When President Monson announced that the age sisters could qualify for missionary service had been lowered, I was overcome with emotions. I felt as though I knew more certainly than ever that Thomas S. Monson was a Prophet of God, and knew with all my heart that the Lord is intricately involved in the details of my life. I remember thinking of a quote I had found earlier that week while researching for a Church History paper. It was Parley P. Pratt's description of how he had felt after learning of the temple sealing ordinances. He said:
"I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved with a pureness -- an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling...I felt that God was my Heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother, and that the wife of my bosom was an immortal, eternal companion...My dearly beloved brother, Joseph Smith...had given me a single glance into eternity" (Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 1938. 259-60).
I love the way he explains this sacred experience in his life, and found that it many ways paralleled my response to President Monson's announcement. The age change verified that I had been led by the Lord to make certain changes in my life, and it seemed to light my mind with a clarity; in Parley's words, "an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling." I wish I could explain how clear it was in that moment that my Heavenly Father had wanted me to prepare for this purpose! I knew the path I was meant to take, and I knew He had directed my life to lead me to this point. The Spirit rushed into my heart, filling me with the purest joy and love. It whispered to me that the all I believed was true -- that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me, that He sent His son to atone for my sins and to die for me, that President Monson is the Lord's voice on earth. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church, restored to the earth again.
Maybe someday I'll write the full story of how I ended up deciding to serve a mission. (Another story for another time!) For now I'll try to quickly summarize the rest...
From the time I heard President Monson's prolific announcement, I knew that I would serve. The question I found myself petitioning to the Lord with time and time again in those following weeks was whether He wanted me to go immediately, or to wait another semester. I can't begin to put to words what an immensely spiritual process it was to learn God's will for me. I know that Heaven's hand led me to the decision I reached, and that I was being watched over.
Skip forward almost four weeks, and I met with the Bishop for the first time. The process of submitting my mission papers took another couple of weeks, and then everything was finished! My Stake President sent in all of my papers to Church Headquarters just before Thanksgiving, and all I could do was anxiously wait for my mission call to arrive. I'm not sure I did so great at the whole "patiently waiting" thing, but like clockwork, it (finally) showed up in my mailbox the Wednesday of the two week mark...and here we are now.
I made this video to help me to always remember the way I felt when I first received my call to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It means everything to me, and I know that this is what God wants me to do at this point in my life. And what a blessing it is! Less than a year ago, I never would have guessed that I would be leaving to serve a mission in such a short period of time. I am so immensely grateful for the blessing it is to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, and for a living Prophet who seeks to know God's will for His people.
This is an incredible time to be alive! The Lord is hastening His work. What a blessing it is to be able to witness it!