And WOW. Can I just say that I am theeee luckiest girl in the entire world?
I have SO MANY people who love and support me- I was completely overwhelmed yesterday. Sitting up on the stand and overlooking the congregation in that chapel took my breath away because all the people I loved were sitting there in one room. It was amazing :)
Thanks to everyone who came to support me speaking and then those who came to the house afterwards. It was such a special day.
For those of you who don’t know, I have been called to serve in the Nebraska, Omaha mission.
· Omaha is the 42nd largest city in America.
· Nebraska is known for their sunsets, and for those of you that know me, know I LOVE a good sunset. Emily and I used to sit out on the corner and watch the sunset and wave as many of you would drive past.
· Nebraskans LOVE their sports. The college World Series is held annually in Omaha and the cornhuskers have had 11 undefeated seasons.
· Kool-aid, and TV dinners were invented in Nebraska
· Spam is produced in Nebraska.
· Famous residents include Warren Buffet, and Thurl Ravenscraft- who is the voice of Tony the Tiger
· Nebraska is home to the world’s largest porch swing- fitting 25 adults.
· Donut holes may not be sold – it’s illegal
· WINTER QUARTERS
· As of right now, there are 16 girls that have their calls to Nebraska, 5 of which leave to the MTC the same day as me.
So this is where I will be spending my next 18 months and I’m excited to be able to call it home.
I’m going to start this off by addressing the first half of my topic, which is “Following the Prophet”
October 6th, 2012 was a day that has now changed many lives. In the Saturday Morning General Conference session, President Monson announced that boys may serve missions at age 18 and girls at 19. That day happened to by my 19th birthday.
I remember it very well. My mom woke me up, my dad made omelets and after I heard the news, my whole view for the future had suddenly changed. I remember crying hysterically all day and I didn’t quite know why, but I couldn’t stop.
Growing up, I never thought I would go on a mission. I figured it was the boy’s job and I would be focusing on dating and marriage by the time I turned 21. However, I remember having a talk with Scott Park before he left and thinking to myself “gosh, I wish I could just leave the world for a while and focus on the gospel”. I thought similar thoughts when my brothers left as well. But I never thought that it would ever happen.
After the announcement, I was amazed at the response from my friends about the age change. Instantly, so many of them were making plans to leave.
I like to relate this to Joseph Smith’s day. When Joseph received the command to move the saints across the plains, people dropped everything to follow his instruction.
The same is true today. I have seen friends put off education, quit jobs and drop full ride scholarships to follow this instruction from our prophet.
In my student ward up in Logan while I was attending Utah State this last year, we had over 75 people who received mission calls. Just in my ward
And in my stake? We had over 500. Just from these last 2 semesters.
You can imagine the missionary spirit and influences that I had up there.
It took me a while to receive my answer though. I went through a personal journey of a lot of hardship and tears. Questioning everything I thought I new to be true.
I would get frustrated so much because I felt like Heavenly Father wasn’t answering my prayers. But looking back, every one of those prayers was answered.
All these challenges made my testimony stronger then ever though
A quick trip to the temple gave me my answer.
My roommates and I went to do baptisms early one morning before class and after returning to the dressing room, I turned to my roommate and without really even thinking, I said “I need to go on a mission” and she replied with a big smile saying “I knew you would say that”. And an overwhelming feeling of relief and comfort came over me. Along with A LOT of fear because I knew that I now had a big responsibility.
But as the Lord says in D&C 38:30 “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.
Bishop has also asked me to speak on preparing for a mission. I was going to stand up here and tell you what kind of shirts to buy, the stores that give discounts to missionaries and great brands for luggage, but I figured that isn’t really what he wanted.
I’m going to give you some numbers
I found a website that gives the count of how often certain words appear in the Book of Mormon.
Words representing “Preparation” occur 155 different times.
With 531 pages in the book of Mormon, dividing this up means that preparation occurs about every 3 pages.
So obviously preparation for ANYTHING is super important. Especially a mission.
With this huge influx of missionaries heading out in the field that has resulted because of the age change, there has been and still is major preparation going on.
With the opening of 58 new missions, calling of more mission presidents and the adding on to the MTC’s, the church has had to prepare and organize like crazy. Last Sunday, they even announced new methods of missionary work including Internet based contacting, and giving tours of our church buildings.
So the leaders of the church are preparing a lot for missionaries.
Everyone’s view on missionary work has changed in the last 10 months.
I remember in seminary, I would sit in class and when our teacher gave the missionary lesson, he would advise the women to just sit back and listen and would speak directly to the boys.
While getting this talk ready, I read through my old seminary notes and I really never took notes on missionary work, I maybe just stuck in a quote or two.
This generation has also been prepared and this new announcement was inspired for us.
In the missionary broadcast just this last Sunday, L. Tom Perry said