Gradually over time and without my knowledge, I had become incredibly disheartened and discouraged as the prospect of serving a mission seemed like more of a far and distant dream instead of an eventual reality. Why? Well since my decision to serve a mission I have struggled to prepare financially. Challenges arose throughout my journey that set me back and I struggled to recover from these.
Late last November in a meeting with my manager, she had asked if there was something wrong with me. She had noticed that I didn’t seem like my usual self over the past couple of months. I had slowly become more withdrawn and seemed really unhappy. As I sat talking with her I realised that because of my struggle to prepare to serve financially, I was so disheartened and discouraged that I was very near being depressed. Everything in my life was affected including my work. I knew with all of my heart that I desired more than anything else to serve a mission and I tried to come up with different ways in which I could prepare financially, but despite my efforts serving a mission just felt like a dream.
After that meeting I left work on sick leave. As encouraged by my manager, I immediately met up with a close friend. Up until that point I had kept my feelings to myself not realising that I was probably doing more damage than if I had opened up and shared what was really going on. As my friend and I discussed how I felt, she gave me some wise counsel and encouraged me to see my bishop. Multiple times I had entertained the idea of talking to my bishop but then I would convince myself that no one could help me and I already knew what he would say. In a way, I felt shame. Shame that I couldn’t do it [prepare financially] all by myself. I felt that I should be able to do it and each time I couldn’t I would mentally berate myself.
For so long I’ve only ever had myself to rely on and became accustomed to only ever relying on myself. But now, at one of the lowest ever points in my journey to prepare to serve a mission I was desperate and exhausted from trying. I knew I needed help and I knew I could no longer help myself. In all ways possible I was drained – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I went to see my bishop.
The following Sunday I sat in his office and poured out my whole heart and soul to him. I expressed to him how deeply I desired to serve a mission. I explained to him some of the circumstances I was in which prevented me from preparing financially. It was one of the very first instances in which I had done so to a church leader.
As Bishop and I continue to speak he told me that there is funding available for people like me, people who have a sincere desire to serve a mission but lack the funds to do so. He told me not to focus on the financial aspect of serving but to instead continue to prepare spiritually and ensure that I was worthy to represent Jesus Christ. He also encouraged me to begin completing my Missionary Recommendation Form. Immediately I felt this heavy burden lift and I felt physically lighter. I couldn’t stop the steady stream of tears flowing down my cheeks. For almost three years there was a pressure gradually building inside me and it finally burst! I had never felt so exhausted and yet so renewed at the same time.
Just when I thought I couldn’t go on any longer, the Lord stepped swiftly in to show me that He was there all along and this was always part of His plan.
It was a miracle! And little did I know that this would be the first of many throughout the next few months…