(I wanted to wait to share this with everyone, but I just can't hold it in any longer :D )
I had to work during conference today and it was a real bummer. I couldn't get conference off my mind all day.
Around 9:30 a.m. I got a text from my little brother that said, "President Monson announced that guys can leave (on their missions) when they are 18 now! And girls when they're 19!" As I read the screen I almost started to cry. I KNEW that that was the answer to so many prayers.
There have been a lot of events that led me to make the decision to serve a mission. It all seemed to start this past summer. Like I mentioned in a previous blogpost (And they left me for a mission), I have a lot of girl friends leaving or on their missions. I have friends serving in Europe, Russia, Phillipines, Australia, and a lot of other places I can't think of at the moment.
Time went by after I had heard about the large group of friends leaving on missions and I didn't think much about serving myself, but I was having a lot of missionary opportunities and spending time with friends who talked about their missions often. That began to redirect my thoughts...should I go?
A dear friend left a couple weeks ago on her mission to Arizona. When I saw my friend dressed in her missionary attire, I fell to pieces; this overwhelming desire to serve and to share the Gospel swept over me. I thought again to myself, "should I really go?" But fear got in the way and I thought about how scary it would be if I got sent to a country I had never been to to speak a language that I had never heard and thrown into a culture I didn't understand.
As conference grew near I decided I needed to pick a question that had been on my mind to focus on and would hopefully be answered during conference. I fasted and didn't really feel like I got an answer. My mom and I went downtown for the General Relief Society Meeting and afterwards walked around Temple Square. We crossed paths with some sister missionaries and began to talk with them. Within minutes I knew that this wasn't going to be just a causal conversation. After chatting for a bit Sister Felsted, a sister from Atlanta, Georgia, she told me that she had prayed to see me that day. When I asked her to explain Sister Felsted told me that she loved her mission so much and wanted to meet a girl that day that was "on the fence" about serving a mission. And Sister Felsted hoped to convince this girl to go serve a mission. As I told her my thoughts about serving a mission, tears came to my eyes. While I spoke with them I could feel my face glowing with happiness and again the feeling came, that overwhelming peace and happiness, the feeling that I knew I had to act upon.
So I started to think more seriously about a mission and realized that it would be 6 months or so until I could actually hand in my papers and I had just met a great guy, Herbert. I didn't totally dismiss the idea of serving, but just set it to the side to ponder when it was closer to the time I could actually leave.
Then this morning happened. Sadly I was at work so I couldn't hear the news first hand, but I still knew, the Lord wanted me to serve.
Now I haven't officially started my papers let alone talked to the bishop about all of this, but I've taken the first step and decided what I WANT to do and what I feel is right. And hopefully in the next little while I'll have more exciting news to share with you. :)
But as of now, I've never been so happy in my entire life.