Slowly but surely the thought kept popping into my head, "You need to serve a mission." I'd dust it off as quickly as I would shake off the thought of doing the load of laundry sitting in my closet. Honestly the idea seemed just as unwanted. But every so often the same feeling would wash over me, "Go on a mission.". One night before bed, I was trying to fall sleep and thought to myself "Why am I thinking this? I'd be no good as a missionary." I said a prayer to my Heavenly Father and asked Him why this thought was on my mind so much. I got the answer I knew I would- in my heart I felt strongly that I needed to serve. I was confused, but at the same time I knew that if that was what God wanted me to do, there was no way I wasn't going to do it. So with a new found desire, I committed myself to prepare to serve a mission.
I didn't have any idea where to start. (Can we take a moment to appreciate the effect technology has in our lives?). I was instantly able to start researching what a mission was really all about. The more I read about it, the more I was determined to go. One of my biggest fears was not knowing a lot about the scriptures. I'm hardly a Bible scholar, and my willpower to commit an entire book to memory was not great. But the more I learned, I saw that it wasn't about spouting out a fountain of knowledge- it was declaring the simple truths I already knew. It was about service and loving people. It was about showing my Heavenly Father I loved Him so much that I would sacrifice a year and a half of my life to serve Him.
|Before I opened my mission call|
I'm going to be really honest when I say that when I opened my mission call several weeks later and found out where I was going, I wasn't just disappointed- I was devastated. I tried to put on a happy face and hide how upset I was- I didn't want my family or friends to know how I felt. I was ashamed of myself for not being more excited. I can still hear myself reading aloud, "You have been assigned to labor in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission," and thinking "FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT." It wasn't so much about not learning a new language, or not getting to go abroad (though those things bugged me too). It wasn't even about how much I hate cold weather and the mere thought of snow makes me shiver. I knew what I was signing up for, you don't choose where you want to go. But in that instant, I felt like God didn't know me. I expected a sense of peace or confirmation when I found out where I was going, but instead I felt dread. For me, accepting that mission call was one of the biggest trials I've faced in my life. I'd never felt further away from my Heavenly Father then in that time period. For a week I didn't even look at my call letter- if I pretended it didn't exist, I could carry on with my life and act like nothing would change. I had three months before I left, so in the meantime I ignored it. I finally admitted to myself what I was doing and came up with two options: either accept God's will for me and press forward, or I could wimp out and decide I didn't want to serve anymore. The second thought killed me, and I knew in a heartbeat that wasn't the decision I would make. All I could do was kneel in prayer and pour my heart out to God. I remember telling him pretty straightforward that I had been angry, that I felt alone, and asked why He let me feel this way after prompting me over and over again that I should serve. After ranting for a bit, I felt strongly that mission calls truly are inspired. Minnesota may have been the last place I wanted to go, but I was certain that if God was sending me there, it was the only place I needed to go. Once I realized that what Heavenly Father wanted for me was ten times better than anything I could have hoped for, I finally felt the peace I was waiting for.
|Finally reading aloud where I was going|
Looking back, maybe my trial was showing God I would still commit that time to Him, even feeling as unsure as I did. Proving not only to Him, but myself, that I was still determined to go on a mission, no matter the outcome. The hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" has been playing in my head the last couple months, especially the verse that says: "But if by a still small voice He calls to paths that I do not know, I'll answer Dear Lord with my hand in thine, 'I'll go where You want me to go.'".
Now, with only a month to go before I leave, I couldn't be more excited to serve the people of Minnesota. I'll learn to deal with the snow, I'll learn to be separated from my family, but most importantly, I'll learn to be more like my Savior. I'm growing closer to Him and our Heavenly Father every day and I bear my testimony that this church is true. I wouldn't be spending 18 months of my life teaching something I didn't believe in with all my heart. I can't imagine living my life having questions about where we came from, or where we're going when our time on this earth is over. I know no matter what happens, families are forever (which means I'm stuck with mine for eternity- but they're pretty great, so no complaints here ;) ).
And with that, I have to go purchase a pair of heavy duty snow boots. I'm ready for you, MinneSNOWta.
Until next time, Rachel (soon to be Sister!) Brett