My Decision to Serve a Mission (the long version):
I have been asked the question of 'why?' by many, many people since I made the decision to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And to be honest, I have asked myself this question many times as well. Why submit an application and save money for six months to go somewhere out of my control for eighteen months of my young life? Why leave my family, my first nephew who is just nine months old, opportunities to start my career, and plans to move to and explore a new place? I had a plan that included all of these things comfortably right in my reach. I had a plan to venture out just beyond my comfort bubble so as to not feel like I was lost in what is known as post college graduate life. It was perfect, foolproof, a solid five year plan and by the end of it I'd be sitting pretty in my own home enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate as I watch Utah's autumn colors flow in the cool breeze. But if you have not noticed, this was MY plan...
I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father, one that is rooted in faith and trust. I turn to Him in happiness and gratitude, in confusion and sorrow. Naturally I went to my Heavenly Father with this seemingly 'perfect and foolproof' plan to get feedback and see what He thought of it. The answer was no. Simply no. Simply you need to change this so called 'foolproof and perfect' plan. It was a smack in the face that I could not believe happened.
Just as I had gone to my Father in Heaven to confirm a plan I had thoroughly devised and investigated, I returned to ask again. But not to ask about MY plan, but HIS plan. Almost grudgingly I sought for guidance. It was clear and concise just like his first answer: mission. Nothing else. Just that. And even as I tried to reason with him it was still simple and clear: mission. And after weeks of consulting and searching more on the issue the answer flooded my mind every opportunity I had to feel the Holy Ghost's influence: mission.
Fears and doubts flooded my mind for the following weeks and I eventually wrote them all down. The list covered a computer piece of paper, front and back. My unfeminine chicken scratch covered the page messily: leaving my family, I'm not smart enough, I'm going to punch my companion, missing so much of my nephew's young life, I don't like talking to strangers, career opportunities are staring me in the face, I cherish my alone time, I need to get married so my kids can grow up with their cousins, I don't want to have a roommate ever again, my fear is greater than my faith, I'm not worthy. I went to my Heavenly Father for help. Really, as I prayed sometimes that was all I would say, 'HELP!' I felt helpless at times. I knew it was His will for me to serve, but in order for me to accept that I needed some major help and added reassurance in His plan. And lo and behold the man upstairs came through big time! As I prayed and had spiritual experiences every single one of my fears was crossed off my list (literally). My Father in Heaven confirmed to me that everything would be okay and that He would take care of me. As I went to the temple He'd cross of two, as I bore my testimony he'd knock off another as I testified of things I had worried so much about beforehand, He helped me recognize joy as I strove to serve strangers.
I now know that His will for me is to serve the people of the Iowa Des Moines Mission, even if it means my five year plan will have to be delayed another eighteen months.
So if you ask my 'why?' right I would have so much more to say, but I will answer you simply, just as he answered me. I am serving because HIS plan has become MY plan, because I know without a doubt that he will take care of and bless me and my family, and because if He loved me enough to tell me that my 'perfect and foolproof' plan needed to be put aside than I love Him enough to serve Him.