Yesterday, I announced on Facebook the following:
On Tuesday afternoon I read this scripture, "And now, O my son(daughter), ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son (daughter), go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen." (Alma 42: 31)
This afternoon in the 182nd Semi-Annual General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced that young women can now serve a full-time mission at the age of 19.
My dear friends and family,
I am pleased, and excited, to announce that I have chosen to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I feel as though the Lord has prepared me for this decision and for the wonderful experiences that will come from it. I will begin preparing my papers within the week. Much love!
There has been an influx of love and support from the members of my family, and of the communities which I have lived in. However, I have also seen many people who have made their less supportive comments in other, indirect ways. I wish to take this opportunity to address those concerns. I agree because this is a life changing decision, it is not one that should be made lightly, nor should it be made because others are making it. This is personal. It is between the individual and God. I want to share with you some of the experiences leading to this decision; I pray that in doing so those who are more skeptical will see that this is not a rash or rushed decision.
Some three and a half years ago, I received my patriarchal blessing. (For those not familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is a special blessing received which is given to provide guidance and direction throughout our mortal lives). Within this blessing, there was quite a bit of detail concerning the opportunity that I would have, if I desired it, to serve a full-time, proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From that time forward, I have always considered serving if I made it to the age of 21, (the age at which young women used to be able to serve), without getting married.
Not too long after that, I had the opportunity to participate in a youth activity called the mini- MTC (Missionary Training Center). Myself, along with a hundred, or so, other youth spent a weekend as if we were on our missions. We learned the gospel discussions which are taught, and we were even allowed to try our hand at preaching the gospel from door to door. It was a very challenging weekend, but it affirmed my desire to serve.
Over the years, I have had the desire to serve, but have been told by many that there is no way that I would make it to the required age without a shiny diamond ring on my finger. These comments have been difficult to hear, and often disheartening, but I never gave up my desire.
In the past year, I have encountered many difficulties. I have felt heart ache and heart break like never imaginable, but I have been positive because of my love for, and trust in Christ. Just over a month ago, I made the decision to be more consistent in my daily scripture study and prayer. I also determined I would attend the temple, (a sacred place of worship), on a weekly basis. As I have done so, I have felt more strongly that I should serve a mission.
I feel that I have been preparing for, and working towards this decision for many years. I feel that it is right for me to go now. In addressing the church this morning President Thomas S. Monson firmly stated that we should not hesitate to answer a prompting. I am not, and will not, hesitate. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe it. I know it. And I live it.
Again, I am grateful for the love and support which I have felt. I pray that the Lord will be with me in my endeavors, and that each of you reading will feel of His love.