Going on a mission is something I’ve always wanted to do. Both my parents served missions in Bolivia and growing up with two brothers missions were something that were talked about all the time. Serving was always part of my life plan. Once I started attending Brigham Young University and got further into my major I began to question whether I would actually go on a mission. I loved my Elementary Education classes and was really looking forward to becoming a teacher and wasn’t sure if I wanted to put that off for the duration of a mission. The summer before I turned 21 I had the opportunity to work as an Especially For Youth counselor. I loved my experience working with the youth and devoting my summer to helping strengthen their testimonies of the Gospel. It was while working a session of EFY that I had an experience with one youth in particular where I felt so strongly that the spirit was speaking through me to help this girl. It was as I was answering her questions that I had the strong impression that I did not need to serve a fulltime mission in order for the Lord to use me as an instrument in his hands. I took this experience to be my answer to the question “am I going on a mission?”
Two months after I had made the decision not to go on a mission my family experienced an unexpected tragedy when my 4 month old nephew Riley passed away from SIDS on October 7th. As my younger brother and I met up with our older brother and sister-in-law in the hospital I kept thinking about how grateful I was for the knowledge of gospel, that we knew this nightmare would end and we would have Riley with us forever. We all had the opportunity to receive a priesthood blessing from my brother and sister-in-law’s bishop. As I was being blessed with peace of mind and comfort I felt more than ever before that I wanted to serve a mission, not because I was required to do so or because I needed to, but because I wanted to be able to bring the knowledge of the gospel to families who have experienced a loss like my family had.
In the months following Riley’s passing the idea of going on a mission kept coming up. I prayed many times; “Am I going on a mission? Do you want me to go on a mission? Should I go on a mission?” and felt like I wasn’t getting an answer. I came to the realization that I needed to follow what is taught in D&C 9:8 “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” I wanted the Lord to make the decision for me instead of going to Him with a decision and asking if the decision was right. Once I came to this realization I moved forward with the process of starting mission papers and changed my prayers to “I want to go on a mission, please help to know that this is the right thing for me to do.” I had such a good feeling every time I thought about going on a mission and every time I did something in the paperwork process. I knew that this was confirmation that the Lord was pleased with my decision to go on a mission.
It didn’t take long to submit papers and receive my mission call to serve in the Brazil Sao Paulo North mission. My older brother served in Recife, Brazil and my younger brother had already received his mission call to Goiania, Brazil so my call completed all three siblings to serve in Brazil. My report date is October 6th, one day shy of the anniversary of Riley’s passing. The past year has been one of so much spiritual growth. I know with all my heart that the Plan of Salvation is real. I have felt the healing power of the Atonement in my life stronger this year than ever before. I feel I am more prepared to serve a mission now than I would have been had I left right when I turned 21. I know that the experiences of the past year will help me to be a more effective missionary as I testify from personal experience the blessing that the Gospel has been in my life. I am excited for the opportunity to serve as a fulltime missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to share with others the knowledge of the Gospel.