I'm sorry I have been so absent these last couple of weeks. My life has been a rollercoaster since I got my call and I haven't really had the desire to sit down and write this post until now. I'm proud to announce that I have been called to serve in the China Hong Kong mission. I report to the Provo MTC on October 14, 2015. I will be learning to teach the gospel in the beautiful, challenging language of Cantonese. I will be serving for 18 months (as almost all female missionaries in the LDS church are called to do). And yes, I'm excited!
I have always known that I was going to serve a LDS mission. I've known since I could sing the words, "I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two". I've known since before I was even baptized as a member of this church, that I wanted to serve my Heavenly Father and help in the work of bringing His spirit children back to Him. It's always seemed like such a magical thing! I feel like it's always been something that's in the cards for my life. I'm one of those people who gets REALLY excited every time I see missionaries, hear stories about missions or get emails/blog updates from my friends who are on missions. I love everything that has to do with missions. All of this being said, I was disappointed when I got my mission call.
Now, before anyone starts preaching to me about how Heavenly Father calls us where we are most needed, I want you all to know that I've come to terms with my call. I know with certainty that Hong Kong China is the place where God needs me the most. How do I know this? I have given myself an entire month to pray about this assignment. I've been to the temple, multiple times, asking Heavenly Father to help me overcome my fears and hesitations about my call, I've studied my patriarchal blessing and I've fasted about this call. Every time I ask Heavenly Father if this is the right place for me, I get an overwhelming feeling of comfort, and an almost striking feeling of "YES!" resounds in my heart and my head. This is an answer that I can't ignore.
I'm terrified of teaching in Cantonese. Based on my research, Cantonese is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, if not, THE hardest to learn. I struggle to speak and teach in English and English is my native language! How in the world am I going to teach this beautiful and perfect gospel, to a people I know very little about, in such a complex language, when I can barely share my testimony in English?!? Not only is the language terrifying, but I'll be in China. I did not even know there was a mission in China until I was called there. China was the furthest place from my mind, and the furthest from the minds of anyone who was guessing where I was going to go!
I lived in Japan for four and a half years so, it is not the fact that I will be in an Asian country that scares me. It is the fact that there is so much work to be done in China still. There are so many people in China! It's humbling and astounding that Heavenly Father has so much trust and faith in me. HE knows I can do this. HE believes that I will be able to teach these people, to reach these people. HE, who knows every single thing about me (including my doubts and fears), knows I am capable of learning the language and facing the emotional, spiritual and physical stress that I'm starting to realize comes with serving a mission. He trusts me, so I will trust Him.
I think it's been a blessing in disguise for me to be as reserved as I've been about my call because this experience truly has brought me closer to my Heavenly Father and has made me more willing to humble myself and put my life in His hands. I'm learning to let myself be led by Him, down the path that He has for me. I'm learning to let go and let Him mold me into what He needs me to be. I've already learned so much about myself and so much about Heavenly Father. I know I still have a long way to go and a lot of learning left to do, but now I can say with complete confidence that I am excited to serve MY mission and that's something I'm very happy about because I wasn't able to do that a month ago.
I've been blessed because about the time I got my call, is around the same time that I started reading the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. This was a blessing because the book of Alma is all about missionary work. When I was younger, I didn't like the book of Alma because it was long and I felt like it was all about wars and death. As I've been reading it now, with a mission in mind, I've learned so much about what it means to be a missionary and what it is like to be scared of your calling but letting God lead you anyway. Miracles happen in that book, miracles happen with missionary work and miracles will happen in my life and my work if I let God guide me. I now have quite a few favorite scriptures in Alma, one that has given me the most guidance about my hesitations with my mission call is: Alma 29:9, it reads; "I know that which the Lord has commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory in myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy". I am an instrument in God's hands. I can't boast of myself but I can boast of Him because I've been a witness to numerous miracles, I've felt His love and I've witnessed His power. I have the opportunity to help the people of Hong Kong gain knowledge of truth. I have to opportunity to change someone's future and possibly the future of their family too.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be an instrument in His hands in Hong Kong. I am grateful that He trusts me to bring joy, peace and everlasting life to the people of Hong Kong. I am humbled by His faith in me, it strengthens my faith in Him just to see how much He trusts someone as undeserving and unfit as me. I love my Heavenly Father, I love this gospel and I'm already learning to love the people of Hong Kong.
I hope everyone has an incredible Thursday!