Monday, March 17, 2014

Receiving my Mission Call: The Best Day Ever

This post is about when I got my mission call, but before I begin I want to explain a little to people not of our faith what a mission call really is.
I have gone through a long process of paperwork and interviews to make sure that I was a worthy and willing member to represent my church. I will be paying out of my own pocket, along with the help of my parents, to go and serve the Lord for a period of 18 months. Before you receive and open your call, you have no idea where in the world you could be going. There are 405 missions, and the highest leaders in our Church receive the paperwork and recommendations from our local Church leaders at their headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then with those components rely on the Lord to help guide them to place the missionary exactly where they need to be. It is divine revelation from God. It is through God's power that these calls are made. And for me, it helped me have the best day of my life.
Missionaries are called to serve all over the world to serve the people in their areas and bring them to the knowledge of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and His Gospel on the Earth today. They introduce non-members to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and are pleased and excited to share the gospel truths. But this is not all. They also strengthen the wards (or groups of church members that are in the area) and they serve and grow to love the people around them. I am so excited to leave everything behind and go aid the Lord is hastening the work of spreading the Gospel. As my friend T says, "The Church is true and we've got to do something about it."

On the night of March 11th, I got off the phone with my little brother. I was surprised to see a text from my Bishop, considering he had already contacted me to let me know my call was not assigned that weekend (meaning I would have to wait another WEEK to get my call). Considering I have been waiting my whole life for this moment, you can imagine my surprise as I read, "Audrey, something strange happened with the website again. Your application changed to "assignment made" today, but it says that the assignment was made on March 7th, FYI."

I ran jumping and screaming into my friend, K's room. "It's here! Well it's not here! But it will be here!" I could barely believe it. That night was a crazy one for me. I could hardly sleep, it was like Christmas. I was so excited to hear where the Lord would need me 100% of the time for the next one and a half years. I banked on it coming Thursday, but I still slept with an anxious and excited heart.

To say I couldn't concentrate on anything else would be an understatement. It was all I could think about, all I could talk about, all I cared about. Classes seemed longer than usual, but before I knew it, it was 4 o'clock. I think I almost passed out when I got the voice-mail, "Audrey, your call is here! You can come pick it up in the Cannon Center!". I dragged my friend, J, down the hill after our last class, my stomach churning and my mind whizzing. It was right on top of the pile and my hands shook as I pulled out my ID, and as soon as I had it in my hands I fell in love. The very fact that I was holding my set apart future from the Lord, and that I was going to be a sister missionary no matter what, no matter where, brought such peace into my heart. My testimony (or knowledge of the truth) of this Church had been strengthened already since I received my call, and though I was nervous and excited to open it, I was also at rest.
It truly reminded me of the scripture, "Be still, and know that I am God."

We planned to open it 9:30 p.m. that night. Way more people showed up then I would have ever imagined, and I was nervous. Not because of the people but because these were my last moments ever of not knowing where I would go. We pulled my Mom up on Skype, my dad and stepsister and her boyfriend with there along with some of my other friends, and finally it was time to open my call.

I opened the call as nervous as can be. This was my moment. I had seen so many people do this before. I had heard so many people have this moment, and now, it was my turn. I read the first line, "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I moved the paper that had been previously covering the next line and my eyes immediately flew to "Mexico". My life was changed forever. Emotions ran through me and I stumbled through pronunciations. This was where the Lord wanted me! This is where the Lord needed me! and my secret desires of wanting to speak Spanish had come true. My little girl dream of sharing the Word of God was coming true.

I am so overjoyed to go serve the people in the area of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. I am excited to speak Spanish, to go strengthen people's faith in Jesus Christ, and to go share what I know to be true. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to look someone in the eye and tell them they have a Heavenly Father who loves them, that they have a Savior who died for them, and that the Church of Jesus Christ has the restored truth of the Christ's church while He was here on the earth and contains and provides all the ordinances necessary to return to live with our Father in Heaven again.

If you are reading this, the message is the same to you. God lives, and He loves you. Pray to Him, for He longs to hear from you. He cares about you infinitely more than you realize. He is watching over you. If you feel lonely, sad, or discouraged, seek Him, and He will comfort you and guide you.

I know this Church is true, and I'm excited to go tell Mexico about it.

Con amor,
Hermana Burton