through His atoning sacrifice He has opened the way for eternal life and an exaltation above and beyond your greatest dreams.
If you serve a mission faithfully and well, you will be a better husband, you will be a better father; you will be a better student, a better worker in your chosen vocation. Love is of the essence of this missionary work. Selflessness is of its very nature. Self-discipline is its requirement. Prayer opens its reservoir of power.”
After reading that I wrote down some notes in my journal that said “I was reading ‘The Successful Missionary’ handout and a lot of stuff promised matched up with things promised in my patriarchal blessing. A lot of things I've been worried about regarding myself and my spirituality are things promised in this passage. I would be able to gain those traits that I want and need and be able to gain the blessings from my patriarchal blessing. Maybe I’m meant to go on a mission?”
Little did I know that exactly 9 months from that day I would be entering the MTC. I got back to my dorm that night and called my mom. I told her my experience and read her the passage. And when I did, I couldn't stop crying.
The next semester, I left Texas Tech and came home to Katy. I honestly forgot about the while experience. I was focused on doing my dream to work at Disney World as a Disney Princess. My mom then reminded me that I needed to pray about going on a mission. When she gave me the reminder, I remembered a conversation I had with Ashley Perez. She was telling me about a missionary she was writing letters to who got robbed at knife-point. I started things that maybe a mission wasn't for me. But from then on, a mission was the only thing on my mind.
I would watch the Sister missionaries and they would know the answers to everything. I didn't graduate Seminary. I’m not the best about talking to people or being outgoing. Every time I thought about a mission I would get super nervous and feel sick inside. I have never seen myself as a teacher or a leader. I was praying about going on a mission…but at that time, I wanted the answer to be a no. Going on a mission would be 100% out of my comfort zone. But I needed to know. I prayed to Heavenly Father one night and said “I trusted you when I went to Texas Tech, and I’m trusting you now. But if it’s a yes, I need to feel peace. Because right now, I don’t feel like I could do a mission. I feel very inadequate.”
I went downstairs after my prayer for family scripture study where we were reading the story of Enoch. We read Moses 6:31-32
“31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying:Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.”
When we read that, I felt peace. I knew that all I had to do was open my mouth. Through my long process of deciding to serve a mission, it lead me to what I chose for my missionary scripture. Proverbs 3:5-6
“5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thineown understanding.
Through preparing for my mission, I have grown so much already. I’m so grateful to be able to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that it is the true church on the earth today and I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it testifies of Christ. I can’t wait to serve the Lord and the people in Ogden, Utah!