Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A New Chapter : Called to Serve

      I received a letter on January 16, 2013 from the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, UT.  After two and half months of decisions, doctors appointments, and interviews, I had been extended a call to serve as a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. I had a few close friends and my family (with the help of technology) with me when I opened it. I had no idea what to expect, and I definitely wasn't expecting what I read:

"You are assigned to labor in the Philippines Quezon City Mission....
You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Tagalog language."
    In the weeks prior, I had thought about where I might get sent. I loved the idea of going to Europe (my ancestors are French, and English and German I think?, and I still fully intend to go there in the future); everywhere I thought about in Asia (Russia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan) kind of scared me; South America...I would have learned to love. I decided that anywhere would be exciting, though, because I haven't really done much in my life so far, so even serving in a different state in the U.S. would be incredible.
     Honestly, though I knew the Philippines existed (and sort of had an idea where they were located), it not once entered my head as a possibility that I might be called there.

     The location of where I had been assigned to labor wasn't so important, it turns out. Don't get me wrong, I know without a doubt (and I knew before even opening my call) that it was inspired. I know that the Lord has chosen to send me to the Philippines because that is where He needs me. The more important thing though, I have come to realize, is that I have been called to represent the Lord and entrusted with the responsibility of preaching His gospel. THAT is the reason that I am so excited to serve.
     I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, just as it was when Christ himself was here. I know that the truths of the Gospel, the commandments, the covenants, the doctrines, are tools that help us to become more like our Savior, and to find peace and joy in our lives. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that His Atonement rescues us from not only our sins, but also our pain, our sorrow, our sicknesses, our imperfections. Because I have received a witness for myself of the truth of these things, I want to share them and help others gain their own personal witness.
     It's like when you hear a new song or band, and you have to play the music for all your friends, because you can't get over how great it is. It's like discovering the most delicious recipe, and wanting to make it for your family or roommates, so you can all enjoy it together. It's like being in a swimming pool on a hot summer day and inviting those on the outside to join you and feel the same refreshing cool. It's all of those things and more. I have found peace and joy and comfort and strength in my life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's simply too wonderful to keep to myself.