After months of the constant inner turmoil of decision making, pressured by ex boyfriends, inspired by best friends, and being jealous of freshman, I did it. I decided. I decided that I wanted to serve as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I decided I wanted to share a name tag with JESUS CHRIST, to bear my testimony and I wasn't planning on doing this for anyone else but Him. I thought long and hard about my decision, prayed everyday. I literally cried, "what do you want me to do?!" and I feel like Heavenly Father lovingly chuckled at me and answered, "you get to chose my child". And so I chose. Sometimes we make choices in our lives. Sometimes we make sacrifices for the things that mean the most to us, not because we have to, not because we should, not because we feel obligated to, but because we want to. So I will sacrifice myself for a year and a half, sacrifice a summer job, being here for all my buddies' homecoming, calling my family on a regular basis, listening to my favorite bands, snowboarding, rock climbing, playing sports. I will give up any opportunity that I might have had, because I know that He’s not going to let me miss anything that I’m suppose to have. I will not be deprived of blessings or experiences because I’ve decided to go serve a mission.
I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to work out, but I moved forward anyways. I started getting up at 7 am, crawling out of my bed with my blankets wrapped around me, finding a key under my doormat, shuffling next door in my moccasins to read scriptures with Cecilly. I went to the doctors too many times in two weeks, disclosed all personal information from blisters on my feet to my proficiency in the French language, and then turned my future over my Bishop, Stake President, the Quorum of the 12, and the Lord. Cecilly and I held hands through the entire process (figuratively, not literally because we all know she won't let me hold her hand). But we took each step together; talked through every uncertainty and all the excitement. Wednesday February 8, 2012 we each met with the Stake President and officially submitted our mission papers. Two weeks later, early afternoon, I was at work when Cecilly g-chatted me. "Clara" she said, "it's here". I panicked!! I had 2 hours left in my shift, and I was dying. If Cecilly's call had come, I was certain mine would be there too. I rushed home after work. I would have run, but everyone knows that running with a backpack is awkward. Cecilly met me on the way and escorted me to my mailbox. My hand was shaking as I turned the key. I could barely catch my breath, and I felt sick to my stomach. I slowly opened the door to find...nothing. Just Macey ads …and more macey ads?
With one more week on the horizon, and possibly more, I cursed the doubts I had of not being ready. But that week gave me the chance to watch the beautiful moment when my best friend opened her call, that moment I wouldn’t have traded for anything. Even among the hooting and hollering of the slightly chaotic and excited crowd of spectators, the Spirit was so strong, and I think everyone in that room felt what I felt; felt how right it was and how much of an incredible missionary that girl is going to be. I think about how much she has changed my life in this past year and a half. Now she’s on to the next year and a half, and I think about the remarkable change she will continue to influence, in my life and in the lives of the Honduran people.
Luckily, I only had one more week of suspense. The next Wednesday afternoon turned into a stake out by the mailbox (until I fell asleep on Cecilly couch that is…) I was exhausted because I may or may not have chased a few mail men down the street. Testing my patience, the mail didn’t arrive until after five, but I was certain today was the day. Infamous white envelope in hand, I threw my toothbrush in my backpack and we took off in a storm. My heart was racing, and I don’t remember anything but the smile and squeals, and for a moment I couldn’t breathe.
Half way up to Heber I realized, I FORGOT TO CALL MY MOTHER! And I frantically dialed before I hit the dead-zone in the canyon. No answer. Cecilly and I laughed at the irony, only the most important moment of my life right now and my mother was AWOL.
I finally got her on speaker-phone, placed my envelope next to the phone on the table, my second family surrounding me. My fingers shook as tore the envelope open. I slipped out the papers, and quickly places my hands over the words. Revealing one line at a time, my voice caught in my throat as I read, “Dear Sister Compare, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the…” I stopped and stared at the next word, almost unsure of how to pronounce it. “Adriatic North Mission” WHAT?! like the Adriatic Sea, Cecilly whispered.
“It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Croatian language.” I didn’t stop, I just kept on reading, reading that I would be an official representative of the Church, that my purpose was to invite others to come unto Christ, and I would be blessed with more happiness than I have yet received if I served with all my heart, might, and strength. And finally, “Sincerely, Thomas S. Monson”. I couldn’t imagine being happier than I was at that instant.
It was the most surreal moment of my life. And that might be the only way to describe it, because it still doesn’t feel real. I had pictured myself all over the world, thought South America was more than likely, Africa was unrealistic, Kansas City was my best guess, and I had braced myself for Japanese, but no one ever guessed Europe. And in that moment that it was found out that I was going to Eastern Europe, the automatic response was, “wow, that is perfect for you”. And it’s true, although the last place I ever would have thought of, I know with every fiber of my heart that that is exactly where the Lord wants me.
The Adriatic North Mission, including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia, isn’t one you hear everyday, and so we immediately gathered around the computer and typed it into the Google search bar. The second entry on the page was this: http://ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com/2012/02/mission-realignment-in-southeastern.html
I was speechless when I read it. Just that week prior, that week when I was disappointedly shutting my mailbox and wondering whyyyyyyyy whyyyyy why do I have to wait longer?!?! The Elder of the Church were busy realigning Eastern Europe and created The Adriatic North and South Missions. Three new countries were opened: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia, and at that point the entire European continent was now open to the Church. I still don’t know what to say, I still get chills when I think about the timing of it all.
And so here is to timing, because nothing in my life has ever worked out just as I planned it would, and yet everything has happened at the perfect time, as long as I look at it with the right perspective. Never again will I doubt the Lord’s plan for me, and never again will I question his timing. I’m not even going to question the fact that I have to wait until July 18th to leave when my availability was May 1st. There is a reason that I am here for another 5 months. I couldn’t be more excited about my mission, I couldn’t be happier about my decision to serve, but I’m not going to check out early. If the Lord wants me here for another 5 months, then I will be here for another 5 months.