It was the year of 2011. A most memorable year for me indeed. On a memorable day, Good Friday to be exact, I was baptised as a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Confirmed as a member the following Sunday. I had no idea then, as I’m sure most people don’t, that four years later I would be a completely different person.
That November while in a conference of some sort, the missionaries were asked to stand and sing “Called to Serve”. In a chapel full of sunlight, all the missionaries present came to the front, lining up beside and behind one another and began to sing. I remember the feeling of hearing them proudly sing the words to that well-known hymn. I thought to myself, “I want to be like them one day.”
From that day my desire to represent Jesus Christ and serve Heavenly Father as a full time missionary grew. Slowly but deeply. The most interesting thing was that I had stopped preparing for a mission and started dating instead. I didn’t even realise that this desire was growing. In April 2013 as I was walking to the Institute Building in the city I stopped at a traffic light, finally admitting to myself that I wanted to serve a mission. Immediately I felt free! It was as if a weight that I didn’t know that I had been carrying was no longer there, all in an instant. It’s amazing what weight self-denial brings into our lives and the burden it places upon our shoulders. Fear of preparation (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial) and laziness prevented me from accepting the desire that Heavenly Father had planted deep within my soul that day at conference.
A few days later another very important conference was upon us! It was General Conference. An opportunity for all to hear the words of a living prophet and apostles. I decided to ask Heavenly Father to confirm the desire that I had to serve a mission. I knew that I would receive an answer as I sat and listened, searched, as The Lord’s servants spoke. Throughout the first session of conference I was so overcome with the Spirit. A steady stream of tears came, not stopping. I felt impressed time and time again that I need to serve a mission. This experience is incomparable to any I have had since. No words can describe the feeling of the Spirit, especially when He speaks to us all differently.
Great! I wanted to serve a mission. God wanted me to serve a mission. It would all work out perfectly. “Preparing for a mission will be easy and I’ll be on my mission before I know it.” Oh the words of a naïve 20 year old. Preparing for a mission has not been easy. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my entire life so far.