My decision to go on a mission didn't come over night. In fact it has been several years in the making! It all started after I had graduated High School and moved away from home to attend college. I've always had a testimony of the church and had spiritual experiences that helped to strengthen that testimony, but after pondering my life and the direction I wanted it to go, I decided that I wanted more. I wanted to be directed more by the Holy Ghost to do those things that my Heavenly Father wanted me to do and be the person that He wanted me to become. I started praying for more opportunities to be an instrument in His hands and to be guided by the Spirit.
Soon came the opportunity for me to work at Oakcrest LDS Girl's Camp for two summers. I was a counselor one year and a first aid specialist the next. These were two of the best summers of my life! This experience gave me the opportunity to spend all my time getting to know my Savior Jesus Christ, my relationship with Him and what He has done for me. Not only did I do that, but I had the amazing opportunity to share that testimony with young teenage girls and see how that knowledge changed them in one simple week. I also got to practice relying on the Spirit completely, because He knew those girls better than I did, and He knew what they needed to hear.
Throughout those two years, I also had several experiences in which I felt the Spirit was guiding me in my own life. Who to date and who not to date, changing apartments at the last minute, turning down a job offer that I had been waiting MONTHS to get, etc. These experiences were sometimes really hard, but Heavenly Father always provides a way when he gives us commandments! They helped me to recognize exactly how the Spirit talks to me personally. So, when I started feeling like I needed to serve a mission after my last summer at Oakcrest, I recognized immediately who it was coming from! That doesn't mean I listened right away. In fact I resisted the feeling for several months, justifying that I had just started nursing school and that not every girl is supposed to serve a mission.
Finally one night, after I had been struggling over this feeling that I was having, I started praying to Heavenly Father and asking for His help. I told Him that I recognized what He was asking me to do, but that I had no idea how it would be possible. I needed Him to show me. A very peaceful feeling came over me and I felt like He was saying, "just keep doing what you're doing, and I will take care of the rest; I will show you when the time is right." So, that's exactly what I did. Except this time around I stopped resisting the idea of actually going. A few months later, I was put with a nurse in a clinical who had just returned from a mission in which she had served as the nurse. I had no idea that sort of mission even existed! Then another 6 months later, President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement that the mission age was being lowered to 18 for guys and 19 for girls. Even though this announcement had nothing to do with me (I'm 22), I felt overwhelmed that now was the time for me to start working on my mission papers. So that's what I did! I made an appointment with my Bishop and got started!
Just when I thought I knew the direction my life was supposed to go in, I got thrown another curve ball... However, this curve ball was highly welcomed :) I met Michael in January on a "blind date." One of his best friends, Xander, took my sister Amy on a date and wanted to make it a double. So, he brought Michael and Amy brought me. We had an awesome time on the date and really hit it off. We hit it off so well, that I started questioning whether a mission was really in my cards.
My papers were all ready to turn in, I just had to give the bishop the "go ahead." When I finally told Michael of my mission plans, we both decided that I would put off the papers to see where things could go for us. It quickly became apparent that I wanted spend the rest of my life with him. After a couple months, the feelings of needing to go on a mission returned. "WHY??" I thought. But I have never ever been disappointed by following a prompting. I knew that Heavenly Father knows what's best for me and that this is what he was asking. So, next came telling Michael. It was hard for the both of us, but we decided to take a day to fast and pray about it together. Whatever answer we both got, we would move forward and not look back. Obviously, we both felt like this was what I needed to do. I am SO blessed to have Michael in my life, and that he is supporting me in this decision. It's a sacrifice to be apart, but it will be so worth it in the end. So, all within the next week, I turned in my papers and put my two weeks notice in at the hospital I was working at.
The call came on April 11, 2013!
I was called to serve in the Honduras San Pedro Sula East mission as the Mission Nurse Specialist. Spanish Speaking. Reporting to the Mexico MTC on August 7, 2013
It has been quite the journey to get to this point, but I'm loving every minute of it. Since receiving my call, I graduated from nursing school and got engaged. It's crazy to see all of the incredible things happening in my life all at the same time.
I know with all my heart that these blessings come from my Heavenly Father. I never would have pictured my life the way it is right now, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know that the Lord knows what's best for me and that if I follow the promptings of the Spirit that I will never be led astray. He can do more with my life than I ever could alone. This will not be easy. In fact it will be really hard... I just dropped Michael off at the airport to head back to Canada this morning and it was the hardest goodbye! But, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I have a long way to go to become the person that He wants me to be, but I'm excited for this next step in the process.