Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Worth Of A Soul

Dear Sister Bringhurst,

I cannot tell you how happy I am that you have chosen to serve a mission!

Remember how our dear friend Beau said,
"The way you live towards others and the kind of person you become are what is most important. We all need to give and grow and there are many different ways we can do that. A mission is one - a difficult, strenuous, interesting, wonderful one, but only one. You could ask yourself, why shouldn't I go? What else would I do? I certainly don't think you would ever regret going. I do not. You should ask Danni Springer."

So here you are.
Reading danniGirl.
And here is my answer.

My dear friend Valerie Owens and I always talked about serving missions in high school, and knew we would one day go. It was interesting because as we graduated and started growing up in college and things, we decided that maybe that option isn't always open when school, dating, and potential marriage options come along. 
But guess what -
it is!

Val served in Russia!
And I stayed at school for a while.
Finishing my degree.
Preparing to travel to Mexico to teach.
Lots of good things were happening! And I knew that if I didn't get married before I graduated, I would serve a mission. But until then, I was going to do good in other ways!
There is a saying, and it goes:
"If you tell God your plans, He will show you who really makes them."

So one day, driving home from church after, a thought came to mind. 
"Teaching and serving in Mexico is good. But teaching the Gospel and serving where I call you is better."
I kind of laughed. Because... I don't really know why. Haha! But when I first heard that, I laughed.
Then, I felt it was true, and knew it was what I needed to do.
Let me tell you - it interrupted a lot of things. It was NOT convenient.

It did help a lot of other things make sense, though.
Like how Mexico wasn't organizing itself as smoothly as I would have hoped.
The ending of a relationship a week prior - the which of I had no idea why I was breaking it off. 
Just going off the feeling that it wasn't right.
I would miss a year and a half of my nephew's little life. And maybe he wouldn't remember me.
I put my academic and music scholarships on hold.
I deferred the Elementary Education Program with hope that when I got back they would still have room for me.
Thankfully, my job was never a problem.

As I look back, I'm so very grateful that I went on a mission when I did! If I would have first finished school, I don't know if I ever would have gone. I would have searched for a job and progression in my career and other life goals. A mission wouldn't have fit in with it all.
As Beau said, I do not regret going.
I am so glad that I did.
I would not trade it for anything.

The goals I have now, and the things I spend my time doing, are so different!
My motivations and reasons for doing or not doing certain things are different.
A mission changes everything!
And I am so grateful for that.
By living what I learned on the mission, it has made my life so much fuller than it would have otherwise been!

"You learn things you didn't think you would learn. And you don't learn all the things you thought you would learn." - Beau (the words of a good man once again.)
It's truth.
I learned so much.
Most of which I didn't expect to learn.

I know, most of all, that what they say about being "called to where the people need you" is not true.
I certainly was called to where I needed the people. Those that I taught, taught me the most. Every gospel principle and primary answer you learn in church - the mission is where you really come to know it. And that comes through the people you meet and grow to love.
God needed me to know some things. So He sent me to El Salvador, where I met the only people on earth  that could actually help me come to know them.

This mission prepared me to come home. Which sounds ridiculous.
But it's true.
The experiences I had on the mission have helped me be prepared and know how to cope through some of the experiences I have had since I've been home.
I trust more in God - we have a deeper more developed relationship.
I know now how truly well He knows me.
I laugh at the witty things He does.
And He chuckles at the dumb things I do.
I learned the worth of a soul. Not just that of others, but of mine as well.

You will be great.
With your humor and energy, you will do great things on the mission.
To where ever you're called - that's where you're suppose to be.
God will make even greater things of you there.

I love you!