Monday, May 25, 2015

Mission Call

A mission call. A letter in the mail that decides where you are going to be living and teaching for the next year and a half. I had no idea how hard it would be to wait for something that important. Every day it was, "Mom, did you check the mail?" She would say, "Yup, not there."

Eventually, two weeks rolled around after I had submitted my papers. I asked my Bishop if he could see how my call was coming along. He checked its 'status' and told me that it had been assigned. I was ecstatic. I spent the next day or so jumping around the house and exclaiming, "It's set in stone! My call has been assigned! Now I just need the letter!"

Thursday, the next day, was torture, I wanted it then but it didn't come. I figured since it hadn't come on Thursday it wouldn't on Friday. So I went to pick up my siblings from school that day, and the mail, with low expectations. When I arrived at the mailbox I asked my brother, who was on the side with the mailbox to get the mail. I immediately fumbled through the letters, and saw a large letter with the familiar, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" written on the left corner. I almost jumped out of my seat. It was here! In my hands! It had arrived!

I squealed and screamed the whole rest of the drive home in the car, my poor siblings probably thought I had gone crazy. I zoomed inside the house and yelled so my parents could hear. "It came! I didn't think it would but it came!"

Everyone in the house huddled around it. It was like a bomb that we were waiting or expecting to explode. Thought it carried something much happier, hopefully, than an explosion. 

"We should just open it." My dad suggested.

I had decided weeks earlier that I was going to do that 'public' opening that all of my friends had done. Initially I was afraid to do that. I had been imagining myself getting my call, going away in my room, and opening it alone. I then thought about how spiritual it was when I attended my friends call openings. Those were some of the times that really helped me know that I wanted to go on a mission. There's a special excitement and spirit around call openings, whether or not they're yours. So I decided to give everyone who attended something spiritual and uplifting, even if they don't end up serving a mission. The whole entire reason I was going on a mission was the share the gospel with others, so why not start now?

"No dad." I replied to his suggestion, "We have to wait to open it."

"What time should we open it?" my mom asked, "We need to set a time so everyone can get there."

We were planning that afternoon to go to the Payson Temple open house with our family. Once I had my call, we all decided that afterward, at 7:30, we would be opening the call. That way, my extended family that lived near us could attend the call opening easier because we were already together. 

The Payson Temple was spectacular. I spent the entire time thinking of where I could be going. I kept thinking of the call on the counter at home, I just wanted to get it transported magically to Payson so I could tear it open right then and there.

As soon as I stepped in the door at home I practically ran toward the call. I grabbed a letter opener and cut the letter, though I kept it together so that I wouldn't be tempted to peak inside.

Family and friends streamed in slowly. It was so fun to see everyone, and they all seemed excited to be there. As they came in I held the call under my arm, so it was still close but not near my line of vision to prevent me from peaking at the call. 

Then the time came to open the call. Grandma was on video chat on dad's computer. Distant family was on one of my cousins phone also on video chat. Everyone stood in a friendly semicircle around me. I was terrified to look at the call and finally find out where I was going. My stomach jumped and squirmed and my heart pulsed harder and harder. I pulled the call out slowly from the already opened letter. I had planned to glance ahead and see where I was going before I read it aloud. I read, "Illinois Chicago Mission."

I gasped and paused. This was the exact same mission that my dad went on. I couldn't believe it. He would be so ecstatic.

I then read the call aloud, my already high voice seemed to jump an octave higher. As I said the mission my dad laughed in exclamation and excitement. I looked over at him and saw the surprise on his face. He could hardly believe it, just like I couldn't!

I finished reading the call, a lot less emotional and nervous now that I knew where I was going. I read that I am to be leaving in August, and I would be speaking English.

I am thrilled to be serving in Chicago. I am so excited to serve in the same mission as my dad. On Sunday we spent a solid two hours going through his pictures, looking at the return addresses on his letters and searching on google-maps where he had lived. He told me about the fun balconies, and how the houses now had far more fences than before. "Someone made a killing on fences in the last 20 years in Chicago. And that will make it harder for you to get into people's houses."

 I know that this gospel is true. I wouldn't leave my family for a year and half for something I didn't believe in and want to share as much as I do. I am so grateful for this gospel, and for the effect that it has on so many people's lives. I love that it gives everyone the opportunity to let go of the past through repentance and move on and progress. I am so grateful for the restoration, and for the Book of Mormon. That book, I can't even begin to describe how much of an effect it has had on my life, it is so full of truth and eternal doctrine. I love learning from it. I know this gospel is true, and that by living by it's teaching one can easier find happiness than by any other way.