Friday, October 30, 2009

My Missionaries.

I had the opportunity today to attend a special Zone Conference/Mission tour. Elder Bruce C. Hafen was there to speak to the Appleton/Green Bay/Wausau zones. And it was absolutely fantastic and had me thinking about all the missionaries in my life that have influenced me. Whether it was in the past 12 hours or the past 21 years, each one of these missionaries and many more have helped me.
Here's my dad. My first missionary influence. Because of him and his missionary experiences, (can't forget his song, either) I learned service. I've always been exposed to having 'missionary moments' and things like that with him. Not only was my dad a missionary then, but he's been a missionary now and has been my whole life. He's always spreading the gospel wherever he goes. Whether he's on the phone with a Customer Service rep from Dell, or someone he'll meet on an airplane, he's been a great example.a> Dawna Jensen. She was a sister missionary in my area for a long time. Probably longer than she wanted, but I was grateful for her. She was such a great influence for me at my young age of 13. I couldn't have asked for a better friend than her. She was always so willing to help me in whatever I was doing. She showed me how AWESOME sister missionaries are and was the perfect example for me. I can't stress how great she was! The impression she instilled in my mind is just not expressable. She's my favorite and THEE best sister missionary ever!
Jenny McGraw. What can I say? This woman is full of pure joy and selflessness. She's just so happy and is more than willing to serve. I love reading her letters and seeing her strength. She's taught me a lot about being adequate and relying on the Lord. The people of England are certainly blessed to have her there with them for 18 months.
Elder Wilkins and Elder Yates were the missionaries in my area after I got home after my first year of college. Because of my nutso track, I didn't have a lot of friends and they became some of my best. They also were just a fantastic companionship to watch. They gave so much service and had a great knowledge of the gospel. Their testimonies were absolutely amazing, in addition to their incredible understandment of the Atonement.
Elder Stoker and Elder Valentine. Yes, that lady in the picture isn't Elder Valentine, but I didn't have one of him. Haha. But these two Elders played a part in my preparations for a mission. They were there when I opened my mission call and even though they were late, I refused to open it unless they were there. They challanged me each week with new studies and I'd have to report to them. They taught me so much about accepting others and helping each other through difficult situations.
My cousin Alex. He was the first person that I ever had to send out on a mission. And even though we're cousins, I was definitely emotionally attached to him. He was my best friend. And his example to serve a mission was so great. And even though I miss him like crazy, I've just seen the immense growing that he's done in California. It's so impressive how much he's changed. For the better, of course. I just am so proud of him!
Ryan Corob. Ryan and I met in college through my cousin Lauren. And Ryan and I haven't even known each other for a year, but he's affected me more than I ever expected. Ryan just left the MTC and is serving in Slovenia. He, along with Jenny, just have showed me how important relying on the Lord is. Ryan has such great endurance even though things are hard for him. He isn't giving up. He's still determined to be a great missionary.
The Barretts. I cannot say enough great things about these wonderful, amazing people. They truly are inspired and have been called of God. I know that my life has been blessed by having them here. My life has been changed because of them. I will never be the same because of them. What great missionaries these people are! I absolutely love them and will forever cherish their wise counsel and wisdom that they've provided me with. Oh yes, and Todd's great too! :-)
Elder Bruce C. Hafen. Today at the Zone Conference, he taught me so many new principles that I'd never thought of before. Not only about missionary work and the outlook on that, but about the Atonement and the Restoration. I know some people think he's out of touch and doesn't know what he's talking about, but they are sorely mistaken. This man has EVERY idea and knows what he's talking about. The spirit he brings is unmistakeable. He's truly been called of God to bless the our lives.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Stages of Feelings.

Well, it's getting down to the wire now. On Wednesday, it'll be 3 weeks til I report to the MTC. And I can't begin to describe the feelings I'm having. I'm feeling so many different feelings that I never thought I'd have. This whole process for me has just been a rollercoaster of feelings.
I remember back on July 16th when I decided that I was going to go on a mission. That experience with President Barrett was and is such a sacred one. Those feelings of peace and comfort from my Heavenly Father were so overwhelming. I'd never felt like that before. I remember thinking that I wanted to be on a mission that instant after I'd talked to President Barrett. What an inspired man he is. My life is only blessed to have him be such an influential part of my young adult life.
After my papers were submitted on August 2nd, it seemed so surreal to me that this was actually happening. I couldn't believe it - it just didn't seem real. Especially after my interview with my dad. Once again, those feelings of a loving Heavenly Father came swirling back. And at that instant, I knew once again that this was the right thing for me at this point in my life. I was so ready to go conquer the world. To go teach the the people of the world that the restored gospel is on the earth again. To bless my spirit brothers and sisters with the happiness and joy the gospel brings.
When that call was opened on August 16 - just one short month after my decision was made to serve a mission - it was all real to me. I remember holding that call, my hands just shaking. I was holding a letter from the Prophet who had received revelation from God to let me go serve HIS children. He's putting his faith and trust in me to help His children. Woah. What a great responsibility that is. The realization as I was opening that big, white envelope was that this was it. There was no turning back. I was going to do this. I was going to leave my family for 18 months to serve the Lord faithfully. That's when I started to get nervous.
The months have just ticked by and I've been trying to prepare for this great adventure ahead of me. I've heard that those are the hardest months between opening the call and reporting. I was lucky it is just a mere 3 months. Any longer I'm afraid would be too long for me. The hardest thing for me hasn't been the temptations or anything like that. It's been the feelings of inadequacy. The feelings that I'm not prepared enough. I don't know enough about the gospel. Or scriptures. My amazing Father in Heaven knows just what I need though. He inspires my missionaries what they need to write to me in letters. He knows that I needed to read Neil L. Anderson's talk 'You Know Enough'.
And now as I'm under a month, I've just been sheer nerves and excitement. Nervous because I want to do fantastic and I want to learn all I can and be fluent in Spanish. I want to learn everything possible at the MTC and learn it perfect to a t. I'm so excited to embark on this new adventure in my life.
I've just seen a girl that I was in the Youth Program with just come back from her mission to Arizona. I just read a blog entry from Dawna [a sister missionary that served in Wisconsin when I was in jr. high] talking about the end of her mission. And it just makes me sad. Knowing that I'm going to have to leave those amazing people I will grow to love. Those people that were my family for 18 months of my life.
But, despite all the feelings, I'm just taking it day by day and getting more and more excited as the days go by. I'm ready to go and do!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Month.

And counting! Exactly one month from today, I will be reporting to the MTC. I can hardly believe it and as I'm getting more and more excited as the days go by, I'm also getting more nervous, too. Oy vey.