I want to take a minute before I leave to reflect on the things that have gotten me to this point.
So many things.
In October 2012, President Monson stood at General Conference and announced new ages for missionary service. Honestly, my first thoughts were about all of my guy friends who would be leaving over the summer. Boooooo. And then I realized that a mission could be in my future, too. Wait…what?
While in this decision making process, I went to a doctor's appointment and he asked if I was planning on serving a mission. Just as a bit of background, I was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when I was in second grade, so that's what I was at the doctor for. I told him that yes, I was seriously thinking about it. "Well," he said, "I just want you to know that I haven't had a patient be called out of the country in over 20 years." Oh. Dang.
I was selfishly disappointed and discouraged. I sort of questioned if going on a mission was the right thing for me, especially since I hadn't had a clear answer before this. I was frustrated that my arthritis was holding me back from yet another thing. And super confused. If I was supposed to go on a mission, why would this be limiting me?? Ultimately, one night, all these thoughts and frustrations forced me to my knees. I laid it all out for Heavenly Father. I told Him that I had the desire to do His will, I had the desire to go on a mission, but I really, realllllly needed to know if it was what He wanted me to do. I plead for an answer.
Guys, God answers prayers.
Literally as I was standing up from my prayer, the words to the hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" came to my mind. I wasn't super familiar with the words, so I grabbed my phone, opened my handy little Gospel Library app, and looked it up. The first verse says:
it may NOT be on the mountain top
or over the stormy sea
it may NOT be at the battle's front
my Lord will have need of me
I had an incredible feeling of comfort and peace come over me and I knew in that moment that the Lord was aware of me and loved me. I felt so humbled and grateful. I have continued to feel that way. Over and over again this has been my answer. Every time I have had doubts or fears or frustrations, the answer has been, "I'll go where you want me to go, my Lord will have need of me."
Guys, God loves us.
There have been too many "coincidences" (aka tender mercies), so many incredible connections (c'mon guys, my college roommate lives in Ventura. Crazy? Um, yeah! And that's just the beginning). I've had such great examples throughout my life. Back when I was little enough to ride on his shoulders, Grandpa Clark started asking, "You going to serve a mission?" He, and the rest of my family, have been incredible examples and teachers. I've been blessed to have so many lifetime missionaries surrounding me. Countless leaders, teachers, bishops, friends, and strangers have often unknowingly guided me. Thanks guys.
And just so you know, when I got my mission call I bawled like a baby as a read that I will be serving in the California Ventura mission. I have never felt so good or right about something. I know that I have been called to serve where I need to be, and I could not be more happy.
Not to mention that I'm basically going to paradise. Um perfect weather and no snow for 18 months? HELLO. Learning Spanish? HOLA.
Moral of the story...I can't wait to head out for 18 months to be the Lord's investigator and preach the good word.
Peace, blessings, and love. xoxo