Kenzie, Emily and any other girl who is thinking about serving…
Missions are hard. Really hard! Nearly unbearably hard. The MTC, not hard. The MTC was awesome every second. The mission has awesome moments, don’t get me wrong, but it also has moments where you are in the lowest low you have ever felt. Moments where all you want to do is crawl back into Mom and Dad’s bed and never ever grow up and never leave their side again.
That being said, I know that this is where God wants me. That is my first piece of advice for you. Find out clearly if this is what God wants for your life. That takes a strong measure of spiritual preparation. Study how to receive revelation and follow each principle with EXACT obedience. A good place to start would be Richard G. Scott’s talk, “How to Receive Revelation Through the Scriptures” and prayer in the Bible dictionary. You are going to need to work hard for clear and crisp revelation.
You are going to need to give yourself to much fasting and prayer and study and TIME. It’s a process, not meant to happen all at once. My process took a solid 8 months and it was not easy, and I gave up a wonderful boy to be here.
The second thing you must do is rid your thoughts of absolutely every fantasy you have about what a mission is.
I’ll tell you what a mission is: It’s work. Mental, physical and spiritual work.
You don’t have You time. You don’t have the privilege of saying, “I’m tired, my feet and all my muscles kill I’m just going to lay down.” You don’t have the privilege of using a cell phone when you actually really need it (we have an old one for our team, but can only call/text no Google maps) You don’t have the privilege of sightseeing. You are on a mission to work. To follow the rules even if you don’t understand why. To live and be around another human 100% of the time (and I’ve had good humans to be around) You are here to talk to people who don’t think you are precious. You are here to do things and say things that you wouldn’t necessarily want a stranger to do and say to you.
But, if you come here with a TESTIMONY and the desire to work and especially with a knowledge that the Lord wants you where you are then you will be given the strength to endure the hard times and appreciate the good times.
A testimony is really the key. Build your testimony in the simple doctrinal truths. Know that the Book of Mormon is true. Know that God loves you. Know that families can be together forever. Know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Know that the Savior atoned for the sins of the world. Know that we have and had a prophet. Know that the Priesthood is real. Know that the church is true, every auxiliary. Know that the temple is the house of God and the work that is done there is real. And know that this gospel is not only true for you, but for everyone else as well.
It is crucial that you understand that a mission is not synonymous with a fun and exciting adventure. It is NOT a study abroad. It is NOT a good way to learn another culture or another language. It is NOT a good way to pass the time while your boyfriend is on a mission. It is NOT a good way to run away from problems at home. IT is NOT even a good way to become a better person. A mission is work. It is soul-stretching, physically exhausting and mentally draining work.
BUT, IT IS THE LORD’S WORK. It is teaching me so much. I have never been so converted to this gospel in my life and I have never been closer to our Heavenly Father. I’ve already seen miracles. I genuinely am developing characteristics of charity, faith and diligence that I don’t think would be possible to develop any other way for me personally. I am blessed and see the hand of the Lord daily. I am slowly but surely learning how to feel the spirit to guide me to people who are prepared for this message. I have never known my scriptures better. I have never loved my family and desired to live with them forever more. I’ve never felt more love for strangers. I’ve never come to a better knowledge that every other person on this earth is loved the same by God as his child. I’ve never cried more. I’ve never been so bold. I’ve never stood so starkly for anything. I’ve never lived so simply. I’ve never wanted more people to have the gospel.
If those are the types of things you truly desire in your heart, I can testify that those are the things my mission has done for me already, and I think a mission could be a good path for you. If you are coming here for another reason, Good Luck.
(Mathew 10:39. ..the only reason you go. You can’t come looking to find yourself.)
Also, you would be wise to prepare better than I did. Take much less thought to your mission wardrobe and spend time preparing to go through the temple, spend time going on splits with the sister missionaries. Spend time knowing your scripture mastery. If you are trusted (not blessed) enough to learn a language spend time studying that language instead of worrying about eating at your favorite restaurants for the last time. Worry about strengthening your muscles and legs to walk with heavy bags. Just be practical.