I’m a little hesitant to post this part two now that I’ve added a Facebook page because who I was at the beginning of my mission isn’t who I am today. As I’ve written this part two, it’s really made me think of how much the Atonement and my mission has changed me. But we’ll get more into that in later posts. So, here we go!
I have to admit, my mission was pretty hard at first. I wasn’t entirely sure why I came on a mission. I had a testimony about the size of a thread and I knew that it’s what Heavenly Father wanted me to do so I went. It was one of those “go and do” things that Nephi did in the Book of Mormon.
I can remember the first day in the MTC like it was yesterday. I was terrified. I take that back, I was beyond terrified. I remember my dad (he came with my mom, and siblings to drop me off) pulled up to the MTC. Then an Elder opened my door and that’s when the water works kicked into gear. Meg and Buddy were already crying and I gave them one last hug in the car along with my mom then got out. My dad handed me my two big suitcases plus my carry-on, hugged me, and then next thing I knew a nice Elder was taking my luggage and was trying to get me to stop crying because I bawled the entire way up until I was handed off to the Sister who took me to my room where I’d be staying.
Eventually, I met my companion, MTC teachers, ran into my best friend Sarah (and another friend, Shaye) who was going to a mission that was somewhat-close to mine, and realized how little I knew about the gospel. That had to be the most intimidating part. I didn’t know the scriptures as well as I thought I did. I didn’t know what the word “doctrine” or “principle” meant. I realized that I didn’t have as strong of a testimony as I thought that I had. And to top it all off, I didn’t even know why I was there anymore. It was rough.
My life before my mission felt like it was centuries away and that I was traveling off into a dark tunnel with only an iron rod to cling onto. Thankfully, Sister S. (my MTC companion) and Sarah kept encouraging me and cried with me when I fell apart. By that point in the MTC, I was sick with bronchitis, my dad had gotten engaged that weekend, and to say that I was beyond homesick would be the biggest understatement of the year. But I knew that I wasn’t a quitter. I also knew that I would regret it more than anything if I went home during the MTC. It would’ve been so easy to say, “Welp, I’m sick with bronchitis again and I’m not getting better anytime soon so please, just spare me the misery and send me home.” But I didn’t. I don’t want to sound arrogant or prideful or anything like that but I am so proud of myself for not giving up. Those three weeks were probably the worst and best time of my mission.
I loved learning about the gospel and how to teach it. I loved seeing how my testimony grew and how I really started to come to know that the church is true. I loved the people in my district and my teachers. I loved the feeling that the MTC has. I loved it! But I also really struggled because I was finding myself while trying to lose myself in the work. I was super homesick. I was sick with bronchitis. I was trying to gain my testimony back since it had been so shattered from the divorce. Looking back, I am so grateful that I bucked up because little did I know how much my mission would change me and how much my testimony and love for the gospel of Jesus Christ would grow.
Anyway, eventually the big day came: The day to fly to the Maryland Baltimore Mission.
Oh, was that the longest flight ever! And I can say that because I sincerely hate flying (I’m going to probably die when I fly out to Italy spring semester but I’ll panic about that one later…anyway…). Three and a half hours later, I found myself still panicking over the flight, and what the next eighteen months were to bring. I can remember President and Sister Richards waiting for us with the Assistants to the President. They were all smiling and excited to see us! It was so thrilling to feel like something so terrific was about to happen. I could not wait! As nervous as I was, I knew that I was where I was supposed to be. And that was the best feeling in the world.
Stay tuned for Transfers #1 & 2!